Pink Custard Recipe – 80s School Dinners Recipes

Hands up who’s here for the real genuine 80s school dinners pink custard recipe!
What was it with pink custard? Lusciously gorgeous in colour and texture and comfort factor – and universally adored. Pink custard just made any school dinners pudding a real treat, no? Remember the sponge squares with a thin layer of jam and coconut on top? Or fudge tart squares (produced further to mucho requests from cornflake tart eaters)? Or my husbands personal favourite chocolate concrete? All made slightly-more-perfect with that creamy pouring of pink goo.

Now, I always thought that pink custard was simply yellow custard with some food colouring in. Not So! Recently I have discovered why whenever I make some, it simply never looks or tastes the same as memory tells me it did in the 70’s.

A recent tip-off has alerted me that it is actually a  little more devious… I tried it. It works. It so, SO works.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you… the real School Dinners Pink Custard Recipe.


Pink Custard Recipe

What you Need:

1 pint milk
1 packet pink blancmange mix
(strawberry and raspberry both work, but for me raspberry is where to put your money)
2 or 3 tbs sugar to taste

What You Do:

  • In a heat-proof bowl empty the contents of the blancmange packet.
  • Add the sugar and two or three tbs from the pint of milk and mix to a paste.
  • Warm the remaining milk in a pan  – do not boil.
  • Pour a little of this milk on to the paste and give it a really good mix.
  • Pour this bright pink goo into the warmed milk and then bring to the boil.
  • Keep stirring (it has a tendency to catch and burn if you decide this would be a good time to empty the dishwasher/make a cup of tea).
  • Simmer for about a minute (if the custard is very thick add a little more milk to thin it down – remember you are supposed to be pouring it smoothly, not ladling it out in gloops!).
  • Serve with your school dinners pudding of choice… Nom nom nom…

Coming Next Week – School Dinners Fudge Tart.

pin it for later!

1980s school dinners pink custard recipe

Author: Laura

A 70's child, I’ve been married for a Very Long Time, and appear to have made four children, and collected one large and useless dog along the way. I work, I have four children, I have a dog… ergo, I do not do dusting or ironing. I began LittleStuff back in (gulp) 2004. I like huge mugs of tea. And Coffee. And Cake. And a steaming cone of crispy fresh fluffy chips, smothered in salt and vinegar. #healthyeater When I grow up I am going to be quietly graceful, organised and wear lipstick every day. In the meantime I *may* have a slight butterfly-brain issue.

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  1. Wow this takes me back! I think I’m gonna have to try this for pure nostaligia.

    Did you ever have mint custard? That was another favourite of mine – went so good with chocolate sponge.

    God bless school dinners!! x

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    • I was sitting thinking of custard and remembering the 6o’s pink custard popped into my head asked Cortana about it and it took me here got to get some blancmange and my choice will be cake jam with coconut to compliment the pink goo yummy ?

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    • YES!! One of my absolute school dinner favourite puds

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      • Wow
        Completely forgot about this until I saw the picture and memories of school dinners in a post war prefabricated building dumped behind the school gym came flooding back.
        Not sure how your school’s did it but at ours the server’s were 5th year’s and they dished out the puddings to the other eigh eager dinners. Some how they never seemed to share out the pink heaven evenly ?
        I’m off to give it a try to see if it’s as good as I remember

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        • I make the old school jam and coconut sponge was my favourite at school

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          • Actually hated it at school with its main ingredient blancmange , makes me shiver to think of it of course when you see that wobbly pink stuff for the first time when your little your eyes are big and full of amazement,but then wham it hits you I was violently sick ,and never touched it again .but as a school cook in later years I have made tons of the stuff ,each to there own I prefer a real pouring custard ,none of that thick cold trifle stuff can feel the shivers again ,I am going to make a traybake sponge with hundreds and thousands ,and pink custard for the family after lockdown.

          • no one in their right minds likes cold thick set custard that can be sliced… *shiver*

      • No need to buy blancmange.Use cornflour to make a white sauce. Make as custard,with pint of milk and sugar,. Then add raspberry colour & essence
        I was a school cook 25 years and this is how ‘pink custard’ was made ?

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    • I was and still am a school cook and the peppermint sauce was made from a corn flour sauce,made the same way as custard, with added green colouring and peppermint essence.

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    • Omg yes !! Nobody ever remembers mint custard !! Bring it back .

