Easy Fruit Custard / Indian Fruit Salad

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Indulge in this cooling Indian fruit custard, made with a rich, creamy custard sauce and fresh seasonal fruits. Whether you prefer the convenience of an Instant Pot or the traditional stovetop method, this dessert is easy to make.

Enjoy this refreshing dessert during summer – it is perfect for potlucks and large gatherings or as a treat for your family.

An overhead shot of a child holding a bowl of fruit custard. Another bowl is placed on a marble board.
Indian-fruit-custard
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What is fruit custard?

Fruit custard is a classic Indian dessert that combines the creamy texture of custard sauce with seasonal fresh fruits.

At its core, custard is a sweetened mixture made with milk or cream and thickened with eggs, cornstarch, or custard powder. In the case of fruit custard, custard powder is often preferred for its convenience and to keep the dessert eggless, catering to various dietary preferences.

Once the custard sauce is prepared, cooled to the right temperature, and achieves a silky, smooth consistency, a variety of chopped fresh fruits are folded in. The choice of fruits can vary widely, from apples, bananas, and grapes to mangoes, berries, and pomegranate arils, allowing for a versatile and colorful dessert.

This custard recipe with fruits is not only a treat for the taste buds but also a delightful way to incorporate the goodness of fruits into your diet. Its ease of preparation and the flexibility to use whatever fruits are in season or on hand make this fruit custard recipe a favorite among home cooks across the globe.

Did you know?

Fruit custard is commonly referred to as fruit salad in India, but it’s markedly different from the American fruit salad, where fruits are served in their natural juices or with whipped cream.

What is custard powder?

Custard typically gets its thick, creamy texture from eggs. However, for those looking to avoid eggs, custard powder offers an excellent alternative. This powder is primarily cornflour-based and transforms into a custard-like sauce when combined with hot milk and heated.

How to make custard with fruit

Creating a delicious bowl of fruit custard salad is simpler than you might think. Let’s begin with gathering the ingredients.

Ingredient notes/swaps

For the custard base

  • Custard powder (Vanilla flavor) – forms the base of the sauce. It is essential for achieving that classic custard texture and taste. The most popular varieties of custard powder are Brown and Polson and Bird’s custard. These can be easily found at most Indian grocery stores or online from Amazon.
  • Whole milk – Use whole milk for a rich, creamy custard. It provides the perfect base for dissolving the custard powder and sugar. For a vegan version, use almond milk.
  • Sugar – Adjust according to taste. It balances the flavors, complementing both the creamy custard and the freshness of the fruits.
  • Vanilla extract (optional) – If you are using unflavored custard powder, add 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract or essence for added flavor.

Note: The market offers custard powders in various flavors, including mango, vanilla, and strawberry. For this fruit salad recipe, though, it’s best to stick with either unflavored or vanilla custard powder to complement the natural taste of the fruits.

Best fruits for custard

Chopped fruits – Use fresh seasonal fruits. Some of my favorites are apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, pomegranate seeds, papaya, and halved grapes. Important: To prevent curdling, steer clear of citrus fruits such as oranges, sweet limes, etc., and pineapple (which contains an enzyme called bromelain that can cause milk to curdle). Also, exclude high water-content fruits such as watermelon to prevent your custard from becoming too watery.

Be sure to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below.

Substituting custard powder

You can substitute custard powder with an equivalent amount of cornstarch or instant vanilla pudding mix. Check out this article on how to replace custard powder for more options. 

An overshot shot showing bowls of chopped strawberries, banana, blueberries and two bowls with banana served over custard. A chopping board is on the side with a knife and chopped banana.
Fruits used in Indian fruit custard

Looking to celebrate a special occasion with Indian sweets? Check out this extensive list of 45+ easy dessert recipes from all over India. They are perfect for dinner parties, festivals, or days when you just crave something sweet.

