Dairy-free Baked Egg Custard (made with almond milk)

Creamy, cold dessert made by pouring custard into ramekins and baking until set. This Dairy-free and Paleo recipe is made with almond milk and honey.

Dairy-free Baked Egg Custard (made with almond milk)

In a previous post, we looked at how to make a pouring custard. Because a traditional custard recipe relies on egg yolks alone to act as a thickener, and does not include a starchy thickener like cornflour, it needs to be cooked slowly on the stovetop, with constant stirring to prevent the egg from curdling and turning into scrambled egg. Stirring redistributes the sauce from the bottom of the pan so that it does not sit over direct heat.

Custard can also be thickened in the oven, which sets the custard into a jelly-like consistency. Because the desired consistency is solid rather than liquid, the recipe is slightly different from the one used for pouring custard, in that some egg whites are included for their gelling properties. The problem of how to prevent curdling is solved by cooking the custard in a water bath. By placing the cooking dish in a roasting tray half-filled with water, the custard is insulated from direct heat. In a water bath, the temperature of the surrounding water cannot exceed 100°C/212°F. The only difficulty is judging the correct time to remove the custard from the oven, as it will continue to cook and set while cooling. Cooking times provide a useful estimate, but should not be slavishly obeyed. Instead, check if the custard is ready by removing from the oven and giving a gentle shake – if there is a slight wobble in the centre of an otherwise solid mass then it is done.

This makes a good dessert, but can also be served for breakfast since it is basically just eggs and milk. It goes particularly well with tart berry fruits.

serves cooking time
Dairy-free Baked Egg Custard (made with almond milk)
Ingredients Instructions
  • 600ml almond milk
  • 1 vanilla pod (or 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 4 egg yolks, plus 2 whole eggs
  • 3-4 tablespoons honey (to taste)
  • 1 whole nutmeg, for grating
  1. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F.
  2. Pour the milk into a saucepan. Slit the vanilla pod in half length ways. Scrape out the seeds with the tip of the knife and add to the milk, along with the pod. Heat slowly over a gentle heat to just below boiling point. Take off the heat. Fish out and discard the vanilla pod.
  3. Whisk the eggs and honey until fully blended. Gradually pour the hot milk over the eggs in a thin stream, whisking constantly to prevent the hot milk from curdling the eggs. Keep whisking until fully blended. Push through a fine-mesh sieve to remove any lumps.
  4. Pour the custard into 4 ramekins with a capacity of at least 200ml, or one large dish – the recipe makes about 800ml. Finely grate the nutmeg, then sprinkle over the top (you may have more nutmeg than you need, but personally I go for a generous dusting).
  5. Arrange the ramekins in a roasting tray, leaving some space between each ramekin. Pour in just-boiled water from the kettle around the ramekins, until it comes about half-way up their sides. Transfer to the lowest shelf of the pre-heated oven, where the heat is gentlest.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the custard is just set. Test by giving a gentle shake – if there is a slight wobble in the centre of an otherwise solid mass then it is done, otherwise return to the oven and re-test in another 5 minutes. If cooking in one large dish, rather than individual ramekins, check after 1 hour.
  7. Either leave to cool for 30 minutes and serve warm, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to serve chilled. The custard will keep well for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. For best results, remove from the refrigerator half an hour before serving.


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