Vanilla Custard

This recipe is more of a reminder than a unique way to make custard. A number of people recently remarked to me: “I sure do miss ice cream! If I could just have ice cream once in a while, I’d be able to follow this diet better!” Well, let’s go one step better: Let’s make custard!

I have yet to find a commercially produced ice cream or custard that I thought was truly healthy. Even the “no sugar added” ice cream brands are usually sweetened with sorbitol and maltitol that can still cause rises in blood sugar (as well as small LDL particles that lead to heart disease), not to mention gas and diarrhea–not the best choice after a romantic dinner!

Here’s a way to make your own thick, rich custard without sugar, sorbitol, maltitol, and without having to endure gas and diarrhea. Of course, if you have a dairy sensitivity in some form, or if you are among the people whose weight loss is stalled or prevented by dairy products (due to the insulinotrophic action of the whey fraction of protein in dairy products), then replace the cream with canned coconut milk.

You will need an ice cream maker. I purchased an electric one (Deni) from Target for $23 and it works wonderfully. The vanilla custard I made last evening at the request of the 14-year old was a snap.

There are a number of methods to generate the egg yolk-rich custard. I am a fan of simplicity, so I chose the process of making the custard from egg yolks over the stove (that I picked up from Maria Emmerich), followed by blending in the sweetener and the other ingredients. This approach may require a couple of tries to get the temperature and time just right. Even if not perfect, however, the end-product should still be quite edible and delicious!

The basic recipe can be altered in an unlimited number of ways, e.g., add 1 cup mixed fresh or frozen berries, 1 cup wild blueberries, dark chocolate chunks with or without peppermint extract, bing cherries, walnut fragments, etc. Using an inulin-based sweetener, such as the Trader Joe’s stevia, or Swerve, helps generate a custard that is smoother and defrosts to a softer texture when taken out of the refrigerator. Alternatively, a teaspoon of xanthan or guar gum can be used, but I’ve found this still allows the ice cream to acquire the hard consistency of ice when frozen.

Makes 6 servings

4 egg yolks (large or jumbo eggs)
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) heavy whipping cream, preferably organic or 1 can coconut milk (13.5 ounces)
Sweetener equivalent to 3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Dash ground nutmeg

Place eggs yolks in small saucepan and heat over low-medium heat. With electric or hand mixer, beat for several minutes until creamy while heating. Keep heat low enough that yolks do not scramble or coagulate but are warm to touch.

Blend in cream or coconut milk, stevia, and salt and blend until well-mixed.

Pour entire mixture into ice cream maker and follow manufacturer’s directions. (My device required 25 minutes to convert to thick custard texture.)

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Comments & Feedback...

  1. Linda

    I am fortunate enough to have raw milk greek yogurt from a neighbor.
    I love about 1/2 cup frozen blueberries mixed with a couple tablespoons of Greek Yogurt.
    Stir until yogurt freezes.
    Unsweetened berries and plain Greek yogurt can be tart.
    I have tried adding a few drops of Vanilla flavored Stevia and it is tolerable, but I have never acclimated to the bitterness of any sweetner. So I do add some organic sugar. I have been able to loose weight doing this even on a daily basis. Any fruit I eat without some form of protein seem to bottom out my blood sugar. This satifies and craving for seets and allows me to still loose.

    • Shirley

      Thought I was the only one! Not only do all artificial sweeteners taste terrible to me they all cause sugar cravings. I use evaporated cane juice crystals in my coffee which hasn’t hindered weight loss and no cravings. I’m 5’4″, 144 pounds in January, 118 since late July. I will look into the Swerve for baking.

      • Teresa

        You should soooo try swerve! I couldn’t live without it now. It’s the exact same measurements as sugar, no bitterness and no tummy upset after. Love it!!

  2. Stephanie

    Have you tried stirring some heavy cream into the Greek Yogurt? I find that adding heavy cream can cut the tart flavor enough that I don’t need too add any other sweetener to it. Plus, the extra fat keeps me full.

    • Neicee

      Many times my grocery is out of 4% cottage cheese, so I’ll have to buy 2%. I have added heavy cream to it and can run on it until lunch. I’d probably do just as well if I simply drank a few tablespoons. Great stuff….

