Have a little delicious twist in your regular Custard Pastry Cream and make this Coconut Custard Pastry Cream instead. The process is the same with a slight change in one of the major ingredients. For this coconut version, we are using coconut cream instead of regular whipped cream. It is thick, creamy and super delicious. I hope you will give it a try.
We are still in Spring, but my mind is already thinking of Summer baking. Muffins, breads, cakes, ice cream, pie and tarts are among my favorite to make during Summer.You might be thinking, so where does this Coconut Pastry Cream, fit in my plan? The answer, it fits in a lot of my Summer baking pies that have something to do with tart, cake, eclair and cream puff. I even use this for pancakes.
What is Pastry Cream?
Custard Cream of Pastry Cream is a custard base filing used for Cream Puff, Eclairs or Tarts. It is made by mixing and cooking the Cream, Egg, Sugar, Flour, Salt and Cornstarch until it turns into a thick smooth consistency. It can be made plain, like the classic Vanilla Pastry Cream, or you can transform it into a decadent Chocolate flavor or Caramel flavor.
Coconut Cream vs. Coconut Milk
Let’s talk about coconut cream and milk, what is the difference. First, there is drinking coconut milk, and cooking coconut milk or cream. For this recipe, we are using coconut cream for a thicker and creamier texture and more coconut flavor.
Coconut cream usually comes in can, I haven’t seen anything sold in cartons or glass jar so far. They have less water inside, about 1/8 – 1/4 of the can and the rest is coconut cream. The thick solid white thing that you see when you open the can. You get a lot more cream than water so you end up with a thicker consistency when used in sweet or savory dishes. You can buy it at most Asian stores, or in grocery in Asian or international section.
Coconut milk on the other can be use for drinking or for cooking. The drinking coconut milk usually comes in carton containers. You can use it for baking, for smoothie, oatmeal and for coffee, tea or just to drink it on its own. Then there’s cooking coconut milk which is similar to coconut cream, but it contains more water than coconut solid. Probably only 1/3 of the can is coconut cream once you scoop it out. This will work too for this recipe, but you may need more because you only get small amount of coconut solid. I would estimate about 2 cans as oppose to 1 can using coconut cream. In terms of taste, they taste the same. You can also buy them in the same section as coconut cream. Most of the time, canned coconut milk is easier to find than coconut cream. So if you cannot find coconut cream, you can substitute it with coconut milk but make sure to scoop out only the coconut solid, do not include the water. You can easily do this if you leave the can in the refrigerator overnight, or 1-2 hrs in the freezer. When you open it, the coconut cream will be solid which makes it easier to scoop out.
How to Use Coconut Custard Pastry Cream
Use it the same way you use regular custard pastry cream. Use it for tarts, cream puff, eclair, cakes, pancakes, cupcakes or anything you can smother it on. It is absolutely delicious, crazy delicious.
Ingredients for Coconut Custard Pastry Cream
- Coconut Cream: This is the base liquid ingredient that will make the Pastry Cream creamy, so make sure to use canned coconut cream or if using coconut milk scoop out only the coconut solid. No non-dairy or skim milk please, this is not the right recipe for you to use Almond milk or drinking coconut milk.
- Granulated Sugar: – to give slight sweetness to the Pastry Cream. We are only using a small amount because Pastry Cream is not a sweet filling.
- Flour & Cornstarch: This will thicken the Pastry Cream, combination of both is necessary to get a nice smooth and thick filling. Do NOT substitute one with the other.
- Egg Yolk – Is what make this into a Custard filling. Without the egg yolk, it is not a Custard filling. Do NOT substitute by using an entire egg as it will not give a smooth texture as when you use pure egg yolk.
- Vanilla Extract – For flavoring. Can be substituted with Almond Extract. If you want to make a different flavor such as Chocolate Pastry Cream or Caramel Pastry Cream, check the RECIPE HERE
- Salt – Adds taste
How to Make Coconut Custard Pastry Cream
As I mentioned above, the process is the same as making regular Custard Pastry Cream. I have here a short video to show that. The only difference is that we are using coconut cream instead of whipped cream.
To make the pastry cream, you only need the egg yolk. Set aside the egg white for use in other recipes.
First, pour the coconut milk in the pan and simmer in a VERY low heat. You do not want it boiling, just warm. Stir from time to time to avoid forming a film on top. You can also cover the pan slightly so the top doesn’t get film or skin forming.
