21 December

Christmas isn't a season. It's a feeling. - Edna Ferber

Homemade Custard Recipe


(gluten-free, dairy-free, refined sugar-free, grain-free, nut-free)






Are you ready for another nutrient-dense gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free dessert?


I came to making custard for Mila not because of wanting to give her a nutrient-dense dessert (we don’t really do desserts – she has those foods as part of her main meal), but as a way to re-incorporate eggs into her diet.


She has always enjoyed eating eggs – either as a pesto pancake (recipe in my book), scrambled eggs or boiled egg halves. But lately, she has “gone off” them as she tells me. Since I was not willing to let this underrated superfood go, I decided to hide it, much like I do vegetables!


I first tried a baked custard – but Mila did not like that texture. Not willing to take no, or “I don’t like custard” for an answer, I moved on to pouring custard. Who doesn’t remember custard over sliced banana from their childhood?! I’ll be honest, she didn’t like that either – she’s not a sauce person. I didn’t give up – I poured the whole lot, banana and all, into a blender and blended it. Then I froze that into ice-lollies – and ta da! It got a “thumbs up” from Mila. 🙂  (See more Problem Solving Ice Lolly recipes here.)


I believe Jelly & Custard is a traditional Christmas dessert for some – you can find my recipe for gut-healing jelly here. And here is the custard recipe…

Mila's Meals Homemade Custard

Key: gluten-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free, grain-free, vegetarian, for adults too

Serves: 4 adults


(t. = teaspoon; T. = tablespoon, C. = cup)




  • 5 organic egg yolks
  • 2 T. organic maple syrup
  • 2 t. tapioca flour
  • 400ml preservative-free coconut milk
  • seeds of 2 vanilla pods or 2 t. vanilla extract



  1. Heat the coconut milk and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to boiling point.
  2. While the milk is heating, whisk together the egg yolks, maple syrup, and tapioca flour in a mixing bowl.
  3. Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mix while whisking (with a hand held whisk).
  4. Return the mixture to the saucepan and heat over very low heat while stirring with a whisk continuously.
  5. The custard is ready when it has thickened – this should take approximately 10 minutes. (The custard with thicken even more when cool.)
  6. Transfer the custard to a mixing bowl and place that bowl in an ice bath while still stirring with a whisk. You want to cool the custard down so the egg does not continue to cook and possibly curdle.
  7. Serve on its own, over jelly, sliced banana – or mince pies!

Mila's Meals Custard Ice Bath

Custard ice bath.

Mila's Meals Homemade Custard

Ta da!

Why not just buy custard?


Custard is yet another example of a once-nutrient-dense-food that the food industry has reduced to junk food – worse actually, toxic food.



Here are the ingredients of a popular brand of ready-made custard available in South Africa:

Full Cream Milk, Sugar, Stabilisers (E1442, E407, E410), Flavourant, Colourants (E104, E110).


And here are the ingredients for the “light” version:

Low fat milk, stabilisers (non animal origin), fructo-oligosaccharide (inulin), flavouring, sodium cyclamate, sucralose, sodium saccharine, and colourants

But if these ingredients are allowed in our food, aren’t they safe to eat?


Unfortunately, not.


As I write in the Chemical Cuisine chapter of my book ‘Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics’:


“Quite simply – food is big business. It’s all about marketing, sales and profits. Its not about what nourishes you, or is needed to nourish you.


There are approximately 3000 food additives approved for use in the food industry today!


Some are natural compounds (but may be from genetically modified plants), some are nature-identical (that is, the chemical composition of a natural substance has been copied), and nearly 300 additives are completely synthetic.


While governments and organisations such as Codex assure us that the additives in our food are thoroughly tested and safe for consumption, there are approved additives that have been shown in subsequent independent studies to be harmful to our health. Also, while additives may have been approved on an individual basis, we are routinely exposed to a combination of them, and it’s simply not known what their combined effect on the body may be.


Some artificial food additives have been linked to cancer, digestive problems, neurological conditions, ADHD, heart disease and obesity.  Natural additives may be similarly harmful or, be the cause of allergic reactions in certain individuals, since they are isolated compounds – not the whole food.