    • jo

      I do that too !! because I just love the extra creaminess ..especially with berries in season now.. a real treat..and yes it does modify the tartness. Shirley.. I also find that sweetner (stevia is my choice) is best used as a de-tartner (made that up) rather than a sweetner as just enough to remove the tartness rather than going for a “sweet” taste…eventually you will adjust to that taste preference over sweet.and below I see the coconut addition too which is also a favourite and usually with a tad of vanilla.. yep..yum!

  3. Sharon

    Linda, try using Swerve. It is THE BEST natural sweetener there is – absolutely no aftertaste, no digestive issues, all natural and measures equal to sugar. When I serve desserts made with Swerve to my guests, they can’t tell the differrence. They never know the desserts are made with something other than sugar.

    • Katrina

      I’m finding Swerve so sweet that even after I’ve eaten the treat that contained it, my drinking water tastes sweetened!! This will definitely encourage me to use less, which is good because it isn’t inexpensive. I love that there is an option to regular sugar and paleo-approved maple syrup or honey, and that Swerve has no calories.

  4. wrotek

    Dr Davis, how much wheat is detectably toxic for a general random human being ? Statistically in a population.

    • Dr. Davis

      I don’t have a milligram quantity, Wro, but it varies widely from human to human.

      The celiac population, of course, respond to microgram quantities of gliadin/gluten. Most of us require milligram quantities to react if we are not celiac or gluten-sensitive. For instance, from a wheat germ agglutinin standpoint, the average person takes in 10-20 mg per day.

      • wrotek

        I see…thank You,,i will assume it is like half a loaf that contains 20mg WGA…My friends father eats bread by loafs, and he takes insulin and starts having troubles walking. But mine friend cant get through to him, because “doctor lets him eat bread, potatoes and other carbs”.

  5. JIllOz

    Nice recipe, Dr Davis and you’ve reminded me – i keep forgetting about those darned LDL particles!!! :(

    • Chris

      Too much Stevia can be bitter too. Try this again after more months when you are off sugar longer, it will taste better. After 10 months of no sugar or wheat I don’t need to sweeten a lot of things I have had to in the past.

      • Neicee

        I agree Chris. I didn’t consume anything sweet from Jan. 1st to June 1st this year. After that, a tiny bit seems good. I’ve never been able to use any of the artificial sweeteners…diet softdrinks would make me sick. Stevia/truvia never has nor left me with the jittery feeling when I could tell I’d injested something bad.

    • never mind, found it on page 209:

      Enjoy cheese, another wonderfully diverse food. Recall that fat is not the issue, so enjoy familiar full-fat cheeses such as Swiss or Cheddar, or exotic cheeses such as Stilton, Crotin du Chavignol, Edam, or Comté. Cheese serves as a wonderful snack or the centerpiece of a meal.

      Other dairy products such as cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, and butter should be consumed in limited quantities of no more than one or two servings per day. I believe that adults should limit dairy products outside of cheese due to the insulinotropic effect of dairy proteins, the tendency that dairy protein has to increase pancreatic release of insulin.4 (The fermentation process required to make cheese reduces the content of amino acids responsible for this effect.) Dairy products should also be in the least processed form. For instance, choose full-fat, unflavored, unsweetened yogurt over sugar-containing, high-fructose corn syrup-sweetened yogurt.


  6. Amanda

    I would be very interested in hearing more about “the insulinotrophic action of the whey fraction of protein in dairy products.” We seem to have some dairy issues at our house, and I would like to understand them better. I also wonder if there is a possibility of overcoming this issue once full health is restored.

    • Dr. Davis

      It is reduced, but not eliminated, with weight loss and cutting back on other insulinotrophic foods, namely carbohydrates.

      I believe I discussed this to some length in the book. Also, see and enter “whey + insulinotrophic” for the actual studies.

  7. JIllOz

    Since we’re talking desserts, I’m posting a dessert recipe people may find delightful/useful.
    Please be aware, this is NOT my recipe, it comes from Chris Shugart here:

    Chris Shugart’s Banana Cream Pie
    “Sometimes you just want dessert. Here’s one way to have it without having to lift your flab up to find your belt loops.

    The only real sugar here comes from the banana, and while dietary fat isn’t the enemy, choosing fat-free ingredients with this dessert will greatly lower the calories. Because you know you’re going to eat the whole thing on one sitting.

