Russian Custard

by Sarah Grain Free, Recipes, Snacks and TreatsComments: 33

russian custardWhen my husband and I were on the (temporary) GAPS Diet to improve our gut health, one of our favorite treats hands down was Russian Custard.

Russian Custard is an excellent substitute for cream and works well for any recipe which calls for cream.

Cream, if you recall, is not permitted on the GAPS Diet as it is high in lactose (milk sugar), which is a disaccharide (double sugar) which cannot be digested in a compromised gut environment.  Once the gut heals, of course, lactose can be digested easily so the avoidance of cream is only a temporary measure.

In addition to fruit, Russian Custard can be served on its own or with a handful of chopped nuts – soaked overnight in salt water and dehydrated, of course, to vastly improve digestibility.  You can also use sprouted nuts if you are short on time (sources).

Never soaked nuts before?  It’s a snap. Just mix 1 TBL sea salt in enough filtered water to cover 4 cups of raw nuts of choice.  Drain salt water after 8 -12 hours (except for cashews which should only be soaked for 6 hours) and then dry in a warm, 150F oven (dry cashews at 200F).  You will be AMAZED at how much easier nuts are to digest and how much tastier they are when you do this.

Back to the Russian Custard  ….

The key to Russian Custard is the quality of the eggs you use.  Egg yolks are extremely nutritious and easily digested (can you believe some misinformed people still throw them out and make egg white omelets???).

Deep yellow – orange colored egg yolks are one of the highest food sources of choline, a critical nutrient that protects the liver from overconsumption of sugar, refined carbohydrates, and polyunsaturated vegetable oils.

Use of good quality, egg yolks in the diet is a very wise investment of your food budget dollars.

Make sure to buy the best quality eggs you can afford to make your Russian Custard and purchase them locally so that you are supporting small, local farms in your area.

Russian Custard

Serves 4

adapted from Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride MD


8 free range, local eggs

4 tsp raw honey (where to find)

Sprouted nuts, optional (where to find)


Wash eggs gently in warm, soapy water and then dry.  Separate egg whites from yolks and set whites aside.  In a glass bowl, add the honey to the egg yolks and whip until the mixture thickens and the color lightens to a pale yellow.

Serve immediately with fruit or nuts or add to recipe of choice in place of cream.

Be sure to refrigerate any Russian custard leftovers, which will last several days.

* Use up those egg whites by making Real Protein Cookies or Grain Free Angel Food Cake!

Love pudding? Try these other recipes too!

Egg Custard Pudding
Bread and Butter Pudding
Jello Pudding
Macademia Nut Pudding
Coconut Milk Pudding
Thai Custard
Homemade Chocolate Pudding

Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

Picture Credit

Comments (33)

  • Sylvia

    Raw egg?
    What about the food poisoning we are hearing about?
    I don’t have chickens in my yard; I buy the best eggs I can find at the store.
    Anyone have experience with this?

    February 1st, 2014 5:58 pm Reply
    • Clare

      The problem with most commercial eggs is that the chickens in CAFOs are miserably unhealthy. Their immune systems are compromised, and the chicken actually produces a protective layer that dries on the egg shell after laying. If the chicken is sick, it will likely have salmonella poisoning itself. This is why American CAFO produced eggs are always washed on site. The problem with washing, however, is that the protective layer, now compromised by the chicken being sick, allows the salmonella to rest on the surface of the shell. Once the consumer gets the egg home and cracks it, the salmonella then contaminates the egg. If you buy organic eggs from locally farm-raised chickens, more than likely the chickens are happy and healthy, and aren’t living in a state of salmonella poisoning. The washing of the eggs just sanitizes them completely on the outside to prevent any bacterial contamination of any kind. Fun Fact: Other countries treat their chickens so well, they can leave the eggs unrefrigerated up to a month, and Americans are the only ones who need to wash eggs. That was two fun facts for one!

      February 5th, 2014 9:23 pm Reply
      • Natalie

        EXACTLY! Well said.

        June 23rd, 2015 5:47 pm Reply
  • Megan

    Thanks for this Sarah, I am going to try this!

