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Pastry cream (Crème pâtissière) recipe

Pastry cream (Crème pâtissière) recipe


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Crème pâtissière, or pastry cream, is a thick custard that can be used as a filling for sweet tarts. Chill it a bit before using.


Cumbria, England, UK

24 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 300ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons cornflour

MethodPrep:25min ›Cook:25min ›Extra time:30min cooling › Ready in:1hr20min

  1. Heat the milk with the vanilla pod in a heavy-based saucepan over medium heat until just starting to simmer. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, mix together the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour to a smooth paste in a mixing bowl or jug.
  3. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk. (You can scrape the seeds into the milk for a stronger vanilla flavour if you like.) Pour the warm milk onto the egg mixture, stirring.
  4. Pour back into the pan and cook gently over a low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until thick enough to coat the back of the spoon in a thin layer. Do not allow the custard to boil, and remove from the heat as soon as it has thickened. Allow to cool, then chill, covered, before using.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(2)

Reviews in English (2)

can i use vanilla powder?-25 Dec 2014

I made this with full light cream and vanilla extract and it is thick, rich and yummy. Thanks for sharing.-10 Jan 2015


Our Finest Crème Pâtissière / Vanilla Pastry Cream Recipe

Rich, thick and creamy, this pastry custard works well in all kinds of tarts, puds and puffs!

Klik hier voor de Nederlandse versie
This recipe is our adaptation of the one found in the wonderful book ‘advanced bread and pastry’ by Michel Suas. The method is very similar to a lot of other recipes for crème pâtissière, but there are a few subtle differences that make this our favorite. First of all the ratio between the ingredients seems to be just right. The adding of a bit of sugar to the milk prevents it from boiling over and last but not least the adding of the butter at the end gives it a silky smooth finish.

We use this recipe for all ‘creme pat’ requiring projects. Like the cranberry rondo’s for example, or as filling for Danish pastry and choux buns /cream puffs. And of course we love to use it in the Dutch version of the vanilla slice, our ‘tompoezen’.

Ingredients for the Crème Pâtissière

quarter piece vanilla pod

50 g egg yolk (about 3 egg yolks)


Making the Crème Pâtissière
In a heavy bottomed saucepan pour the milk and add the 10 g of sugar. Cut a quarter piece from a vanilla pod, slice it open lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add both seeds and the piece of pod to the milk. Bring this to a gentle boil. To infuse the vanilla further we now turn off the heat and leave the milk to soak up more vanilla flavor for about 15 minutes.

In a bowl combine the cornstarch, 50 g sugar and the egg yolk until well blended. Now add 1/3 of the hot milk to the egg mixture while stirring. Add the mixture to the milk in the saucepan and stir again. Now make sure you have a whisk at hand. Bring the milk mixture to a boil while slowly whisking all the time. As you feel it thickening you need to whisk with a bit more enthusiasm to avoid lumps.

Keep whisking as you boil the mixture for one minute (to make sure the cornstarch is cooked to prevent a ‘flour’ taste). Take from the heat, add the butter and beat it in until smooth.

Important tip!: We now first place the saucepan on a cool surface and leave it to stand for a minute. If you scrape out the pan right away chances are the creme on the bottom of the pan will stick and/or curdle because the pan is still very hot. This will affect the consistency and you will not end up with the silky smooth texture you are aiming for!

After the pan has cooled for a minute you can now safely transfer the creme to a bowl. To avoid skin forming, cover the creme with clingfilm, making sure the clingfilm touches the surface of the creme. Alternatively you can dust the surface with plenty of icing sugar. Leave to cool. If needed you can cool the creme quickly by sitting the bowl in another larger bowl of ice water. When cooled, refrigerate until needed.


Recipe Summary

  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk

Whisk together sugar, egg yolks, and vanilla in a medium bowl until mixture is pale yellow and &ldquomakes ribbons,&rdquo 3 to 4 minutes. Add flour whisk until smooth.

Bring milk to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium, about 3 minutes. Gradually add milk to egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium, whisking constantly, about 3 minutes. Boil mixture, whisking constantly, 1 minute. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl press plastic wrap directly onto surface. Let cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Mixture can be chilled, covered, for up to 3 days.


Creme Patissiere

How many times in your life do you think you’ve actually had creme patissiere? If your answer is none, like mine was a few years ago, and if you’re a dessert freak, like I’ve been my whole life, then you may be wrong. Like I was.

Creme patissiere is such a basic and necessary component in the pastry world that you may not even know it’s been inside many of the desserts you eat on a regular basis. If you’ve ever had a cream puff, éclair, fruit tart, Boston cream pie, Napoleon or Danish pastry, then you most likely had a part of this pure joy called crème patissiere. If you haven’t tried any of them, then something is seriously wrong.

