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Pastry cream (crème pâtissière) is an essential base ingredient filling for many French pastries, like Religieuses, Millefeuille, Cygnes, and as a base for fruit tarts. Thick, rich, and creamy, the classic French Pastry Cream is thickened with flour, but to get a light cream, use cornstarch, instead.
Classic Pastry Cream Ingredients
- 2 egg yolks
- 125 g granulated sugar
- 75 g all-purpose flour
- 500 ml whole milk
- 1 tbsp vanilla sugar or 1 vanilla pod
The Method Of Pastry Cream
- Start making the Pastry Cream by warming the milk, In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, over medium heat, with vanilla sugar or vanilla seeds with halved pods, to get an accentuated flavor.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously with sugar, until pale and creamy. Add flour or cornstarch, and whisk well until smooth.
- When the milk is warm, just under the boil, pour the half slowly over the egg mixture, whisking well and continuously, without interruption.
- Add the remaining milk, whisk, then pour the entire mixture back into the pan.
- Over medium heat, cook the custard, whisking continuously, until it starts thickening, about 2-3 minutes, remove from the heat at the first boiling.
- Remove the cream quickly to a clean bowl, scoop out the vanilla’s pod halves [keep it for another use].
- Cover the surface with greaseproof paper or plastic wrap straight away. Refrigerate at least 2 hours, until ready to use.
Pastry Cream (crème pâtissière)Variations
Usually, the Pastry Cream is flavored with vanilla, but some recipes require other flavors, depending on the recipe. As a variation, the Pastry Cream is versatile, and sometimes, it is mixed with other creams to give different textures and flavors.
- Coffee Pastry Cream: Add 1 tbsp of fresh instant ground coffee to the milk and then follow the recipe as directed.
- Chocolate Pastry Cream: Add 3 tsp of good quality cocoa powder to the milk and then follow the recipe as directed. Alternatively, you can use 60 g of dark, milk, or white chocolate chips, or chocolate couverture, cut into small pieces.
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