Custard is a mixture of eggs, milk, sugar, and flavorings which attains its consistency by the coagulation of the egg protein by heat.
Depending on the recipe, custard may vary in consistency from a thin pouring sauce (crème anglaise) to the thick pastry cream (crème pâtissière).
The difficulty with custard is that they can be overcooked, you want the egg to thicken, but if you go too far the eggs either curdle or go rubbery. Custard should never be allowed to boil, the perfect temperature is around 80⁰C (180⁰F).
Flan, or crème caramel, is a custard baked in a dish coated with caramelized sugar that forms a sauce when the custard is unmolded.
For crème brûlée, the baked custard is sprinkled with sugar that is caramelized under a broiler or with a hot iron called a salamander. The sugar forms a thin, crisp shell over the custard.
Frozen custard is a cold dessert similar to ice cream. It is usually kept at a warmer temperature compared to ice cream, and typically has a denser consistency.
Savoury custards are sometimes encountered, the most notable being quiche, a French tart with a filling of custard flavored with cheese, onions, ham or bacon, or chopped vegetables.
Custard is ancient. The idea of cooking milk together with eggs to thicken it goes back at least to Roman times; it’s listed in Apicius. It’s probably far older than that.
The name “custard” derives from “croustade”, which refers to the crust in which the dish was baked.
Custards baked in pastry (custard tarts) were very popular in the Middle Ages.
In the 17th century, fruit creams became popular and it was about this time that custards began to be made in individual dishes or bowls rather than as fillings for a crust.
The first ballistic custard pie was discharged by Mabel Normand in the direction of Fatty Arbuckle in A Noise from the Deep (USA 1913).
The world record for the largest custard pie fight is 253 people gathering to throw 648 pies in a matter of minutes. The record was achieved in Colchester, Essex, UK on 13 august 2009.
The largest custard slice weighs 804.11 kg (1,772.76 lb) and was achieved by Dulwich Bakery (Australia) in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia, on 3 July 2016. It measured 1.94 m (6 ft 4.38 in) by 6.04 m (19 ft 9.79 in) and had a depth of 5,5 cm (2.17 in).
The most custard eaten in three minutes is 5.44 kg (12 lb) and was achieved by Molly Schuyler (USA) at the Dish Nation / Kidd Kraddick Studios in Irving, TX, USA, on 25 April 2014.