Cornstarch Custard photo

Old-fashioned Corn Starch Custard (Pudding)

I recently had a request for this recipe for cornstarch custard. In going through my files, the recipe brought back fond memories of my Mom making this for me as a kid then later, I made more batches of it than I can count, using it as a filling for homemade cream puffs.

My Pop absolutely loved cream puffs and some of his favorites were from two bakeries located in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. (Schuylkill County); one was Raudenbush’s Bakery, the other was The Danish Bakery.

Raudenbush’s was located in downtown Pottsville on the 300 block of Market Street. I have vivid memories of the place and going in there as a kid when my Mom and I visited the county seat, usually for back-to-school or holiday shopping.

I can still see the counter person putting our baked goods in a cardboard box then wrapping twine around the box in two direction, tying a knot then grabbing the twine in her fingers and breaking it off the roll.

I often carried the box back to our parked car in Garfield Square using the twine as a “handle”, gripped tightly in little fingers, so pleased to be taking home a box of Pop’s favorite sweets and being the one to present them to him.

The Danish Bakery was in the Yorkville section of the city on the corner of Market and 20th Street. — just a couple doors down from the residence of cousin on my Nana’s side of the family on 20th Street.

As a kid, I was not always keen on visiting relatives, but I was always up for a trip to see this cousin, for going there guaranteed a stop at The Danish Bakery before heading home. Sometimes, if I put on my “I wish I was anywhere but here” face, Mom would slip me a little money and I would make my escape out the side door and down to the bakery on the corner.

The building The Danish Bakery was in enthralled me nearly as much as the delights waiting inside the bakery cases. It was a fantasy castle in my child’s mind; a little turret set off the corner of the building and the pink paint scheme was right out of a little girl’s dream.

The Danish Bakery, 2oth & Market, Pottsville, PA

As I grew up and my interest in baking blossomed, I decided to experiment with making Dad’s favorite – cream puffs. They were a resounding success and I never looked back. Good thing he liked my version because both bakeries subsequently closed and some of the county’s favorite baked goods could be found there no more.

This custard is versatile as a pudding, for filling cream puffs, for a spread between layers of cake, as a topping for bread pudding, as a filling for cupcakes, and much more. This version has no eggs and is cooked in a double boiler. Serve slightly warm or chilled.

Old-fashioned Corn Starch Custard (Pudding)

Recipe by Lori Fogg, A Coalcracker In The KitchenCourse: DessertsCuisine: GeneralDifficulty: Intermediate

A versatile egg-free vanilla custard that can be used as a pudding, cake filling or pastry filling.


  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 1/3 cup sugar

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup cold milk

  • 2 cups scaled milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla


  • In the top of a double boiler, mix cornstarch, sugar, and salt
  • Add the cold milk to the cornstarch mixture, set aside
  • In another saucepan, scald 2 cups milk; slowly add to cold milk mixture
  • Cook in the top of a double boiler stirring until thick
  • Cover and cook 15 – 20 minutes
  • Add vanilla, stir in well.
  • Pour into large dish or in divided dishes. Placing plastic wrap directly on the surface while cooking prevents a skin from forming. Serve slightly warm or chill.