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Versatile Vanilla Custard Sauce!

At this time of the year, for a special treat or week-end brunch I sometimes crave a warm and comforting bread pudding or fruit desserts served with my all time favorite versatile light vanilla custard sauce that is deliciously smooth and can be made with any kind of milk.

This past week-end, I didn’t have the ingredients at home to make a bread pudding but having just stocked up on my favorite winter apples, pears and amazingly tasty, out of season, fresh strawberries from my local outdoor veggie and fruit street market here in Athens, I knew I was in for a tasty, sweet week-end!

I made the vanilla custard sauce on Friday evening (see recipe below) and before storing it overnight in the refrigerator I couldn’t resist an evening snack of fresh blueberries with a tablespoon or two of the still slightly warm sauce . . . just divine!

On Saturday morning, a chilly but sunny day, I got up late and since it was such a beautiful winter day I decided it was the perfect time to take a few photos of my strawberry brunch idea . . . as it looked so appetizing and was ultra quick and really easy to make! In less than five minutes I put together a plate of fresh strawberries paired with a generous serving of the vanilla custard sauce that I topped with a berry crumble made by chopping up a store bought oats, seeds and berries bar that gave the dish a higher nutritional value . . . and a crunchy kick!

On Sunday, it started snowing so it didn’t take me long to decide that mini pancakes with warm apples and pears drizzled with fresh lemon juice and sprinkled with lots of cinnamon . . . were going to be the day’s perfect treat with the vanilla custard sauce.

As long as you have made the vanilla custard sauce ahead of time, to make this dish, start by making the pancakes seen in the photo above. Here is a link to the recipe.

Now for the apple and pears you have two options. I microwaved them (peeled and chopped) drizzled with fresh lemon juice and then, while still crunchy, I sprinkled them generously with ground cinnamon and mixed carefully.

When it comes to the plating, I normally serve this version as per the photo below. I stack the mini pancakes and arrange the fruit next to them and then pour the vanilla custard sauce to fill the void on the plate. If you like place a piece or two on top of the pancakes . . . if the pancakes are slanting they might fall off . . . but that's ok too!

You can also sauté the peeled and chopped apple & pear sprinkled with sugar in a wee bit of butter to give you a lightly caramelized version that you can sprinkle with cinnamon and a little ground ginger. I love this version too but it's a lot higher in calories that I feel is unnecessary . . . unless you must!

Light Vanilla Custard Sauce!


350 ml low fat or skim milk

3 egg yolks from small eggs

3 tblsp sugar

1 – 2 tsp, vanilla sugar, powder or essence, to taste

1 ½ tblsp corn flour mixed with a little water or milk

Preparation Method

Place milk into a medium in heavy medium saucepan. Simmer and bring just before boiling point. Take of heat and set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, sugar, vanilla powder or sugar and the corn flour and then gradually whisk this mixture into the hot milk.

Return saucepan onto stove and stir custard mixture continuously over medium-low heat until the custard thickens. DO NOT BOIL!

Set aside covered with moist kitchen paper and once cold, place into pitcher or glass container and refrigerate until ready to use.

Yield: 2 – 4 servings!


  • For an ultra-rich custard sauce, try using full fat whipping cream!

  • This sauce can be made 1 – 2 days ahead of time but always make sure to keep it refrigerated.

  • Instead of vanilla sugar, powder or essence you can of course use a vanilla pod. If you do, just cut it in half, scrape out the seeds and add the pod and seeds to the milk, before warming. Just make sure to remove the pod before whisking in the egg mixture.

  • Like I said at the beginning, this sauce really great with bread pudding, top notch drizzled over fresh or cooked fruit, or paired with any baked good of your choice!

© KaritasM - January 2022


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