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The classic recipe for pastry cream. If you wish, substitute 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract for the vanilla bean, adding it after the pastry cream is removed from heat.
288 people made this
- 500ml milk
- 100g caster sugar, divided
- 1 vanilla bean, halved lengthways
- 6 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons plain flour
- 60g unsalted butter
- 1 pinch salt
MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:15min ›Ready in:25min
- Place the milk, half the sugar and the vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Combine the egg yolks and the remaining sugar in a bowl and whisk until light in colour. Add in the flour and the salt, mix to combine.
- When the milk just begins to boil, remove from heat and remove vanilla bean. Very slowly dribble the hot milk into the yolk mixture, stirring all the time. When about half of the milk has been added, place all of the yolk mixture into the saucepan over medium heat. Using a spatula or a whisk, mix the pastry cream as it heats, making sure to reach all of the corners of the pan when you stir. Bring the mixture to the boil. Let boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. The mixture will be thick.
- Remove from heat and add the butter. Strain if you wish for a smoother cream. Place into a bowl and cover directly with cling film to stop a skin from forming on the cream. Chill and use within a few days.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(199)
Reviews in English (156)
fantastic recipe-26 Feb 2014
First time I have attempted a Creme Patissiere and it turned out great.-28 Jul 2014
Best recipe I've tried so far as the taste of the custard. Lovely and smooth. I made Manchester tarts so would have liked the custard to have liked it to set. Also any advice to stop the custard forming a skin??-10 Feb 2017
Cheryl sent over some eclairs this weekend. I tried not to eat mine, but I didn't make it at least it was worth it. Anyway, it got me to thinking about this recipe, which you can use in eclairs, or profiteroles, or fruit tarts - but fruit tarts are another story. This will keep for 3 to 4 days refrigerated. It may be frozen. Is that the life? French pastry cream in the freezer.
6 egg yolks
A heavy-bottomed 2-1/2 quart non-reactive saucepan (Because you don't want to scorch the cream in the bottom of the pan, a heavy saucier is good to use because then you don't have a right angle to worry about. I usually use my All Clad stainless 3 quart saucier here, but I just got a Bourgeat copper saucier, and I will try that the next time I make this.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk (I don't have to tell you whole milk, do I? It's Julia for heaven's sake.)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (the good stuff - I use Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract by Nielsen-Massey, which I keep in the refrigerator) and 1 or 2 tablespoons Amaretto or Frangelico*
Place the egg yolks in the saucepan, and gradually whisk in the sugar. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick, pale yellow, and forms a ribbon. Whisk in the flour, then whisk in the hot milk in a thin stream. Stir slowly and continuously over moderately high heat with a whisk until the mixture thickens. If it turns lumpy (this is scary), beat vigorously to smooth it out. Lower the heat, and continue stirring for several minutes to cook the flour and thicken the cream. Keep stirring over low heat until the cream has thickened.
Remove from heat beat in the butter and the Amaretto or Frangelico. Put into a clean bowl. Film the top of the cream with a 1/2 tablespoon of Amaretto or Frangelico, whichever you are using, to prevent crusting. Chill.
*The original recipe calls for rum, and it certainly can be used here in addition to anything else you would like to flavor this with. I just usually use Amaretto or Frangelico because almond and hazelnut are flavors I favor.
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!
The summer bake: cherry and custard cake
Cherry and custard cake: like a summer party in your mouth. Elena Heatherwick for the Guardian Photograph: Elena Heatherwick/Guardian
Between the pops of cherry and the creamy nuggets of custard, there’s never a boring mouthful with this cake. You can always substitute the cherries with other fruit if you wish: blackberries would be great, as would raspberries or blueberries.
For the cherries
45g soft brown sugar
400g cherries, stoned and halved
1 tbsp butter, plus extra for greasing
For the cake
150g soft brown sugar
150g butter, at room temperature
150g plain flour
4 tbsp ground almonds
1½ tsp baking powder
350g crème pâtissière
1 Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line and grease a 21cm cake tin with butter.