Creme patissiere – or in simple English, pastry cream – is a thick, creamy custard made of simple ingredients and usually flavored with vanilla. It is the base of many desserts, so once you have the custard ready, you have millions of options. You can add butter for creaminess, whipped cream for lightness, cream cheese, fruit puree, or almond cream, or any other flavoring you want such as chocolate, coffee, lemon, etc.

With its creamy texture, this custard is perfect as a filling for pastries. It’s also delicious for fruit or berry-based trifle desserts. In that case, though, I like to lighten it up with some soft whipped cream.

The process: Start with making the egg mixture. Whisk the eggs and sugar well until it’s creamy, thick, and pale, then whisk in the flour and cornstarch.

Heat the milk and vanilla together, bringing it just a boil. Once it boils, remove from the heat and discard the vanilla pod if using. Immediately pour the hot milk into the egg mixture it’s important to do this slowly and in a steady stream, while simultaneously whisking the egg mixture. It’s not as complicated as it may sound, so don’t worry. If you find it hard, pour ½ of the milk, whisk until well combined, then repeat with the other ½.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and heat again gently on low-medium heat. From this point on, don’t stop whisking or else it may curdle. It will become thick quite fast and will start to boil. Once thick and boiling, keep whisking for about 30 seconds more before removing from the heat. Your custard is now done. Yay!


How to use and store vegan crème pâtissière

When you’re ready to use it, transfer it to a bowl and stir it vigorously with a stiff spatula or whisk until smooth. It will be quite jelly-like so pressing it into the side of the bowl helps to break it up initially. You can also do this with an electric mixer or stand mixer with the paddle attachment.

This vegan crème pâtissière will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days (always with cling wrap directly on the surface). And it can’t be frozen because it would cause it to weep and split. So I guess you’ll just have to eat any leftovers. Ah, the sacrifice.

I know this was an extra long post with a lot more mumbo jumbo than usual, but i hope it was helpful to those of you who read it! I always find this kind of stuff interesting so maybe some of you do too. Either way I’m glad you’re here! And whether you read it or not, I hope you like the recipe!

If you make this recipe please let me know in the comments! I would love to hear from you!


Flavour Variations

One of my favourite versions of this custard is the coconut one I did for this Raffaello Cake by using canned (liquid) coconut milk instead of regular milk.

You’ll be eating that straight up with a spoon for SURE.

You can experiment with other milk alternatives as well, though I suspect they won’t have as much of a flavour impact as the coconut.

You can also infuse the milk with various flavours during step #1. Do this by adding tea bags or leaves to the milk, or herbs like lavender and thyme to the milk.

You can strain them out before tempering the hot milk into the eggs, or at the very end when you’re straining the custard.

I would recommend straining them out after step #1 though for ease as the custard will be thick and you’ll need to press it through the strainer.

Instant coffee or espresso powder would be a delicious addition too, or cocoa powder for a chocolate version!

You can also add liqueur to it — whisk it in right at the end (or before the final boil if you want to burn some of the alcohol off).

If you’ve never tried making your own pastry cream, I hope you give it a go. It’s a simple and delicious way to elevate your desserts to another level.

The flavour variations and uses are seemingly endless. Be sure to let me know in the comments if you try it!


What is Crème Anglaise?

Crème anglaise is the French term for what the non-French would call a thin pouring custard, typically served alongside desserts and puddings common in British cooking (hence the name).

A crème anglaise uses the same ingredients as that for a crème pâtissiere, except for the addition of a stabilising agent like cornflour (cornstarch) or flour.

Hence, making crème anglaise requires a bit more technical skill, especially since the custard is at risk of splitting or curdling if it becomes too hot.


Recipe Summary

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and sugar together in a small bowl. Add flour, and mix until smooth and free of lumps.

Thin egg-yolk mixture with approximately 1/4 cup of warm milk. When remaining milk begins to boil, add it to egg-yolk mixture, and stir well. Return to saucepan, and place over high heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until pastry cream thickens and boils, about 1 minute. (Turning the pan as you whisk helps to easily reach all areas of pan.)

Reduce heat to medium, and cook, whisking constantly, until cream becomes shiny and easier to stir, about 2 minutes more. Pour into a bowl, and stir in vanilla. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming, and allow to cool.


Crème Pâtissière – French Pastry Cream

As a pastry student, crème pâtissière or pastry cream is one of the most important elements that you learn. It is the base of so many different recipes! You’ll need it for a lot of tarts, cream fillings for eclairs, crème mousseline, for fraisiers, etc etc! It is so versatile and probably one of the most important basic recipes to master.

How to make pastry cream

Some recipes use whole eggs, while others use egg yolks to which sugar, milk and poudre à crème are added.

To start off, whip the egg yolks with half of the sugar until they lighten in color. Add the poudre à crème and whisk again. If you can’t find poudre à crème, you can easily replace it with flour or corn starch.

