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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

  1. 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.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously with sugar, until pale and creamy. Add flour or cornstarch, and whisk well until smooth.
  3. When the milk is warm, just under the boil, pour the half slowly over the egg mixture, whisking well and continuously, without interruption.
  1. Add the remaining milk, whisk, then pour the entire mixture back into the pan.
  2. Over medium heat, cook the custard, whisking continuously, until it starts thickening, about 2-3 minutes, remove from the heat at the first boiling.
  3. Remove the cream quickly to a clean bowl, scoop out the vanilla’s pod halves [keep it for another use].
  4. 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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