Karla's Cooking Made Easy - Curds, Custards, Creams and Puddings

When you understand how ingredients effect a recipe's outcome, cooking is easy.

Curds, custards, creams and puddings are all made from similar ingredients except for the thickener. It's the thickener that makes the difference.

Curds (think lemon curd) are thickened with an acid and eggs.
Citrus juice (orange, lemon or lime) is mixed with sugar, butter and eggs. The acidic juice interacts with the protein of the eggs making the mixture thick. Generally made only on the stove top.

Custards (think coconut custard pie) are thickened with eggs, only.
Whisking eggs with milk or cream, traps the milk or cream in the viscous egg. Baking "hardens" the protein part of the egg keeping the milk or cream trapped. Custards can be made on the stove top or in the oven.

Creams (think chocolate cream pie and pastry cream filling) use a starch and eggs to thicken.
You might mistakenly call these puddings but if the recipe is made with both a starch (like corn starch, arrow root, potato starch, tapioca or flour) and eggs, it's really called a "cream". Creams use less starch in preparation than puddings because eggs do part of the thickening. Creams are generally made on the stove top.

Puddings use starch, only.
A starch (like corn starch, arrow root, potato starch, tapioca or flour) are stirred into cold milk or juice then cooked. Puddings can be made stove top or in the oven.


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