Bring the milk to a simmer with the other half of the sugar along with the vanilla grains (or vanilla extract). You’ll then need to slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture, mixing continuously. Transfer it back to the sauce pan and cooked, while whisking nonstop. The cream will continue to thicken. Stir and continue to cook for about two minutes before taking off the heat to all sterilize the cream.

Transfer immediately to a fine mesh strainer and sieve into a container, prior to putting it in the fridge. Make sure that the plastic wrap is in contact with pastry cream so it does not create a crust.

What is exactly poudre à crème

Poudre à crème is a mixture of starch and vanilla, which is used to thicken and flavor many creams found throughout French pastries. It’s easily replaced by corn or potato starch, or flour. But in this case, you’ll need to cook it a bit longer to make sure you don’t have a flour after taste. Flour tends to make a thicker pastry cream than starch, but it would work in a pickle.

How to flavor pastry cream?

The most common flavor is vanilla. It is the base for crème mousseline, crème dipolmate, crème chiboust etc etc. Of course if I am going for a good vanilla pastry cream, using vanilla beans is worth the hassle and the couple extra euros. Vanilla extract is fine, when making cupcakes, etc, but when it comes to pastry cream, the real deal is better. Split the vanilla bean, scrape the grains and add them to the milk. I also take the split vanilla bean and add it to the milk as well. As the milk heats up, the flavors from the bean will infuse into the milk.

If you want to make chocolate pastry cream, melt the chocolate (about 100g) in the milk and then continue the recipe as normal. You can then take that cream and fill choux or éclairs and you’ll have your guests drooling for me.

Coffee, praline, mint, pistachio, the options are endless! The process remains the same, add the aroma that you’re using to the milk and let it infuse, then proceed as normal.

To infused your pastry cream with fruit, replace the milk with equal parts of fruit purée. The rest of the recipe remains the same.

What can I use pastry cream for?

Oh, boy. Everything! Doughnuts using my brioche dough recipe filled with crème pâtissère is one of my favorite desserts!

As an integral part of French pastries and can be used to fill tarts with fresh fruit, éclairs, choux, flans. It is also the base of many creams that create those iconic french cakes, such as fraisiers, charlottes etc.

  • Pastry cream with softened butter – crème mousseline
  • Pastry cream with gelatin mixed with whipped cream – Crème diplomate
  • Pastry cream mixed with Italian meringue – crème chiboust

How long does it keep?

Pastry cream does not keep very long unfortunately, so I generally make it the day I need it. As it is heavy on the dairy, you should not keep it in the fridge for longer than 48 hours.


Chocolate Creme Patissiere (Chocolate Pastry Cream)

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An easy and delicious recipe for Chocolate Creme Patissiere (Chocolate Pastry Cream) – a rich, creamy custard with deep chocolate flavor, that can be used in many types of dessert. This recipe is gluten free and dairy free friendly.

Learning how to make pastry cream is a basic skill that any type of baking requires because Pastry Cream is the basis for many desserts. I’ve talked about all of that and covered the basic tips and the recipe for Vanilla Creme Patissiere (Vanilla Pastry Cream) in this post right here. Today I’m sharing the recipe for Chocolate Creme Patissiere (Chocolate Pastry Cream) , perfect for chocolate pudding, eclairs, profiteroles, and other types of pastry.

I have used both cocoa powder as well as bittersweet chocolate to make to make this chocolate pastry cream. The cocoa powder adds a deep chocolate flavor, while bittersweet chocolate enhances that flavor. The cocoa butter in bittersweet chocolate makes the chocolate creme patissiere richer. So the combination of the two types of chocolate ensures that your chocolate pastry cream has great depth of chocolate flavor as well as creamy richness.

Because of the bittersweet chocolate in the pastry cream, this recipe yields a slightly thicker chocolate pastry cream than its vanilla counterpart which I previously shared. That’s due to the cocoa butter in it, which is a solid at room temperature. I also add extra milk (compared to the classic, vanilla pastry cream) to keep the custard creamy and smooth.

I also made something quite similar to chocolate creme patissiere in this no bake chocolate and raspberry pie that I shared before. The filling for that pie is a chocolate pudding which is basically a chocolate creme pat, BUT richer (with more egg yolks and butter), and made with more chocolate and no cocoa powder.

You can use either of these two recipes for chocolate pudding. The chocolate creme patissiere that I’m sharing here is thicker and therefore can be piped on or used to fill any type of pastry. It’s perfect for trifles, chocolate cream puffs (profiteroles filled with chocolate pastry cream), eclairs, and even no bake pies.

And with a few additional ingredients, you can transform your chocolate creme pat into other delicious flavors as well. This chocolate pastry cream recipe is the base of mocha pastry cream, bourbon/rum chocolate pastry cream, cinnamon chocolate pastry cream, and jaffa pastry cream (chocolate orange pastry ream). All of these variations are included in the recipe below.

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