Baking Radio Podcast Episode #15: Stovetop Custards Made With a Starch

The definition of a stovetop custard made with a starch is discussed. The benefits of using a starch when making a custard is explained. Learn why you can bring a custard with a starch added to the boil and not have it curdle. Chef Sokol walks you through a delicious, stovetop custard recipe made with a starch known as vanilla pastry cream. She discusses its many uses in desserts.

French Vanilla Buttercream

Makes approximately 4 cups


1 cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/4 cup water

6 large egg yolks

1 pound unsalted butter — very soft (but not melted)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


  1. Spray a liquid heatproof measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray to ensure that all the sticky sugar syrup will slide out easily.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, and water and bring the mixture to a rolling boil, stirring just until the sugar dissolves.
  3. While the sugar syrup is cooking, beat the egg yolks on high speed in the bowl of an electric mixer using the whip attachment until the color lightens to a pale yellow.
  4. Immediately pour the syrup into the greased measuring cup.
  5. On high speed, slowly add the hot syrup to the egg yolks, pouring it down the sides of the mixing bowl and not directly onto the whip. Keep beating until the bowl feels cool to the touch.
  6. Gradually add the softened butter, a few tablespoonfuls at a time, until it is all incorporated, blending in each addition of butter thoroughly. The buttercream may appear curdled until all the butter has been incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and blend well. Use at once.

Note: If the mixture is too soft, it can be refrigerated for 1 to 2 hours or placed over an ice water bath, stirring frequently with a whisk until it mounds and is of a spreadable consistency.