“ Brand: Happy Shopper / Type: Custard „
COST: 35p for 78g (makes ¾ pint of custard)
NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per sachet, as made up):
- of which sugars: 43.6g
- of which saturates: 5.8g
Whey powder from milk, sugar, potato starch, hydrogenated vegetable fat, lactose, milk protein, dried glucose syrup, flavourings, beta carotene, beetroot red
Suitable for vegetarians
May contain traces of soya and egg
Contains no artificial colours or preservatives
Happy Shopper Instant Custard can be found in most little local grocers who sell the Happy Shopper range of foods. The packet is sachet-style, and coloured red, pink and yellow, with an image of a jug of very creamy-looking custard on the front. The back of the sachet very clearly shows all the nutritional information, dietary/allergy advice, ingredients list, preparation instructions and the Happy Shopper quality claim, together with their address.
Though I like custard, I rarely have it as it's one of those things I can't be bothered to make from scratch - I'm also not a great fan of the tinned variety. I am one of these people who isn't too keen on most fresh fruits, but I can eat them if they are smothered in cream or, where appropriate to the particular fruit, in custard. Feeling (maybe mistakenly!) that custard may be a slightly healthier option than cream, and realising that lately my fruit intake had slid to virtually zero, I took the plunge and bought a couple of sachets of Happy Shopper Instant Custard.
The instructions are simple - you just pour 426ml (3/4 pint) of boiling water onto the powder and whisk vigorously with a fork until smooth and creamy. To make the custard thicker or thinner, you just appropriately reduce or increase the amount of water used.
The first thing I discovered when making up a sachet of Happy Shopper Instant Custard was that it mixed up far too thick for my liking - I found this odd, as I prefer my custard thicker than most other people do, and I wondered why the made-up product wasn't thinner, which I feel would suit most people's preferences. The quantity of custard was strange too - it seemed to me as if it was too much for one serving, yet not enough for two servings.
I wanted to thin the custard out slightly, but had a taste of it first so I could sample it in the state that the manufacturer intended. The first thing that struck me was the overwhelming sweetness, and the consistency was gloopy rather than creamy, but despite those two little deviations from what custard should be, it did taste rather nice. It reminded me of the custard which used to be served in those greasy spoon type cafes which dotted our street corners when I was very much younger than I am now.
To thin the custard down slightly and make it creamier, I added a tablespoonful of evaporated milk. The milk didn't seem to want to mix easily into the custard, so I had to use a bit of force when beating with a fork. The addition of the evaporated milk, once I'd managed to get it thoroughly blended in, did cool the temperature of the custard somewhat, but not down to an undesirable level. I then added a chopped banana, and proceeded to eat the finished result.
The addition of evaporated milk improved the flavour and consistency of the custard a lot, even though I still found it rather gloopy. It coated the banana pieces nicely though, and made a reasonably satisfactory dessert, which in an emergency, I would happily eat again.
Overall, I'd say that Happy Shopper Instant Custard is well worth the pleasantly low cost of 35p, but the amount it makes wouldn't be enough for two people - could be too much for one person though. The addition of evaporated milk (or if you don't fancy that, maybe you could add a little ordinary milk or perhaps a splodge of cream) did improve the custard and made it reasonably edible, but doing that will add to the already very high fat and calorie content. One of the ingredients of this instant custard is potato starch, and I personally feel it's that which gives the made up product the gloopy texture.
It's not especially good, but it's not repulsively bad either, and I'd say it's worth keeping a couple of packets handy for emergencies.
Thanks for reading!