Step-by-step instructions (stovetop)

This simple fruit custard involves the following steps – 

  1. Dissolve custard powder: Start by taking a small amount of the whole milk, kept at room temperature, in a bowl. Add the vanilla-flavored custard powder to this milk, stirring it well to ensure there are no lumps.
  2. Combine with hot milk: Next, pour the rest of the whole milk into a saucepan and gently heat it. Once the milk is hot but not boiling, add the custard milk mixture to the saucepan along with the sugar. Stir continuously to mix everything well and to prevent the custard from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Cook to thicken: Keep the mixture on medium heat and stir continuously. The custard will start to thicken as it cooks. This process may take a few minutes, so patience is key. Ensure that you keep stirring to avoid any lumps forming.
  4. Cool the custard: After the custard has thickened to your liking, remove it from heat. Allow it to cool at room temperature for a couple of hours. This step is essential before refrigeration, as it prevents skin from forming on top of the custard. Remember, the custard will continue to thicken as it cools down.
  5. Refrigerate: Once the custard has cooled to room temperature, cover it and place it in the refrigerator to chill.
  6. Add fruits: Before serving, chop the fruits of your choice into bite-sized pieces, avoiding fruits that can curdle the milk or release water into your custard. Gently mix these fruits into the chilled custard.
  7. Serve chilled: Your fruit custard is now ready to be served. Enjoy it as a delightful end to your meal or as a refreshing snack at any time of the day.

Can we make the custard in the Instant Pot?

Oh yes! In fact, it is my preferred method. While it is faster to boil milk over a stovetop, using an Instant Pot allows you the ability to multitask without needing to monitor the stove constantly. Here’s how to make custard in the Instant Pot:

  1. Dissolve custard powder: Start by taking a small amount of the whole milk, kept at room temperature, in a bowl. Add the vanilla-flavored custard powder to this milk, stirring it well to ensure there are no lumps. Set it aside.
  2. Boil milk: Begin by setting your Instant Pot to the boil mode using the yogurt function. This smart feature allows the milk to boil without supervision. The Instant Pot will beep to alert you once the milk has boiled and then automatically shut down.
  3. Add custard mixture: After boiling, switch the Instant Pot to saute mode (set to low). Add the previously prepared custard and milk mixture into the pot. Stir the mixture well and continuously to prevent sticking and ensure even cooking. Keep stirring until the mixture starts to thicken.
  4. Cooling: Once thickened, carefully remove the steel insert from the Instant Pot and place it on the countertop. Let the custard cool at room temperature for a couple of hours. This step is crucial to avoid the formation of skin on the surface.
  5. Refrigerate: After the custard has cooled down to room temperature, transfer it to another bowl, cover the lid, and refrigerate. Chilling will further thicken the custard, enhancing its texture and flavor.

This method not only simplifies the process but also ensures a perfect custard every time, allowing you to enjoy this delicious dessert without the hassle of constant supervision.

Troubleshooting fruit custard

  • If your custard is too thick: Try adding a few tablespoons of warm milk at a time, stirring well after each addition. Continue this process until you achieve the desired consistency.
  • Dealing with lumpy custard? Use a slotted spoon to fish out any lumps, restoring a smoother texture.
  • To prevent a cream layer during refrigeration: To avoid the formation of a cream layer on top of your custard as it cools, gently place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard before refrigerating.
  • If your custard is too thin: Combine a tablespoon of custard powder with about 2 tablespoons of room-temperature milk to create a smooth paste. Stir this mixture into the hot custard sauce and continue to cook till the desired consistency is achieved.
  • Burnt custard at the bottom? If you notice the custard starting to burn, stop stirring immediately to avoid incorporating the burnt flavor. Carefully transfer the unburnt custard to a new bowl or saucepan, leaving the burnt portion behind.
An overhead shot of fruit custard drizzled with mango pulp. Bowls of strawberries and blueberries are on the side
Fruit salad

Recipe inspiration

My mom used to whip up this eggless custard, brimming with seasonal fruits, as the perfect cool-down treat during summers or for special occasions such as our birthdays. It wasn’t just a dessert; it was a moment of joy, shared laughter, and sweet, sweet relief from the heat.