Next mix the sugar and egg yolk in a bowl until it is light and runny, and pale yellow in color. Mix until so don’t see as much sugar granules. I like using caster sugar because it has a finer texture and it dissolves easily. If you do not have caster sugar and you have a mini (or big) food processor, you can make your own by simply processing them until it becomes fine texture. If you do not food processor, you can use granulated sugar. Just mix longer so the sugar dissolves better. Once that step is done, sift the all-purpose flour, cornstarch and salt to the mixture and continue mixing.
Then gradually pour the warm coconut milk onto the egg yolk mixture. Do NOT pour the cream one time, you do not want to end up with a scrambled egg. Stir continuously while you pour the warm cream, then return the mixture in the pan and cook in medium heat while stirring continuously. it is very important that you keep stirring to avoid the lumps from forming. If you end up having lumps, simply pass the mixture in a strainer or mesh to remove the lumps. Add vanilla extract for flavoring. You will need about 10 – 20 minutes to get to a thick consistency, this could of course depend on the level of the heat. But just make sure you do not use full blast high heat as that could make the mixture curdle. You have to be patient, you cannot rush the process.
Transfer the mixture in a container with lid. Cover the top with the lid slightly open to allow it to cool down without making the top dry. Once cooled down, keep refrigerated at least 4 hrs, overnight recommended. Chilling is a MUST to allow the consistency to thicken. This is most important if you are using it as filling for tarts, cream puff, eclair, cakes and cupcakes.
- 3/4 cup canned Coconut Cream
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp granulated White Sugar
- 2 tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Cornstarch
- pinch of Salt
- 3 large Egg Yolks
- 1/2 teaspoon pure Vanilla Extract
If Making For Eclair or Profiteroles Filling:
- 1/4 cup Whipping Cream (Liquid whipping cream in a carton or you can use store-bough ready to use whipped cream in a tub or can)
- 1 tablespoon Icing Sugar
- In a saucepan bring the cream just to a boil (just until cream starts to foam up or until the tiniest of bubbles appear on the edge of the pan but do NOT completely boil). You are aiming for warm cream.
- In a separate bowl, mix sugar and egg yolks together until pale in color. Keep mixing until the sugar are mostly dissolved. If you are using caster sugar, that will dissolve faster. Sift flour, salt and cornstarch over the egg yolk mixture. Manually whisk until thick and smooth.
- Gradually pour warm coconut cream, whisking constantly to prevent curdling. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan you used to warm the coconut cream and cook over low heat while whisking constantly (DO NOT leave as it could curdle easily). Keep whisking constantly for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry cream becomes thick but NOT lumpy. Normally, it starts to thicken at 5 minutes time, when this happens, continue stirring it. You still want it smooth and a little bit runny. It will get thicker as it cools. You have over cooked it if you noticed it lifting away from the side or pushing away from the bottom of the pan when you scrape it. If necessary pour through a strainer to get rid of the lumps.
- Transfer in container with a lid. Cover with the lid slightly open to allow the steam to come out. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until firm, about 4 hrs, overnight recommended. This can be made up to 3 days ahead. Always keep refrigerated. Whisk or stir before using to get rid of any lumps that may have formed.
How To Make a Fluffy and Light Eclair and Profiteroles Filling
So the secret… Whipping Cream! Yes, a simple addition of whipping cream can make a huge difference in the consistency and texture of pastry cream. When I was starting to learn how to bake and I was new to about almost everything about baking, Pastry cream is one thing that really captured my interest. I am a huge fan of Cream Puff (Profiteroles) and I drool over the smooth and light custard filling of this pastry. They are absolutely delicious, smooth, creamy and light. So when I tried to re-create it at home, I made a Custard Pastry Cream (this very same recipe) and used it as a filling. However smooth it was, I was disappointed because I was imagining something like a store-bought custard filling texture, and it was not like that. That is when I started experimenting on it to make it light and fluffy, and the secret and magic ingredient that was able to transfer this Pastry Cream to a light and fluffy texture is the Whipping Cream. Here’s how you do it.
- Make the base Coconut Pastry Cream or regular pastry cream
- Make the Whipped Cream (or you can use store-bought ready to use whipped cream in a tub or can)
- Fold the whipped cream into the chilled Pastry Cream
- Chill for 30 minutes then whip until light and fluffy
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 or Profiteroles
- 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 is smooth like this photo.
Enjoy! If you make this, share and tag me in Instagram #SweetNSpicyLiving. I would like to see your creations too.
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