    February 1st, 2014 5:03 pm Reply
  • Linda Kruhmin via Facebook

    did not know that egg yolks could be used this way!

    February 1st, 2014 3:07 pm Reply
  • Amanda McCandliss via Facebook

    This is great! Thanks.

    February 1st, 2014 1:20 pm Reply
  • Megan

    If you make a batch of this, how long can you store it in the fridge? Can you just re-whip it the next day to fluff it again?

    January 13th, 2013 8:11 pm Reply
  • Bev

    I Love how you summarized the soaking of nuts in 4 simple sentences. This is very much needed since I am overwhelmed sometimes with work and home and cannot bring myself to re-read nourishing traditions. Thanks for summing it up simply! I am going to try soaking nuts for the first time!

    November 6th, 2012 2:10 pm Reply
  • Sarah

    Hi Sarah! Thanks for this recipe. My family just enjoyed some tonight, and it is perfect for the GAPS diet. I was wondering, what did you do with all your egg whites while you were on the GAPS diet since the two recipes you mention call for ingredients not permitted on the GAPS diet? Thanks so much.

    October 13th, 2012 11:53 pm Reply
    • Nancy

      When I have egg whites left over, I make macaroons. You can google GAPS macaroons. You could also make a merengue topping for something else, maybe a clafoutis?

      August 31st, 2014 4:50 pm Reply
  • Jaime

    I know that this is an older post, but had to reply as I only stumbled across it the other day and I have just tried it. I was out of cream to have on my baked apples (and can’t source any raw cream anyway, so always feel like pasteurised cream is such a huge compromise!) so I tried your Russian Custard and LOVED IT! Been eating WAP style for nearly a year now and your website has made it so easy! Thankyou so much!!

    September 9th, 2012 5:14 am Reply
    • Terri

      So glad you like it on baked apples! That’s what I was thinking of using it for. Growing up my grandmother always served baked apples with ‘custard’, but it was the Birds’ mix which is basically cornstarch and sugar mixed with warmed milk. I can imagine that this would be a pretty good substitute, except that the Birds’ is served *warm* — do you think this mixture could be warmed a bit to go over the hot apples, or is it just as good cold? Thanks!

      December 11th, 2013 12:27 am Reply
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  • Olga

    Thanks a lot for the link on how to use leftover eggwhites!!! It’s very helpfull. And tasty :-)

    September 29th, 2011 4:46 pm Reply
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  • Bianca

    Russian custard is known as Zabaglione in Italy or Sabayon in France. Sugar is
    traditionally used: 1 – 2 Tbsps as well as Marsala wine or Grand Marnier (personal
    preference) I used to make this for my children when they were growing up in a
    large copper bowl over hot water. Whipping the egg yolks creates the volume.
    A sweetener is just that: to sweeten. It is delicious and healthy.
    Bon appetito!

    May 30th, 2011 11:18 am Reply
  • Meagan

    I was reading some of the comments, and noticed you mentioned date sugar. I don’t know much about date sugar except for the fact that it comes from dates. Wouldn’t it be considered “processed” ?? In other words, how do they get the sugar out of the dates?

    May 28th, 2011 2:20 pm Reply
  • Hannah

    My sister loves Russian custard! The only problem is she hates taking the time to whisk it with a fork.
    In the picture you have it looks like you’re using a electric whisk…. Are you? And what brand is it? It would be so much easier to make the Russian custard if we didn’t have to stand there and beat our arms off!

    May 27th, 2011 10:08 am Reply
  • Amber

    Oh this is eggcellent!!! I’m always looking for new things to do with eggs since my chickens make more than I can eat. Plus I have to cut corners with my raw dairy budget and cream is wildly expensive. So I can use this for all those wonderful cream based recipes I keep getting through Real Food Media :-)

    Also, LOVE the bonus you gave use with some egg white ideas. I use/eat a lot of yolks but I hate wasting the whites. I’m going to make these protein cookies soon!!!