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4.54 from 13 votes

Indian Fruit Salad (Custard with fruits)

This Indian fruit custard recipe combines seasonal fruits with sweet creamy custard sauce to make this delectable dessert that is perfect for a crowd. Check out the almost hands-free version using an Instant Pot (stovetop recipe included as well).
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Resting Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 6

Equipment

Ingredients
 
 

  • ¼ cup custard powder vanilla flavor
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup chopped fruits of your choice see note

Topping suggestions

  • 1 teaspoon Mango pulp optional
  • 1 scoop vanilla ice-cream

Instructions
 

  • Whisk together custard powder with 4 tablespoons of milk. Mix till there are no lumps remaining. Set it aside.

Stovetop Instructions

  • Pour the rest of the whole milk into a saucepan kept over medium heat.
  • Once the milk is hot but not boiling, add the custard milk mixture to the saucepan along with the sugar. Stir continuously to mix everything well and to prevent the custard from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Keep the mixture on medium heat and stir continuously. The custard will start to thicken as it cooks. This process may take a few minutes, so patience is key. Ensure that you keep stirring to avoid any lumps forming.
  • After the custard has slightly thickened (still free-flowing), remove it from heat. Allow it to cool at room temperature for a couple of hours. [Note: The consistency thickens after it cools down]
  • Once the custard has cooled to room temperature, cover it and place it in the refrigerator to chill.

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Begin by setting your Instant Pot to the boil mode using the yogurt function.
  • Add milk in the steel insert and walk away 🙂 
  • Instant Pot will beep when the milk is boiled and will shut down. 
  • Switch over to the saute mode (low) and add sugar and the custard + milk mixture. Mix well. 
  • After the custard has slightly thickened (still free-flowing).[Note: Don’t forget to stir, the mixture sticks to the bottom quickly]. Switch off the Instant Pot.
  • Carefully remove the steel insert and set it over the countertop.  
  • Let the custard sauce cool down to room temperature and then refrigerate for at least a couple of hours. [Note: The consistency thickens after it cools down]

Serving instructions

  • Before serving, chop the fruits of your choice into bite-sized pieces, avoiding fruits that can curdle the milk or release water into your custard. Gently mix these fruits into the chilled custard. Alternatively, you could put the custard in your serving bowls and then add fruits to it. 
  • Serve it with ice-cream or with a drizzle of sweetened mango pulp (optional)

Notes

  1. Chopped fruits – Use fresh seasonal fruits. Some of my favorites are apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, pomegranate seeds, papaya, and halved grapes.
  2. To prevent curdling, steer clear of citrus fruits such as oranges, sweet limes, etc., and pineapple (which contains an enzyme called bromelain that can cause milk to curdle). Also, exclude high water-content fruits such as watermelon to prevent your custard from becoming too watery.

Tips for making fruit custard

    • Clean equipment: Before you get started, make sure the heavy bottom pan or Instant Pot insert is residue-free and wiped clean to prevent milk from curdling during boiling.
    • Properly mix the custard powder: Do not add custard powder directly to hot milk; this will lead to lumps. Instead, mix it with milk at room temperature until it dissolves completely. A whisk can help achieve a smooth texture.
    • Stir continuously: After combining the custard-milk mixture and sugar with the hot milk, keep stirring. This prevents the custard mix from sticking to the bottom and burning.
    • Allow to cool, then refrigerate: Let the custard cool to room temperature, then pop it in the fridge for a few hours before you add the fruits.
    • Chop the fruits evenly: For the best texture, chop all fruits into uniform, bite-sized pieces.
    • Avoid overcooking: If you overcook the custard, it’ll get too thick. If that happens, no worries — just stir in a bit of warmed milk until you reach the desired consistency.
    • Add fruits just before serving: Add your fruits just before serving to keep them from going brown, especially bananas and apples. If you’re prepping for a party, you can add fruits like strawberries, blueberries, mangoes, pomegranate seeds, and grapes a couple of hours in advance.

