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We tested 7 SA custards and there is one clear winner

Your Christmas trifle needs our favourite custard

by: Katy Rose | 11 Dec 2018
Food24 tastes custard recipes baking

ALSO READ: 6 Warm desserts best served with custard

What do trifle, malva pudding and jelly all have in common? They all need the very best custard. We tasted some of South Africa’s custard brands against each other to find out which one really tastes the best. We tested two powder custards, 1 fresh custards and 4 long life custards. Read on for the results! 

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We were shocked and surprised to find out that none of the custards we tasted contained egg yolks. Traditionally, a custard is milk, egg yolk, sugar and maybe some vanilla cooked gently until it thickens. In fact, the yellow colour of custard comes from the egg yolks. We were left confused and betrayed, frankly, to find out that the commercial custards contain no eggs at all (even the fresh custard from Woolworths!) and that they are only coloured to imitate the traditional product. 

ALSO READ: Make the perfect Christmas trifle with these 5 tips

Clover Classic 62 /100
Despite being a well-known dairy brand, the Clover Custard was an unknown to the panel. It scored well on texture but lost some ground on flavour and aftertaste. Comments from the tasters: “Definitely the most creaminess of the lot .... however lacking vanilla taste”, “Very firm texture. This one feels traditional - creamy but not too sweet” and “Meh, I'll eat it if someone else serves it to me. Will I buy it? Naaah”

First Choice 48/100
This sample scored the lowest except for the two powdered custards. Most of the panel were left confused and bewildered, with one outlier commenting “Pretty damn awesome”. Ok, it’s all for you then, buddy. Proof that there is a custard out there for everyone. 

Moir’s powder custard 44/100
The classic custard that most of us enjoyed growing up; we couldn’t not include Moir’s. When made to the instructions, it was smooth and creamy, but after cooling to room temperature it became very lumpy. What if we want a cold custard, Moirs? One taster was traumatised: “Lumpy, the lumps actually stuck in my throat...this can’t be custard”. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the skin that forms on the surface after an hour in the fridge...

Parmalat Vanilla Custard 70/100
Parmalat custard scored well in creaminess and texture, coming in second. Tasters picked up  distinct toffee and caramel flavours, which was not necessarily a bad thing. Comments: “ Winner!”, “Not bad not brilliant” and “Doesn’t taste like custard, has more of a toffee aftertaste” 

food24tastes, custard recipes

Snowflake powder custard 40/100

This is the lame horse in the race, and honestly, we’re not sure why anyone would buy this brand. The colour was bright enough to be a traffic sign, and again we were plagued by lumps once the custard cooled to room temperature. Coming in dead last, tasters said “I could not eat a teaspoon .... bad after taste” and “Very starchy, and not a great flavour. Tastes like a dusty old cupboard.” 

UltraMel Vanilla Custard 81/100
UltraMel is the Beyonce of custard - she is the queen and everyone knows it. We were surprised that so many of the tasters could immediately identify the brand in the line up. It struck just the right balance between creamy and sweet, with a neutral vanilla flavour and no after taste. Comments: “Not too sweet, perfect texture ..... I like this, could definitely have a bigger bowl”“Think it’s Ultramel. Brings back Sunday lunch dessert feels” and “Creamy glossy and smooth”

Woolworths Fresh Custard 67/100
We expected more from this custard, but once you strip away the hefty price tag, Woolies dissappointed a little bit. The flavour was good, but it was far from traditional with flavours of cinnamon, butterscotch and toffee. Tasters said: “I’m guessing it Woolworths and surprisingly don’t like the flavour compared to the rest. Color wise it looks less fake though.” “Very nice” and “Delicious!”

ALSO READ: 9 Alternative festive desserts to make this year if you hate trifle

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The results: 

Snowflake  40/100

Moirs         44/100

First Choice 48/100

Clover         62 /100

Woolworths 67/100

Parmalat 70/100

Ultramel 81/100

The winner in our test is the queen of custard - Ultra Mel! 

ALSO READ: Your essential guide to making a Christmas cake - from marzipan and fruit to baking and booze

What's your favourite store-bought custard? Let us know in the comments below!

Read more on: baking tips  |  taste test  |  food24 tastes

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