Thursday, May 24, 2012

Guyanese Custard Block

(I should probably premise this story with the fact that I am the Canadian born offspring of two Guyanese parents)...

It was my Dad's birthday a few months ago.  He's one of those people who doesn't really like a big fuss on their birthday (which I don't understand - I feel as though my birthday should be a national holiday).  Because he doesn't like a big fuss, we try to keep it low key, but special.

This year, I decided to flip through this Guyanese cookbook we had (dated 1973) and attempt something for dessert for his birthday from 'home' (anyone with Guyanese family living abroad knows that Guyana is referred to as 'back home' or just 'home')....
I love crazy cookbooks like just never know what you might find in them!
In it, I found a recipe for something called 'Custard Block'.....

I thought this recipe was great for a couple of reasons (1) Because it's called 'Custard Block'...that's exactly what it is.  A block of frozen custard.  And (2) because it's main ingredient is something called 'Bird's Custard Powder'.  Now, Birds Custard Powder brings back many memories from my childhood.  It's one of the first things that my Mom would let me make on my own.  It’s a custard powder, which when you add milk and sugar to it over heat - makes this gloop-y yellow custard that my dad LOVES with any sort of pie or crumble (there were equal parts pie and custard in his bowl)...

Custard block is like ice cream without all the work.  I used fat free evaporated milk, which really lightened the recipe up.  It's a great summer dessert and really easy to make.  

Fat-free goodness....
Guyanese Custard Block
Adapted from 'What's Cooking in Guyana' Cookbook
Serves 6

Two 12oz cans of fat free evaporated milk (could use the full fat evaporated milk as well...).
3 tbsp Birds Custard Powder
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla


(1) In a medium pot, whisk together all the ingredients.
(2) Put the mixture on the stove and turn on heat to medium-high.
(3) Stir constantly.  The idea here is to heat the custard mixture until it thickens slightly.  (on average - 8-9 minutes)
-if you don't continuously stir, it will get too lumpy quickly (and you'll have to start all over!)
-The mixture is ready when it coats the back of the spoon and doesn't pull away from the edges of the spoon...
Not ready....

See how it's pulling away from the edges of the spatula?.....Still not ready.....
(4) As soon as mixture has started to thicken, remove from heat and pour into the desired container. 
-I used a mini muffin pan.  Other ideas for containers are - popsicle holders, ice cube trays, mini pie plates, ramekins.... 
(5) Freeze for at least 5-6 hours
(6) When ready to serve, remove from freezer and run the bottom of contain through warm water to loosen the custard block to make it easy to pop out. 
-Optional - when serving , sprinkle with a smidge of cinnamon.
Custard Block!  Ready to serve....
Nutritional Information (for one serving - 1/6 of the final product):
Calories 151
Fat 0.2g
Carbs 28.3g
Fibre 0.1g
Protein 8.2g
WW Points 3

Happy Cooking!


  1. This looks fantastic! I like how you have the photos with the spatula to help so we know when it's ready. Otherwise I'm always confused and second guessing!!!

    1. Thanks for the lovely comment! I am glad the photos help :)

  2. I know this receipe we have alot in common- i am also canadian born from 2 guyanese parents :)! I love custard block. I have to try this one though!!

    1. Hi Amanda! Thanks for the lovely comment! Have a great day!

  3. One of the best things mom brought back from "home." Used to have it every summer till she stopped making it...I was thinking, "What would I REALLY like right about now," and this came to mind so I searched the internet for a recipe.

    Thank you!!! (I tried to guess the recipe once and it was a disaster.) BEST summertime treat!

  4. I am going to try this right now. I has been years that I tasted an Ice Block I left Guyana almost 50 years ago and I am so happy to try this. Will let you know how it turned out. Thank you.

  5. what will happen if it gets too thick?

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  7. My name is Aubrey Trotman and I live in the USA. I have been trying for years to obtain a copy of this edition for my wife. Can you or anyone please direct me to a site or store, where I can publish or get a copy?