    May 26th, 2011 4:38 pm Reply
  • Mary Lynch

    Excellent! For months my family has been enjoying the protein cookies linked in your post – which require 8 egg whites. But now I have 10 little containers of frozen yolks in my freezer (frozen in 3’s for making ice cream). From now on, I’ll just make Russian Custard and save the space in my freezer. Perfect!

    May 26th, 2011 11:40 am Reply
  • Beth

    Sounds delicious! You can also use part of a rinsed shell in your water kefir to add minerals.

    There’s info in the new edition of Gut & Psychology Syndrome which I think may be different from the original one with regard to introducing dairy. I’m not sure how different it is — maybe somebody could confirm this. I know it talks about using homemade sour cream pretty early on in the process (just checked, First Stage of Intro, actually), as a high fat, as opposed to high protein, dairy food. On p. 148 she talks about introducing sour cream made with yoghurt culture first, and then sour cream made with kefir culture. This would be after using the overnight sensitivity test on the wrist to be sure it’s tolerated. In any case, maybe using homemade sour cream would be a fun variation to try for your recipe.

    May 26th, 2011 10:35 am Reply
  • Ari

    Wow, I never thought of this as a ‘recipe’ or anything Russian… this was what my father served me when I was sick, especially for a sore throat, when I was a child. It was my favourite treat! Perhaps he learned it from his Russian father or Polish mother. I’ll have to start making this for a treat more often.

    May 26th, 2011 10:29 am Reply
  • marie

    How do we enter the contests to win products ? Are they on your site here and I am just missing them?

    Also, are the soaking times in Nourishing Traditions adequate for grains, legumes and rice? There is some discrepancy between this book and the How to CurelTooth Decay, I think.

    Thank you

    May 26th, 2011 10:27 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      I soak my grains and legumes for 24 hours. I know that NT says overnight is sufficient but also suggests a 24 hours soak, so soak for the longer period of time and it does seem to improve digestibility.

      May 26th, 2011 10:36 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      I have giveaways periodically that are announced in blog posts. I do not have one going on presently. The best way to never miss one is to subscribe and then you don’t ever miss a post.

      May 26th, 2011 10:37 am Reply
  • Rick

    Is honey there for just the sweetness or for consistency as well? My wife is allergic to honey so would this work with stevia?

    May 26th, 2011 10:26 am Reply
    • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

      I don’t know if stevia would be a good substitute or not.

      May 26th, 2011 10:35 am Reply
      • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

        After thinking about it more, I’m thinking stevia would not work as the raw honey and the egg yolk whipped together seem to change the consistency of the custard as it thickens and the color changes kind of like what happens when you whip cream into butter. Using stevia would not produce the same effect I do not believe.

        May 26th, 2011 10:43 am Reply
        • Naomi Snider

          Why couldn’t she use a little maple syrup? Different flavor but might work.

          May 27th, 2011 8:18 am Reply
          • Sarah, The Healthy Home Economist

            Maple syrup might work but maple syrup is a disaccarride (double sugar) so if one is making Russian Custard as a sub for cream, then maple syrup would not be an option. Only honey, date sugar are single sugar molecule sweeteners from what I’ve read. I don’t think date sugar would work as it is granular. But, if someone is not on GAPS and wants to use maple syrup, that might work as an option though I don’t know if the custard would thicken up like it does when the egg yolks are whipped with raw honey.

            May 27th, 2011 8:25 am
        • Clare

          Would a simple syrup made with date sugar work? I don’t have the money to run out and try this, I’m asking for a “what if.”

          February 5th, 2014 9:29 pm Reply
    • Neile

      Try Agave nectar.

      May 31st, 2012 12:27 pm Reply
      • Ramon

        But did you know that the process in which they create agave syrup is the exact same one by which high fructose corn syrup is produced?

        That’s right. All that chemically-intensive, factory-made fakeness applies to manufactured agave “nectar” just as much as HFCS. Using all sorts of toxic chemicals, caustic acids, and genetically-modified enzymes, they take the starch of the root bulb from the agave plant, and, just like with the starch from corn, put it through the processing ringer transforming it almost the exact same way into not much more than free synthetic fructose and a bunch of chemicals.

        October 9th, 2012 3:24 am Reply

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