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    • This takes me back 55 years my favourite custard I didn’t realise it is so easy I am going to try this this concrete slab

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    • Our school used to have jelly, biscuit and a sort of pink custard, although not too runny, it was served cold? Is this the same thing?

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  2. oh yes and the chocolate custard too which is the choccy blancmange
    Thank you for the reminder

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    • you can make choclate custard using a few soons of cocoa or drinking choclate powder, just add to your normal custard paste and pour into your warm milk, and heat ….. nice choclate custard….

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  3. in the seventies does anyone remember a school pudding which was pink fluffy stuff sugared cornflakes on top and some sort of fruit underneath just cant remember which! please if you know the name and the recipe please pass it on many thanks

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    • The fluffy pink stuff was made with jelly which was not quite set then evaporated milk was whisked at a high speed till it was very light and fluffy

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  4. thank you so much for the pink custard recipe. my husband can’t stop talking about it. Does anyone remember the orange steamed pudding with Orange fruit custard?

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    • Pink custard with cherry shortcake! The best!

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  5. Oh so that’s how it’s done. I have tried loads of different recipes but they all seemed too extravagant and rich and never the same. I can’t wait to try this with a steamed chocolate pudding and bring back our school favourites :))))

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    • The pink sauce was made with fresh milk and blancmange but then had dried milk powder added to make it creamy . Chocolate sauce was made the same but with cocoa insTead of blancmange . Worked in school meals for years never heard of a mint sauce not a pudding sauce anyway

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      • Brilliant info, been wondering for years how it was made. Thank you for the info ?

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      • We had Mint custard on chocolate steamed pudding at our school think it was chocolate blancmange with mint essence yum sort of comfort after eights!!

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      • I remember the pale green minty “custard” very well! Was always served with squares of choc sponge!
        My favourite was lemon love cake which was a cross between a shortbread and dry sponge with a layer of lemon curd in the middle!! Yum

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  6. What was the lime green chilled dessert????? Be interested to know and make.

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  7. How do you make mint custard like when I used to have it at school

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    300ml milk,
    20g cornflour,
    1 tbsp caster sugar
    Peppermint extract,
    Green food colouring (optional)
    How to …….
    1. Measure of 300 ml of milk into a jug.
    2. In a small bowl mix together the sugar and corn flour in a small bowl and add several tablespoons of the milk to make a smooth paste.
    3. In a pan place the milk and add in the corn flour and sugar paste. Stir well to combine and slowly bring to the boil stirring all the time.
    4. As the mixture thickens add the mint flavour to taste. If using the food colouring add now and serve with the chocolate pudding of your choice.

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  9. I remember the cornflake fluffy pudding with fruit in. My memory of it was sift sticky cornflakes with a light mallow type layer then a fruit layer – I recall it being like apple sauce. I can’t remember if it had a pastry base. Are there any school dinner ladies out there that remember these glorious meals and how to make them taste so good? Used to love the pastry on the meat pie or chicken pie that used to be cooked in a big silver oven tin and had scored square marks in the pastry for portion control. With today’s climate and families struggling I really think they should dust off the recipe books and bring back proper school dinners to feed children to ensure they get a balanced hot meal each day. It couldn’t have cost that much to produce – nobody had money to throw around back then.

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    • Anyone know what that cake is called which has the pink custard on it in the picture shown? I remember the yummy taste….

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      • I’ve been trying to find the cake to! when I did my teacher training, i noticed that every school makes it the same, but nobody would tell me how to make it! No matter how many times I asked!

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      • It looks like spotted dick to me.

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  10. I used to love pink custard and we had iced sponge cake. I am gluten free now but if I can eat blancmange mix I will be trying. Yum yum :-)

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  11. I remember the lime green dessert too. It was pink blamange underneath and lime jelly smashed up a bit on top in individual glass dishes. The receipe I wnat is for cheese pie anyone know it? It had pastry underneath and then a chessy topping on top baked in oven for a bit as it was all melted and golden. It was the tastiest thing. Oh and cheese whirls/wheels (can’t remember what they were called) they were good too. It was all good really I feel sorry for children today that have to contend with chips and pizza which is more frizby than pizza.

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  12. @JJ_Gumbroski @0TheBestSteph0 I found this website (as promised..) & thought you would both find it EXTREMELY helpful

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  13. What about green minty custard?? LOVED IT!!
    Do you have the recipe?

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  14. Have been looking for this recipe for years!! Even asked a certain famous female home cook agent if she would know & was told No I do not think she would know that recipe. But now I do & enjoy it with my kids now, thank you so much for retrieving & sharing this wonderful school memory laden pudding.

