Custard: Powdered, canned or from scratch – Do they all taste the same?

Today’s cooking experiment involved three different forms of custard. Powdered, canned and from scratch. I must say, I am intrigued by all the different forms of custard that are on the market. There are powdered and canned forms available (and several brands of each kind I may add). Why even bother making it from scratch when you have all these options available?

For this experiment, I tested two types of powdered custards (Bird’s and Horne’s), two types of canned custards (Irresistible’s and President’s Choice brands) as well as one that was made from scratch.

We presented the 5 different types of custard, in no particular order, for the taste testers to sample along with fresh strawberries.

Here are the 5 custards that were tested:
Horne’s Custard Powder (powdered)
Bird’s Instant Custard (powdered)
President’s Choice – Devon Custard (canned)
Irresistible’s – English Devon Style Custard (canned)
Homemade Custard – made from scratch

My theory:
I’m hoping that the powdered custard will taste just as good as the home made custard. I don’t think the canned custards will fair as well because I think they might have a processed/metallic taste because of their packaging.

Taste testers:
Please sample each of the custards and comment on the appearance, texture and flavour. Which one is your favourite?

The Reveal:
Thank you everyone for submitting your comments. Here are the results:
A: Irresistibles – English Devon Style Custard (3 people’s favourite)
B: Homemade Custard (4 people’s favourite)
C: Horne’s Custard Powder
D: President’s Choice – Devon Custard (3 people’s favourite)
E: Bird’s Instant Custard

My Thoughts:
I was secretly hoping that either the powdered or canned custards would come out on top. Out of all the custards tasted, none of them came out as the obvious winner. All of the custards are quite muted in flavour and although there are differences in thickness and color, none of the samples really stood apart from the rest.

The Bottom Line:
It is so nice to realize that there are places in the kitchen where you can take shortcuts! Because the flavour/texture of custard is already quite subtle to begin with, any flavour differences would be lost once the custard is paired along side other things like crumbles, pie, cakes or trifles. There was a slight preference for the taste of the home made custard but people didn’t like the lumpy texture. Tip: Make sure that you have the plastic wrap touch the surface of the custard when you store it to prevent a skin from forming on top.

In this case, it’s actually worth choosing a powdered or canned custard. You’ll save a lot of time especially custard is generally not the focal point but is served alongside things. However, baked custards are another story. Things like flans, creme caramel and creme brulee are probably best made from scratch and are worth the legwork.

Of all the samples tasted, I would personally choose the Bird’s instant custard because it was so easy to make (you literally just add water)! However, there was an individual who was really put off by the color because it is very orange in appearance. However, I liked this custard from a texture (smooth) and ease of preparation factor. The flavour was mediocre, but so were the other custards.