2 For the cherries, put the sugar and 1 tbsp of water in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat and cook for a moment until it begins to bubble and the sugar has dissolved. Stir in the cherries and butter and cook for a few minutes until the fruit begins to soften, then take off the heat.
3 For the cake, cream together the sugar and butter until pale and light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then fold in the flour, almonds and baking powder.
4 Pour a third of the batter into the tin, spread it out with a wet table knife, then dollop over teaspoonfuls of the crème pâtissière and spoon the cherries on top, leaving behind the juices (use for a cocktail!). Spoon the remaining batter over the top, spread again with a wet table or palette knife and put in the oven for 60-70 minutes. Cover it with a little baking paper after 50 minutes or so if it’s turning a little too brown. A skewer put in the centre should emerge clean if it’s done. Leave to cool in the tin before serving.
Creme patissiere, creme pat, or pastry cream is a rich and creamy king of custards. It’s thicker than creme Anglaise, which is a pouring consistency custard. It’s simple to make and has many uses. We love to whip up a batch and fill choux pastry for eclairs, or profiteroles.
Creme patissiere is one of those recipes that you need to have in your repertoire as it’s very versatile.
Easy to Make
It will take you about fifteen minutes to make this delicious custard. First off you whisk egg yolks, caster sugar and cornflour (cornstarch) together making sure that the cornflour is completely incorporated otherwise you’ll end up with lumpy custard and we don’t want that!
Next up you heat the milk, cream and vanilla until it just comes to the boil. Using a whisk you pour the hot milk mixture over the egg mixture and whisk like crazy to avoid any lumps.
be sure to mix the eggs, cornflour and caster sugar well to help prevent lumps
Now pour the mixture back into a saucepan over low heat and whisk continuously until the custard thickens. Once it has thickened you continue to beat for a few minutes to ensure that the cornflour (cornstarch) has cooked out.
That’s it, now you cover it with cling film onto the surface to stop a skin forming and cool, then chill in the refrigerator. Job done!
Creme Patissiere Variations
Creme patissiere can be used to make other delicious creme’s such as:
- Creme Diplomat – is creme patissiere mixed with Chantilly cream and gelatine
- Creme Bavarois – is a dessert on its own like panna cotta, but made with creme patissiere
- Creme Legere – is creme patissiere mixed with freshly whipped cream
begin by slowly adding the hot milk mixture whilst constantly stirring
Suggestions for flavouring creme patissiere are:
- Cointreau or Grand Marnier liqueur and finely zested orange peel
- Coffee powder
- Chocolate or cocoa powder
- Pureed fruits such as strawberries or raspberries
return the combined egg and milk mixtures to the saucepan and cook stirring until thickened
Creme patissiere will keep for 5 days refrigerated. Its best kept in an airtight container to stop any food odours tainting the flavour.
Unfortunately, the custard does not freeze well. The starch in the cornflour (cornstarch) will break down during the freezing and the custard will separate when thawed.
once the custard is cooked stain to remove any lumps
Although it’s easy to make there are a couple of watchpoints to look out for:
– make sure that your egg yolk, caster sugar and cornflour (cornstarch) are whisked together till smooth as any lumps will result in a lumpy custard
– when adding the milk mixture to the egg mixture pour it in slowly and whisk like crazy
– don’t use an aluminium saucepan or your custard will have a grey colour to it
once the creme patissiere has been strained add the butter and mix until combined
Creme Patissiere Uses
Creme patissiere can be used to fill eclairs, profiteroles, trifles, fruit tarts, sandwiching cakes together, served simply with fresh berries or straight out of the fridge at midnight. Your call!
press cling wrap so it is touching the creme patissiere ( this prevents a skin forming on the creme patissiere
One of our favourite desserts is this mille feuille filled with strawberries and raspberries that looks very impressive and time consuming, but in fact is easy to make using store bought frozen pastry sheets.