Variations 

    • Fruit custard with condensed milk brings a delightful twist to the classic Indian eggless custard recipe. Replace 1/2 cup of milk with the same amount of condensed milk, but remember to reduce the sugar accordingly.
    • For a twist on the traditional custard fruit salad, try custard powder with flavors like mango, vanilla, and strawberry.
    • Leftover custard? Pour it into ice-cube trays or popsicle molds for a delicious treat to enjoy later.
Read the post…For helpful information on ingredient swaps, storage tips, meal prep ideas, and variations!

Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.

Nutrition

Serving: 1small bowlCalories: 142kcalCarbohydrates: 23gProtein: 3gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 55mgPotassium: 161mgSugar: 22gVitamin A: 200IUCalcium: 140mg
Diet: Nut-free, Vegetarian
Course: Dessert
Method: Instant Pot, Stovetop
Keywords: summer
Cuisine: Indian
Did you enjoy this recipe or have a question?Please leave a comment below. Don’t forget to rate!

Storage instructions

Storing fruit custard properly ensures that you can enjoy its creamy, fruity goodness for a little longer. Here’s a friendly guide to keeping your fruit custard delicious in storage:

  1. Cool it down: Before thinking about storage, let your fruit custard cool to room temperature. This helps prevent condensation inside the container, which can make the custard watery.
  2. Choose the right container: Transfer the custard into an airtight container. This keeps it from absorbing any odors from the fridge and also prevents a cream layer from forming on top.
  3. Add fruits later: If possible, store the custard and chopped fruits separately. Fruits can release water, which might affect the custard’s consistency. Mix them together only when you’re ready to serve or, at best, a couple of hours before serving.
  4. Keep it cold: Store your custard in the fridge. It’s best enjoyed chilled.
  5. Use it within 3 days: Fruit custard is ideally enjoyed within 2-3 days. The fresher, the better, especially once you’ve mixed the fruits.
  6. Re-stir before serving: If you notice any separation or liquid on top when you take it out of the fridge, give your custard a gentle stir to bring back its creamy consistency.

By following these simple tips, you can keep your fruit custard tasting great. It’s all about enjoying that sweet, creamy treat at its best!

Serving suggestions

Fruit custard can be served in a variety of delightful ways to suit any occasion or taste preference. Here are some serving suggestions to enhance your fruit custard experience:

  1. Classic bowl serving: Serve chilled fruit custard in individual bowls. For added crunch and flavor, sprinkle your choice of chopped nuts over the custard before serving. You can also add dry fruits like chopped dates, figs, and tutti frutti. The variations are endless.
  2. Fruit custard parfait: Top fruit custard with granola and fruits in a tall glass to make a breakfast parfait or a healthy dessert option.
  3. Got leftover custard? Freeze it (without fruits) in popsicle molds for a refreshing frozen treat, perfect for hot summer days.
  4. Serve with ice cream or sweetened mango puree: For a delicious twist, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a generous drizzle of sweetened mango puree or pulp over your fruit custard.

To summarize, this Indian fruit salad with custard is a hit for any occasion – be it parties, potlucks, or a simple family gathering. And guess what? It’s super easy to make. Just add your favorite seasonal fruits to the mix, and voilà, you’ve got yourself a crowd-pleaser with minimal effort!

More Easy Indian Dessert Recipes

Here are a few of my favorite desserts that you should definitely give a shot –


This post was first published on May 7, 2019, and updated with new text and pictures on February 6, 2024.

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Two glass bowls of fruit salad with bowls of pomegranate seeds, strawberries and blueberries on the side

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3 Comments

  1. Nice and easy to make.
    I have crockpot express. Can I use all your recipes in my crockpot express?

    1. Lajja – I have no experience using crockpot express. You could give it a shot with an easy recipe and see if the timings match.