    Crust: either diced walnuts or 1 banana
    4 oz fat-free cream cheese (half a standard package)
    1/4 cup fat-free sour cream
    1/4 cup Splenda
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    8 oz Cool Whip, sugar free
    1 scoop banana cream Metabolic Drive (or vanilla)
    Topping: 1 banana

    1. Line the bottom of a pie tin or bowl with either diced walnuts or slices of banana.
    2. In a bowl, mix up the cream cheese, sour cream, Splenda and vanilla with a fork.
    3. Fold in thawed Cool Whip and Metabolic Drive. Pour over “crust.” Dash with cinnamon if you want.
    4. Chill for a few hours in the fridge or one hour in the freezer. “

  8. Ken

    Hello, sounds delicious. I just wanted to say that artificial sweeteners cause problems of their own & you’re much better off using dextrose instead. It’s about 33% as sweet as fructose and doesn’t cause insulin resistance.

  9. Kirsten

    I have just cut out all wheat, grains etc. for about 10 days so far. I am not having any cravings but I have been eating quite a bit of cheese and nuts. Is it really possible to lose weight eating these?

    • Boundless

      > Is it really possible to lose weight eating these?
      Absolutely, unless you have confounding factors (and a percentage of the population does).
      Eat fat, lose weight (as long as you are low carb).
      Traps to watch out for are:
      * Avoid cheesy products fortified with empty carbs (or even wheat).
      * Avoid high carb nuts, sweetened (honey coated) nuts, and hydrogenated (trans) fat oils. Salt is probably not a problem. Choose raw nuts over roasted, although roasting is required for some “nuts”, like peanuts, which are unsafe to eat raw.

  10. Anne

    I have a question about using dairy products. I see from page 209 that you say to “choose full-fat unflavored unsweetened yogurt, which I have been doing and have been choosing full fat cream cheese too when I use it in a recipe. Is that not recommended, as I see from certain recipes that I have glanced at in your blogs, that low fat cheese is used. Can you clarify this. Thanks.

  11. james

    I asked about yuca, not yucca and its effect on the glycemic index and have not heard anything; does anyone know it impact?

  12. Threreed

    I am about to buy your book, which may answer this question, but I hope you can help me until it arrives: if I accidentally eat wheat, what can I do to minimize my suffering until it passes?
    It’s all intestinal for me. I think the inflammation keeps things from progressing as they should, and I will look 8.5 months pregnant after a couple of weeks of non-elimination.
    I used to think it was caused by beef, but now I’m sure it’s wheat, although maybe beef contributes.
    Will anything aid in moving the wheat through, or keep it from inflaming my intestines so dramatically?

    • Dr. Davis

      No, sorry: I know of NO way to mitigate the poisonous effects of wheat.

      It’s kind of like asking: “I ate the tainted chicken that was covered with staphylococcus because it was prepared on an unclean surface teeming with bacteria and decayed remnants of meat. Is there any way to reduce the suffering?”

      Modern wheat is a poison. Don’t eat it. Do your best to minimize exposure because the effects ain’t pretty. We all have to deal with this unhappy situation because we live in a world where the majority have been converted into addicts of the gliadin opiate of wheat who will do just about anything to obtain their next “hit.”

  13. Rebecca

    I was wondering if using coconut sugar the raw variety is a good sugar alternative? I am not very sure about Splenda or the other alternatives listed in recipes. What information do you have on coconut sugar and does it cause negative spikes in blood sugar?

  14. Lynn Johnson

    I have been making my own ice cream for a while with goat milk and coconut cream. Also if you refrigerate coconut milk (Thai brand works best) then separate the cream and whip with hand mixer, it is a great whip cream substitute. I have been using a sweetener called Just Like Sugar. It is made from chicory fiber. It’s a bit pricy, but tast great and no side affects.

    Thanks Dr. Davis for being on the front lines in the battle for truth in food!


    • Dr. Davis

      Great ideas, Lynn! With my wife awfully dairy-intolerant, I’m always on the lookout for ways to navigate the dairy-free world, also.

  15. Judy Zurawik

    Yummy pancakes:
    1 ripe banana, 1 egg, 1 tbls natural peanut butter.
    Mix all together. Heat coconut oil
    Or butter in nonstick pan. Drop by spoonfuls .
    Makes about 6 small pancakes