Fresh fruit and a creamy vanilla custard sauce combine forces in this simple Fruit Custard recipe. If you are looking for a healthy, easy dessert that doesn’t require you to turn on the oven, you’ve come to the right place! See how to make this yummy fruit salad with custard sauce by following along with my step-by-step photos and video below.
Table of Contents
About Fruit Custard
Sometimes the fruit custard was served plain, and sometimes my Mom embellished it with fruit jelly. I can still see the labels from the Brown & Polson or the Crown brand custard powders and jars of Rex brand jelly in my mind’s eye! Isn’t it funny how food can take you back in time?
NOTE: While I opted to use boxed custard powder in this recipe for convenience, I also have an eggless recipe for Vanilla Custard on the site.
A fruit custard is basically made by mixing fruits with custard sauce, which is why this delicious dessert is also known as fruit salad with custard. Depending on how you make fruit salad in your house, you can also feel free to add in things like toasted nuts, dried fruits or even vegetarian mini marshmallows.
If you’re in the US, this might also remind you of a version of ambrosia salad known as a 24-Hour Salad. While we eat this yummy fruit salad with custard as a sweet dessert, you can certainly feel free to serve it with your holiday spread – it has fruit in it, after all!
Tips & Tricks for Fruit Custard
- Fruit custard can be made with dairy milk or plant-based milk. I make it both ways, though if I am going the vegan route I prefer to use almond milk. In the stepwise photos, I have shown the method of making it with dairy milk. The method of making custard with almond milk is explained in the recipe card notes below.
- To improvise on the sugar content in this fruit salad with custard, you can substitute jaggery when making with almond milk. However with dairy milk, you have to be careful while adding jaggery as the milk can curdle. If you do plan to add jaggery, then add once the custard is warm.
- Feel free to add your favorite seasonal fruits, but avoid citrus fruits and melons. Both citrus fruits and melons are incompatible with milk and can give you indigestion. You can add your favorite dry fruits and nuts to the fruit custard.
- How to make fruit custard without custard powder? Replace 3 tablespoons of cornstarch or arrowroot flour or tapioca starch with custard powder and mix it with 3 tablespoons of warm milk as directed in the recipe. Also add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ½ teaspoon vanilla essence to this mix when you make the paste or slurry.
How to Make Fruit Custard
1. Take 2.5 cups milk in a thick bottomed pan or saucepan and keep it on the stove top. Bring the milk to a gentle simmer.
2. While the milk is warming up, take 3 tablespoons warm or room temperature milk in a small bowl. Add 3 tablespoons custard powder.
You can take the 3 tablespoons warm milk from the milk which is getting heated up or warm 3 tablespoons milk separately in a microwave oven or on the stove top.
Out of custard powder? No problem! Check out my recipe for making Vanilla Custard and you’ll be in business.
Or swap custard powder with 3 tablespoons of cornstarch. Don’t forget to add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ½ teaspoon of vanilla essence to this mix.
3. With a whisk, stir very well to make a smooth paste or slurry without any lumps.
4. When the milk has come to a gentle heat, add 5 tablespoons sugar or as required. Stir very well so that the sugar dissolves.
5. Keep the flame on a low and then add the custard paste or slurry in parts.
6. As soon as you add the custard mixture, stir quickly so that lumps are not formed. Repeat with the remaining custard paste, working in batches or drizzling it in a slow stream as you whisk constantly.
7. Keep on stirring often while the custard is cooking, so that lumps are not formed. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on a low heat.
8. The mixture will thicken slowly and the raw taste of the cornstarch from the custard powder also goes away.
Pour the custard in a bowl and cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Let it cool at room temperature. If you plan to serve fruit custard cold, place the bowl covered with a lid in the refrigerator.
For a thicker custard, cook for a few more minutes. Keep in mind that as the custard cools, it will thicken more. You can also keep the custard in fridge to chill it before adding the fruits.
Make Fruit Custard
9. Chop the fruits. I always suggest to use seasonal fruits to make fruit custard. Just be sure to avoid citrus fruits, pineapple and melons. The fruits I used are: apples, papaya, banana, strawberries and pomegranate.
10. Once the custard has cooled (at room temperature or in the fridge), add the mixed fruits.
11. Mix well.
12. Serve fruit custard garnished with some more fruits and pomegranate arils. Enjoy!
You could also add some nuts and dry fruits like raisins, cashews, pine nuts, pistachios, almonds, walnuts, pecans.
NOTE: If you store the fruit custard in the fridge, the fruits will release some of their juices and the consistency of the custard can become thin. So add fruits only when you plan to serve this dessert. It is best enjoyed when served straightaway after assembling and mixing.
More Tips for Best Fruit Custard
- Fruits: I suggest to use seasonal fruits that are ripe and sweet. Do not use tangy citrus fruits, melons and pineapple. Adding pineapple can make the fruit custard taste bitter. You can also enjoy custard as is without adding any fruits.
- Milk: You can make the custard with both whole milk and almond milk. I have detailed below the method for making a vegan fruit custard in the notes section of recipe card below.