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  15. hi I am a school cook in hull Francis askew this is the recipe for chocolate crunch this recipe serves ten 170g of marg 170g of white sugar 226g White flour plain 11g baking powder 14g of coco powder 2 eggs , cream the marg and sugar together ,and dry ingredients and beaten eggs press into to a tin ,bake in moderate oven until cooked cut while warm sprinkle with sugar sever with custard or pink sauce or chocolate sauce or vanilla sauce Thanks hope you use this we do the children fav Linda dobbs

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    • Thanks Linda, that’s brilliant!

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    • For some reason I always keep remembering chocolate concrete cake having coconut in it, so am I wrong or is there someone who can also remember it as well?

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  16. We had (very rarely) a layer of pastry with an orange layer on top (not marmalade or jelly more like a clearer stiff jam like consistency it may have condensed set orange juice) not much help am I? I’ve never seen the recipe anywhere and I have wanted to try it again since the 70s as used to be my favourite. Lots of sponge and custard usually and chocolate and plain concrete pudding (that used to fly across the table when you put a spoon to it :-D) but this orange pudding was a treat to me.

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    • I remember it as a pink custard ,and coconut sprinkles on top.

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  17. Does anyone have the receipe for the cheese pudding

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  18. hi

    i am trying to find the school dinner recipe for

    CHICKEN FRICASEE with fried bread (not sure if its spelt that way?)

    many thanks


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    • I’ve been looking for this too as it’s my favourite school dinner ever,we used to have it on Friday after swimming lessons in junior school

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  19. We used to get chicken soup and hot dogs for dinner, I can’t find a recipe for the soup anywhere…any ideas?

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    • Does anyone remember a food cried wintercheese salad.

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      • If you mean the winter salad that was had with things like cottage pie, it was a dry coleslaw (eg with shredded white cabbage and carrot etc) and grated cheese…and the magic ingredient that gave it the incredible flavour? Red peppers. They set the cheese off. Couldn’t get enough of it as a kid.

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        • Talking of school dinners, did anyone else have duff? A square stodgy sponge with a dimple on top filled with jam.I think apricot was best. Asked loads of people but they can’t remember it, let alone know the recipe. I couldn’t find it online either

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  20. I just made the chocolate concrete and pink custard and omg it was like stepping back in time to 1985 thank you for the amazing recipes I can now give my children a taste of my childhood ?x

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    • Oh, you’re VERY welcome :)

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  21. I’m gonna make this as soon as I can get the ingredients, gonna be sick. Thanks for the recipe.

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  22. This reminds me of junior school so much with the old school sponge cake. Can the custard be made in advance or is it best made just before serving x

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    • Making in advance is fine, but it will set as it cools. If I make it for a big family Sunday lunch I make it just before I serve dinner – that way it’s still warm and gloopy for pudding, but not too hot. Later in the afternoon it’s set firm – still tasty, but really not custard any more!

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  23. Omg i loved school dinners
    used to devour everything ..still do lol for me 80s were tge best school year’s for dinners yum yum now poor things get apple for dessert
    Thank you for taking time out n showing us ….whats blacmange and do we get it here in uk ?xx

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  24. I’ve been trying to locate the recipe for the mint custard served at school back in the 70’s. Is anyone happy to share this with me?

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    • You’re not the first to ask Jules – I’ll try and track it down for you!

      Post a Reply
    • Jules – MINT CUSTARD

      300mls milk
      20grms cornflour
      2 tbsp caster sugar
      peppermint extract
      green food colouring (optional)

      1. Measure 300mls milk into a jug.
      2. In a small bowl mix together the sugar and cornflour and several tablespoons of the milk to make a smooth paste.
      3. Place the milk in a pan and add the cornflour and sugar paste. Stir well to combine and slowly bring to the boil stirring all the time.
      4. As the mixture thickens add the peppermint extract to taste. If using add the food colouring.

      Post a Reply
  25. I haven’t seen any mention of Gypsy Tart. I went to school in Kent and I believe it was a dessert from that region. It was everyone’s favourite! I think it was a sort of butterscotch in a pastry shell.

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  26. How do you make the sponge with the layer of jam and coconut on top please

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  27. I have been looking for years for the recipe for a pouring sauce we had with a lemon pie in the sixties it was delicious it tasted kind of like a mix between a condensed and evaporated milk really sweet and if remember a little foamy …… long shot but does anybody know how to make it and what it was called

    Post a Reply


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