Two supermarket solutions are acceptable toppings for your winter puddings, but why not make the real thing?

Who doesn't love hot custard in the middle of winter, over a can of peaches? Personally I'm a peach crumble and custard person.

I bought the Edmond's Custard Powder because I made so much of it as a child that I can still remember the recipe without having to look at the packet.

Then I thought I'd compare it to a readymade custard in the supermarket fridge. And then I made it from scratch.

Edmonds Custard Powder $2.39 for 300g

Ingredients (in order of greatest quantity first)


Maize cornflour

This is basic cornflour which you use to thicken gravies and sauces.

Colours (beta-carotene, riboflavin)

These are natural colours. Beta-carotene is an orange-yellow colour which comes from plants and converts to vitamin A in the body. Riboflavin is a yellow colour and is vitamin B2.


Not a high salt product, with just 45mg of sodium when prepared with milk.


This will be artificial flavour to mimic the taste of eggs.


Meadow Fresh Vanilla Custard $4.20 for 600g

Ingredients (in order of greatest quantity first)

Meadow Fresh milk

As we all know milk is very nutritious.


This is reasonably high in sugar - you will get 12.5g of sugar per 100g serve.

Thickeners (1442, 407)

Unlike the powder above this custard does not use cornflour. Instead we have hydroxyl-propyl distarch phosphate (1442) which is a treated starch and carrageenan (407) which is a gel obtained from seaweed.

Milk solids

This will help with the consistency of the product. Milk solids are what is left of milk when it is dehydrated.

Emulsifier (339)

This is sodium phosphate, which is the salt of phosphoric acid.

Vanilla flavour

This will be artificial flavour.

Colours (102, 122)

These are artificial colours. Tartarazine (102) us a yellow colour which was included in a voluntary phase-out called for by the UK's Food Standards Agency and an EU-wide health warning must now be put on any food or drink that still contains this colour as it is thought to cause hyperactivity in some children. Carmoisine (122) is a red colour which was also included in the UK phase-out.

My recommendations

If you go with the instant custard you will get less sugar - 7.07 per 100g when made with milk compared with the ready made custard at 12.5g per 100g. You will get about 1g more fat and about the same amount of protein. So there's not a huge difference, except that with the instant custard you are getting natural colours instead of artificial colours which have been phased out in the UK, so that's a big plus in my book.

Here's another idea though, why not make your own? Here's a very easy recipe for making custard from scratch and you'll also get the extra nutritional value of the eggs.

5 free range eggs

1 Tbs caster sugar

½ tsp good quality natural vanilla extract

700ml blue top milk or silver top - which is full cream, for a really velvety custard.

In the top saucepan of your double boiler (or bowl) whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla.

In another saucepan heat your milk until it is warm, but not boiling.

This is very important.

Start whisking your egg mixture and slowly pour the warm milk into it whisking all the time. You should end up with a lovely yellow creamy mixture.

Now place this over the boiling water in your double boiler or place your bowl over a saucepan with boiling water and keep whisking. It will slowly thicken so that it easily coats the back of a spoon.

Do not walk away and leave this as you don't want it to boil, or it will curdle.


• Ready made uses artificial colours.

• Both use artificial flavours.

• Neither one is too high in sugar.