- Custard consistency: To make a for a smooth lump-free consistency, ensure that when you add the custard powder slurry to the milk it should not be very hot or boiling. This can create lumps in the custard. On the other hand, to make the slurry or paste, always use warm milk or room temperature milk. A paste made with cold milk will also create lumps in the custard.
- Variations: You can make apple custard by adding apple puree or apple sauce to the custard sauce and later mix with the rest of the fruits. Another interesting variation is mango custard, where you have to mix mango puree with the custard sauce once it cools. Some more options are to add banana puree or strawberry puree. Keep in mind to add less sugar when you mix fruit purees with the custard.
- Scale: Feeding a crowd? Scale this recipe to make a large batch of fruit custard for kids parties or potlucks.
Ooops! It sounds like you either:
1. Didn’t cook the custard long enough, or
2. Added a tad too much milk.
To remedy a thin custard, you can either continue cooking on the stovetop, or create another custard powder slurry to add into the mix. Please note that these remedies will only work if you haven’t yet added fruit to the mix.
Also, it is important to note that warm custard will necessarily have a slightly medium flowing consistency. As the mixture cools, it will continue to set up.
If you don’t have any custard powder, I recommend you check out my recipe for Homemade Custard Sauce.
If you don’t have any *leftover* custard powder and are trying to remedy a thin version of the recipe below, opt for a cornstarch or arrowroot slurry.
I recommend reaching for any in season fruits, as they are bound to be less expensive and more delicious. Just be sure to avoid citrus (like oranges and tangerines) and melons, as these don’t play nicely with dairy in the digestive tract.
Please be sure to rate the recipe in the recipe card or leave a comment below if you have made it. For more vegetarian inspirations, Sign Up for my emails or follow me on Instagram, Youtube, Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter.
- 2.5 cups whole milk
- 5 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons custard powder
- 3 tablespoons whole milk warm or at room temperature
- 1.5 to 2 cups chopped mixed fruits – apples, mangoes, sapota, banana, pears, strawberries, pomegranate
Making custard sauce
- Take milk in a thick bottomed pan or saucepan and keep it on the stove top. Bring the milk to a gentle heat or simmer.
- Whilst the milk is getting heated, in a small bowl, take 3 tablespoon warm milk from the saucepan. Add 3 tbsp custard powder.
- You can opt to take the 3 tablespoons of warm milk from the milk which is getting heated up in the pan or warm 3 tablespoons milk separately in a microwave oven or on the stove top.
- With a whisk stir very well to make a smooth slurry or paste without any lumps.
- When the milk has come to a gentle heat, add the sugar. Stir very well so that the sugar dissolves.
- Keep the heat on a low and then add the custard paste at a time in small portions.
- As soon as you add one portion of the custard slurry or paste, stir quickly so that lumps are not formed. Finish off all the custard paste this way.
- Keep on stirring often while the custard is cooking, so that lumps are not formed. Cook for about 5 to 6 minutes on a low heat.
- The mixture will thicken slowly. For a thicker custard, cook for a few more minutes. Allow the custard to cool at room temperature. Also keep in mind, that as the custard cools, it will thicken more. You can also keep the custard in fridge to chill it before adding the fruits.
Making fruit custard
- Chop the fruits. Use seasonal fruits. Avoid citrus fruits and melons. The fruits I used – apples, papaya, banana, strawberries and pomegranate.
- Once the custard has cooled, add the mixed fruits. Combine to mix.
- Serve fruit custard garnished with some more fruits and pomegranate arils or add some chopped nuts or dry fruits.
- This fruit salad with custard recipe can be doubled or tripled.
- If making fruit custard for Navratri fast, then use arrowroot flour for thickening, instead of corn starch.
- Best to use seasonal fruits to make fruit custard. Avoid using citrus fruits, pineapple and melons.
- Make sure to stir often after the milk starts thickening so that the sauce does not get burnt or brown at the bottom of the pan.
- To make fruit custard without custard powder, simply swap in 3 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot four or tapioca starch and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or ½ teaspoon vanilla essence. Mix these with warm milk to make a smooth slurry or paste.
How to make vegan fruit custard
- Warm the 2.5 cups almond milk on a low heat. Simply lightly warm the milk. Don’t over heat it.
- Now take 3 tablespoons milk from the warmed almond milk and make a smooth paste with the custard powder. Make sure there are no lumps and keep aside.
- Add sugar to the warmed almond milk. Stir till the sugar dissolves. You can use 5 to 6 tablespoon jaggery instead of sugar.
- Then add the custard paste to the warmed almond milk. Keep on a low heat and keep on stirring till the milk begins to thicken.
- You have to stir continuously as to avoid forming lumps in the custard.
- The custard will start thickening. Avoid making to a thick consistency, as on cooling the consistency thickens more.
- Switch off the heat and allow the custard to cool or refrigerate. Add fruits. Mix well and serve the fruit custard.
Nutrition Info (Approximate Values)
This fruit custard post from the archives, first published in February 2013 has been republished and updated on 20 November 2021.