Fried Milk Custards | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

Fried Milk Custards

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Fried Milk Custards

Fried Milk Custards. Courtesy of Phaidon.

Servings & Times
  • Serves 8
Active Time:
  • 1 hr
Total Time:
  • 4 hrs

• Vegetable oil, for greasing and deep-frying

• 2 cups (16 fl oz/ 475 ml) milk

• 1/2 cup (2 oz/ 50 g) cornstarch (cornflour)

• 2 egg whites

• all-purpose (plain) flour, for dusting

• 1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz/ 100 g) granulated sugar, plus extra to sprinkle

For the batter:

• 1 1/4 cups (5 oz/ 150 g) all-purpose (plain) flour

• 1/2 cup (2 oz/ 50 g) cornstarch (cornflour)

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1 cup (8 fl oz/ 250 ml) cold or sparkling water, as needed


A crispy coating is key to this tasty, melt-in-your-mouth dessert. It’s best to serve each batch immediately, then fry the remaining custards as required. If left to sit, they will go soggy.

Grease a 4 x 6-inch/ 10 x 15-cm baking pan.

To make the custard, beat together 1/2 cup (4 fl oz/ 120 ml) milk with the cornstarch (cornflour) in a mixing bowl until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add the egg whites and beat again until smooth.

Pour the remaining 1 1/2 cups (12 fl oz/350 ml) milk into a medium saucepan, add the sugar, and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. When the milk begins to bubble, pour a third of it over the egg mixture and beat continuously. Gradually pour in the remaining milk and continue to beat.

Return the custard mixture to the pan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Simmer for 2–3 minutes, beating continuously, until the mixture thickens and clings to a wooden spoon. Immediately scrape the mixture into the prepared baking pan, press a sheet of plastic wrap (cling film) on the surface, and smooth down. Let cool and refrigerate, covered, for at least 4 hours.

Next, make the batter. Combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking powder in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, then pour in the water, a little at a time, and beat to a pourable consistency (you may not need all the water).

Use a butter knife to gently loosen it away from the baking pan and invert the pan onto a clean work surface. Cut the custard in eight 2 x 1-inch/5 x 2.5-cm pieces. Place about 4 tablespoons flour for dusting in a shallow bowl.

Pour enough oil into a wok or deep saucepan to fill no more than a third. Heat to 350°F/180°C, or until a cube of bread browns in 30 seconds. Take 4 custards and dust them in the flour and then in the batter. Coat evenly, lift out, and let the excess drip off. (If the batter does not drip off, add a little more water to make it a little thinner.) Gently lower into the hot oil and deep-fry for 2–3 minutes until light golden. Using a slotted spoon, turn the custards frequently to ensure even cooking and prevent them from sticking to the bottom of the wok. Carefully remove the custards from the oil and drain on paper towels. Repeat with the remaining custards. Sprinkle with sugar while hot, gently toss, and serve.

Adapted from CHINA: THE COOKBOOK by Kei Lum and Diora Fong Chan (Phaidon 2016)