Pastry cream is a thick custard that can be used as a filling for any number of cakes, tarts or pastries like eclairs, creme puff or danishes. With so many uses of pastry cream , making pastry cream is one of those basic must know for anyone who are into baking. It’s amazing how this simple cream could actually make a big difference to your bake goodies. They can be flavored in variety of ways too. Although Vanilla is the most common one, Caramel or Chocolate great options too. This is a very simple and quick, recipe to make, let’s get started!
- 3/4 cup heavy cream (Do not use non fat or skim, or any non dairy like Almond Milk , Soy Milk etc)
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp granulated white sugar
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1 tsp cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 3 large egg yolks – room temperature
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Caramel Pastry Cream – Add 3 tbsp Dulce DeLeche or Salted Caramel Sauce to the final product. Stir until combined.
- Chocolate Pastry Cream – Add 3 tbsp melted chocolate to the final product. Stir until combined.
- Mocha Pastry Cream – Add 1 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder to the hot milk (in step 1)
Tip: If you want to make all vanilla, chocolate or caramel at the same time, just divide mixture into 3 and add desired flavor for each.
- Warm the Milk: In a saucepan bring the cream/milk just to a boil (just until milk starts to foam up or until the tiniest of bubbles appear on the edge of the pan but do NOT completely boil). Stir from time to time to avoid forming a thin “film” on top.
- Egg Yolk Mixture: Mix sugar and egg yolks together until pale in color. Sift flour and cornstarch over the egg yolk mixture. Manually whisk until thick and smooth.
- Warm Cream + Egg Yolk Mixture: Gradually pour warm cream/milk, whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
- Cook the Custard Mixture: Pour the mixture back into the saucepan you used to warm the milk and cook over medium heat until boiling, whisking constantly (DO NOT leave as it could curdle easily). Keep whisking constantly for 5 – 10 minutes or until the pastry cream becomes thick. The consistency should be thick but not oily. If you reach the stage that the custard becomes oily, then you have over cooked it. Over cooking could cause the oil to separate from the custard. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract or caramel syrup or melted chocolate (depending on the flavor that you are using). The consistency should be smooth and slightly fluid, it should drip from the whisk when you lift it. It should not be too thick. The cream will thicken on its own when it starts to cool.
- Chill: Scrape the pastry cream into a bowl. Cool to room temperature then cover with cling wrap and refrigerate until firm (can be made up to 3 days ahead). Whisk or strain before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.
Note: Lumps in the custard could form if you do not continuously stir it while cooking. If this happens, pass the custard through a strainer to remove any lumps that may have formed.
For Use in Tart
If pastry cream will be used as tart filling, let cool slightly then pour into a pre-baked tart shell. It is important to pour it while it is slightly warm so that it will be easier to spread and you will get a smoother and more leveled filled tart. If using when cold, spread into a pre-baked tart shell and use a spoon or spatula to level the top.
For Use in Eclair of Profiteroles
Here’s how it works:
- Make the base Pastry Cream (any flavor). I have the recipe below. It’s advisable to make it a day before and keep it refrigerated so that it thickens. Or if you do not have that much time, at least chill it for 1 hour in the refrigerator until it thickens.
- Make the Whipped Cream: You can also use store-bought whipped cream. Pour 1/4 cup of whipping cream in a bowl and add 1 tbsp of icing sugar. Whip until thick and fluffy, about 1 – 2 minutes.
- Fold the whipped cream to the chilled pastry cream: I added the measurement in my post, but I strongly recommend that you add it gradually because the consistency of your Pastry Cream could vary with mine, or it could vary every time you make it. You don’t want to add to much cream as it will be some too runny. So gradually add the whipping cream (2 tbsp at a time).
- Chill for another 30 minutes then Whip: Using a hand-mixer, whipped the chilled Pastry Cream for 1-2 minutes. Monitor the consistency as it changes color to pale yellow. You want a smooth shiny texture, and consistency that is thick and doesn’t easily fall of the spoon when you turn the spoon upside down. It’s more like a whipped cream frosting consistency.
That’s it! You now have a light, fluffy and delicious Pastry Cream, just like this one I used in my Eclair.
Enjoy! If you make this, share and tag me in Instagram #SweetNSpicyLiving. I would like to see your creations too.
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