When it comes to traditional and timeless desserts, one of the most loved choices that many people appreciate is vanilla custard. Creamy and sweet, this classic culinary treat is made by gently heating a mixture of eggs and cream until it reaches the desired thickness.1
Custard has been around since the Middle Ages, and was first used as a filling for tarts and pies. Today, it’s incorporated in various desserts, such as eclairs and trifles, or served by itself. There’s even a National Vanilla Custard Day, which falls on August 17, to celebrate this elegant but mouthwatering dessert.2
Most custard recipes today, however, often don’t skimp on the sweet ingredients, meaning you’re unknowingly consuming high amounts of sugar with every bite. Ready-to-eat versions also use pasteurized milk which, as I’ve discussed before, can spell trouble for your health.
If you’re looking for a healthy option, this Succulent Vanilla Chia Custard recipe created by Jennafer Ashley from Paleohacks is a wonderful and wholesome choice. Not only does it use coconut milk in place of cow’s milk (making it tolerable for lactose-intolerant people), but it also blends in chia seeds, a delicious source of dietary fiber, protein, healthy fats and more.
Whether as a palate cleanser after a filling meal or as a quick snack that will get you through the rest of the day, this easy custard recipe is a sure winner.
Succulent Vanilla Chia Custard Recipe
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serving Size: 2
- 4 pastured egg yolks
- 13 1/2 ounces full-fat coconut milk
- 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
- 2 Tbsp. raw honey
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla bean powder or vanilla extract
- Pour coconut milk and honey into a saucepan and heat over medium heat. Pour eggs into a heat-resistant bowl. When milk-honey mixture is steaming hot, slowly pour over eggs and vigorously whisk. Return egg mixture to saucepan and continue whisking.
- Whisk in vanilla bean powder. Reduce heat to low and continue to heat but do not boil, whisking regularly. Once custard has thickened, about 10 minutes, remove from heat and cool for 5 minutes. Stir in chia seeds and divide custard among 2 jars.
- Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Succulent, (Mildly) Sweet and Satisfying: This Chia Custard Recipe Has Got You Covered
The simplicity of this custard recipe makes it perfect for people who want a quick and easy dish to cap off a delicious meal. However, the timing and the temperature you use are essential to get a flawless end product.
Custard should be cooked at the right pace, using a low temperature. Cooking custard too quickly by using a temperature that’s too high will make the egg proteins curdle, giving you something that resembles scrambled eggs, and not the smooth treat you’re after. The Spruce3 even advises using indirect heat, such as by putting the mixture in a double-broiler (just like melting chocolate or making hollandaise sauce), to get the perfect texture you want.
As equally important as the cooking method are the ingredients you will use to make this dessert. Remember that the quality of your raw ingredients can greatly affect the nutritional content of any dish. Just take a look at the wholesome ingredients used for this recipe:
- Pastured egg yolks — Egg yolks have been unfairly vilified for decades because they contain cholesterol and saturated fat, and are believed to contribute to high cholesterol levels and heart disease. But did you know that the yolk is actually more nutrient dense compared to egg whites?
Egg yolk contains omega-3 fats, vitamins A, E, D and K, and higher levels of vitamin B12, folate and choline. It’s also where all the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are found.
If you’re still afraid that eating egg yolks can damage your health, take a look at this recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Even carriers of ApoE4 gene, which make them susceptible to heart disease, egg and cholesterol intake were not found to increase the risk of coronary artery disease.4 Plus, a separate research found that dietary cholesterol from eggs actually contributed to an increase in beneficial HDL (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.5
When buying eggs, make sure that you buy only true free-range, pastured eggs from a local farmer or health food store. Look for egg yolks with a bright orange color, as pale yellow yolks are an indication that the eggs are raised in factory farms.
- Chia seeds — Consuming just 2 tablespoons of chia seeds can give you 50 percent of the daily recommended value for manganese, 24 percent of magnesium and 18 percent of calcium — three minerals that are essential for bone health, energy metabolism, DNA synthesis and healthy weight management.
Two tablespoons of chia seeds also equal 10 grams of fiber, which is definitely a boon to your health, as fiber can help reduce your risk of a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes and stroke. Chia seeds are also one of the most cost-efficient foods you can buy because they do not go bad for a long time. They can actually last up to two years with no refrigeration, mainly because of their high antioxidant levels.
A word of caution when eating chia seeds: if you have dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), do not eat dry chia seeds. When mixed with liquids, the seeds can form a gel-like ball that can block your esophagus and may need medical treatment to be removed. Thus, blending it in a recipe like this before eating is a wonderful alternative to eating them by themselves.
- Coconut milk — Produced by expressing the juice of grated coconut meat and blending it with water, coconut milk is becoming popular among vegan communities today because it can work as a great dairy alternative. It also doesn’t hold back in terms of nutritional value — it’s actually rich in antioxidants, vitamins C, E and B, potassium, magnesium, iron and phosphorus.
But what makes coconut milk so wonderful is its high amounts of healthy fats. Coconut milk contains lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid (MCFA), which is not only converted to energy (and not as fat), but is also transformed into monolaurin in your body. This monoglyceride can actually eliminate lipid-coated viruses such as HIV and herpes, measles, gram-negative bacteria, influenza and protozoa such as Giardia lamblia.
- Vanilla bean powder — Made from dried and powdered vanilla beans, but without any additional sugar or alcohol, this powder gives this dessert the pleasing aroma and sweet taste that makes it so popular. In addition, vanilla also offers benefits to your health, mainly through vanillin, its chief chemical component.
Vanillin has been linked to lower bad cholesterol levels and improved symptoms of gout, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Fresh vanilla beans also provide small traces of iron, manganese, potassium, magnesium and zinc, as well as antioxidants that can help prevent tissue and cell breakdown.6,7
Finally, this recipe uses raw honey, a natural sweetener with many health benefits, in place of fructose or sugar. But even though it offers boons to your health, honey should be consumed in moderation because it can exacerbate pre-existing insulin resistance and wreak havoc on your body in excessive amounts. If you have insulin resistance, you should scrap honey from the ingredients list.
About the Blog
Paleohacks is one of the largest Paleo communities on the web. They offer everything Paleo, from a Q&A forum where users get their top health questions answered, to a community blog featuring daily recipes, workouts and wellness content. You can also tune in to their podcast, where they bring in the top experts in the Paleo world to share the latest, cutting-edge health information.
Sources and References