- 250ml of whole milk
- 1 vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 50g of caster sugar
- 3 egg yolks
- 10g of plain flour
- 10g of cornflour
For a silky smooth finish, whisk the crème patissière before using. You can also fold whipped cream/crème Chantilly through your crème pâtissière to make a crème Diplomat – perfect if you want a lighter pastry cream for fillings and cakes.
Crème pâtissière is the vital component of a host of desserts and sweet snacks. To make a sweet soufflé, for example, you will first have to master the art of the pastry cream, then whisk the leftover egg whites until fluffy for a light, airy finish. Similarly, no trifle is complete without a thick, rich pastry cream applied liberally in layers with booze-drenched cake, jelly and fruit. It also makes a sublime doughnut filling.
Naturally, crème pâtissière is a must-have item when trying your hand at French pâtisserie. Try Pascal Aussignac’s classic strawberry tart recipe to start, which sees a pastry case filled with a loving layer of pastry cream and topped with fresh strawberries for a family-sized spin on tarte aux fraises. A classic clafoutis would also be incomplete without this decadent cream holding everything together.
Often when crème pâtissière is used as a filling for choux pastry items like profiteroles or eclairs, it is lightened with crème chantilly first – a combination that is known as crème diplomat, or crème légère. Pierre Koffmann has an excellent recipe for creme diplomat in his caramelised apple with arlettes dish, and Nancy Ann-Harbord’s host of éclair recipes demonstrate the level of flavour fun that you can achieve, once you have the knack. Raspberry and rose, gin and tonic and salted caramel-flavoured pastry creams are used to fill her choux creations for a lavish, creative take on a classic.
Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière)
If you’ve enjoyed French pastries before, chances are you’ve enjoyed crème pâtissière, a.k.a. pastry cream. Once you know how to make a classic pastry cream, you can make delicious French pastries like éclairs and profiteroles.
Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière)
Pastry cream is a simple creation made up of milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, cornstarch, and flour. Basically, you’ve got a handful of your basic fridge and pantry ingredients.
Because pastry cream is used as a filling for many French pastries, it’s an excellent recipe to learn and add to your recipe box.
Pastry cream should be creamy, thick, and smooth. In order to obtain this texture and consistency, it’s important to properly combine your ingredients.
The egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch are all mixed with each other until pale and smooth. When the milk is streamed in, the milk should be hot and should be added in gradually.
The gradual addition of the milk ensures that the eggs are tempered first. Tempering just means that you bring the temperature of the eggs up to the temperature of the milk.
This is key to getting a smooth pastry cream rather than scrambled eggs.
Once the egg mixture and milk mixture are combined, the two are [easyazon_link identifier=”B000H7O3O0″ locale=”US” tag=”monpetitfour-20″]whisked[/easyazon_link] quickly in a saucepan over heat, just until it begins to thicken and slightly bubble.
Whisking quickly and acting quickly is how you prevent the pastry cream from burning or obtaining clumps you cannot whisk away.
Another tip I have is to clean your saucepan before you add the entire cream back into the pot. So, after you’ve gradually whisked in the hot milk into the egg batter, temporarily let them be as you quickly rinse your saucepan under running water and then dry the saucepan.
This helps in case any of your milk formed a filmy layer at the bottom of your pot you won’t have to worry about this layer combining with the batter later to form clumps.
The Perfect Filling
This pastry cream recipe is a dream for tarts, cakes, and delicate pastries like éclairs. The pastry cream will pipe out nicely with a [easyazon_link identifier=”B000ANOW10″ locale=”US” tag=”monpetitfour-20″]pastry bag[/easyazon_link], whether you use a plain pastry tip, [easyazon_link identifier=”B00DNV81XQ” locale=”US” tag=”monpetitfour-20″]star tip[/easyazon_link], or any other kind of fancy tip.
The cream will hold its shape inside your pastries, so you won’t have to worry about it oozing out and making a mess.
While classic pastry cream is flavored with [easyazon_link identifier=”B003L259AU” locale=”US” tag=”monpetitfour-20″]vanilla[/easyazon_link], you can also flavor this with other ingredients like lavender or almond.