Symptoms of reactions to additives include:


  • Irritability, restlessness, difficulty falling asleep;
  • Mood swings, anxiety, depression, panic attacks;
  • Inattention, difficulty concentrating or debilitating fatigue;
  • Speech delay, learning difficulties;
  • Eczema, itchy skin rashes, swelling of the lips;
  • Reflux, colic, stomach aches, bloating, and other irritable bowel symptoms including constipation and/or diarrhoea, sneaky poos, sticky poos, bedwetting;
  • Headaches or migraines;
  • Frequent colds, flu, bronchitis, tonsillitis, sinusitis; stuffy or runny nose, constant throat clearing, cough or asthma;
  • Joint pain, arthritis, heart palpitations, racing heartbeat.”

Let’s take a closer look at the custard ingredients:

E104 – Also known as Quinoline Yellow.

One of the Southampton Six colours. In the EU, foods containing the Southampton Six colours have to carry the warning: “may have an adverse effect on activity and attention in children”.


Reasons to avoid: The second-most-widely used colouring causes allergy-like hypersensitivity reactions, primarily in aspirin-sensitive persons, and triggers hyperactivity in some children. It may be contaminated with such cancer-causing substances as benzidine and 4-aminobiphenyl (or chemicals that the body converts to those substances).


Banned in: UK, EU, USA, Japan, Canada


Source of information: Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics

E110 – Also known as Sunset Yellow.

Also one of the Southampton Six colours.


Reasons to avoid: Increases the number of kidney and adrenal gland tumours in laboratory animals, may cause chromosomal damage. May cause occasional, but sometimes-severe, hypersensitivity reactions.


Banned in: UK, EU


Source of information: Mila’s Meals: The Beginning & The Basics

E1442 – Also known as Hydroxy propyl distarch phosphate


Prepared by treating starch with propyleneoxide and phosphoric acid.


Reasons to avoid: It may slow down the degradation of food in the intestine

E407 – Also known as Carrageenan



As written by Dr. Axe “It’s derived from red seaweed and found in many “health” foods. The bottom line is this: carrageenan is no health food by any stretch of the imagination, and it has been shown to cause side effects.”


Reasons to avoid: Carrageenan as been linked to:

  • Large bowel ulceration
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Fetal toxicity & birth defects
  • Colorectal cancer
  • Glucose intolerance and insulin resistance
  • Inflammation
  • Liver cancer
  • Immune suppression
  • Promoting the growth of abnormal colon glands, which are precursors to polyps


Source of information: Dr. Axe and Food-Info.net

E410 – Also known as Carob Bean Gum




Reasons to avoid: Large amounts may cause abdominal pain, diarrhoea, cough in infants, allergic reactions. Known to aggravate food intolerances.


Source: Noshly.com

Fructo-oligosaccharide – also known as inulin





Reasons to avoid: not absorbed completely by the human body, easily fermented by gut bacteria and can cause significant gastrointestinal (GI) problems. Side effects include: flatulence, bloating, cramps, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.


Source: BreakingTheViciousCycle.com

Sodium cyclamate – also known as E952





An artificial sweetener.


Reason to avoid: it is a suspected carcinogen, known to cause migraines, aggravates food intolerances.


Banned in: USA, EU, Canada, UK


Source: Noshly.com

Sucralose – also known as E955






An artificial sweetener. Sold under the brand name Splenda.


Reasons to avoid: Linked to neurological and immunological disorders, caused kidney and liver damage in tests.


Source: Noshly.com

Sodium saccharine – also known as E954







An artificial sweetener.


Reasons to avoid: Known carcinogen especially linked to bladder and reproductive cancers. Aggravates food intolerances. Banned in US in 1977 but reinstated with strict labelling provisions – labels must state “Use of this product may be hazardous to your health, this product contains saccharin which has been determined to cause cancer in laboratory animals”


Banned in: France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal, Spain, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Fiji, Israel, Peru, and Taiwan.


Source: Noshly.com

And the flavourant? Well favourants are considered to be trade secrets, protected by law – it’s anyone’s guess as to what it is!

Something’s missing


In that long list of ingredients that are in the ready-made custard, did you see what’s missing?


EGGS (and nutrients)! No wonder they had to add the artificial yellow colouring.



I list the ingredients to look out for in the “Feeding With Awareness: Chemical Cuisine” chapter of my book and go into further detail of why they should be avoided in the Appendix. You can download my Worst Offenders Chart here for easy reference when being a food detective!

Be sure to come back to our advent calendar tomorrow to open another surprise 🙂

mila's meals advent calendar 21 december
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