Tittsworth's Traditional Boiled Custard

Michael Grim

My mother, Lillie Ernestine Tittsworth Grimm, was born in Scott County, Virginia, in a house built by the railroad on the North Fork of the Holston River.  She lived there nearly 15 years with her family before moving to a 100-acre farm in West Carters Valley, Tennessee. 

When Mom and her family would celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas, “Tittsworth’s Boiled Custard” would always be served, along with a favorite cake.  The first Thanksgiving after our mom died, I told my sister she would have to carry on the tradition.  It took her a little practice, but the custard tasted just like Mom’s.

In 1949, my mom won an award in Winchester, Virginia, for making the custard before a panel of judges.  She would have been about 16 years old.

14 cups whole milk
28 tablespoons sugar
14 eggs
1 ½ tablespoons vanilla

Mix milk, eggs, and sugar in a heavy saucepan.  Place the pan over water (a double boiler).  Heat the mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon over medium to medium high heat until mixture becomes velvety and coats the back of a metal spoon (30 to 45 minutes).  Strain into a gallon pitcher.  Add vanilla.  Stir well.  Pour into a clean milk jug and refrigerate.  Custard will thicken as it cools.