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The best Crème Pâtissière is silky smooth even after it cools, with a delicate yet decadent flavor. Special tools required include a whisk and a strainer.
Chill a Bowl
Before starting: Put a large bowl in the freezer 30-60 minutes before starting your custard. We need it to cool the final custard!
Warm the Milk
To make pastry cream, start by warming milk and vanilla in a medium size pot. Warm it just until you see small bubbles —hot but not boiling. No thermometer is needed but do pay attention! Add a few teaspoons of natural vanilla extract or better yet the seeds (and pod) from one vanilla bean. Quality ingredients make a quality pastry cream!
Temper the Eggs
While the milk is warming, add the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and flour to a large bowl. Whisk the ingredients to a smooth paste. Zest the lemon but set it aside for now.
Once the milk is hot but not boiling, remove the vanilla bean pod pieces. Then, slowly add the hot milk to the egg mixture a little at a time—whisking it vigorously as you pour. This is what is called ‘tempering’ and it simply means to warm the eggs to the same temperature as the milk. Tempering the eggs will protect them from curdling and creating lumps in your final pastry cream.
Once all of the milk has been added to the egg mix, strain the liquid back into your original pot. Straining is critical because there are always a few clumps that would otherwise ruin your Crème Pâtissière.
Once you’ve strained the liquid, you can add the lemon zest. We don’t add it until after the liquid has been strained to avoid straining out the lemon zest we just added! If you want lemon but prefer to avoid the texture of the lemon zest, you can add large slices of lemon zest to the milk along with the vanilla as you are warming the milk. Then, remove the slices along with the vanilla bean pod pieces before using it to temper the eggs.
Whisk to Chill!
Cook the pastry cream over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook it until it has thickened. Then, transfer all of the warm pastry cream to the chilled bowl… and continue whisking!
Adding warm pastry cream to a cold bowl drops the temperature of the Crème Pâtissière quickly and will produce the creamiest pastry cream possible. Whisk until the cream has cooled considerably. Then, lay plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream and chill it in the refrigerator.
Don’t want to do this extra step? Instead, transfer the pastry cream to a wide mouth container and lay plastic wrap or a silicon lid directly on top of the warm pastry cream. Any air between the cream and the cover gives a skin a chance to develop on your pastry cream—which will ruin the texture!
Pastry cream which hasn’t been cooled quickly after it’s cooked will be less creamy when it’s finally cool. We recommend against whipping it alot after it’s cool to try to make it creamy. This will change the viscosity.
Tempering the egg yolk mixture is not hard. Whisk eggs with the sugar and other thickeners till they are smooth and blended (no lumps). Slowly pour the simmering (but not boiling) milk into the egg mix, whisking constantly.
After all the milk is added (it will be thin), strain the mix back into the pot for cooking and thickening it!
Super creamy? Chill the finished custard quickly!
Put a bowl in the freezer for an hour before making the pastry cream. This will be used after the custard is cooked to drop the temperature quickly. Just transfer the warm cooked custard to the cold bowl and keep whisking to drop the temperature!
Mary Berry’s Religieuses
A French favourite: choux pastry buns filled with a smooth vanilla crème patissiere (pastry cream) and coated with dark chocolate ganache. Each bun is decorated with a frilly white collar of whipped crème to make it resemble a miniature nun.
For the choux pastry:
60g unsalted butter, cubed
2 medium eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
For the crème patissiere filling:
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
6 medium egg yolks, at room temperature
For the chocolate ganache:
200g dark chocolate (about 36% cocoa solids), broken into pieces
For the collar:
150ml double cream, well chilled
You will need:
1 large baking sheet, or 2 medium ones, lined with baking paper
Buy the book
This recipe was taken from The Great British Bake Off: Everyday. For more like it, buy the book now.
Start by making the choux pastry. Heat your oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F/Gas 7. Draw eight 5cm circles and eight 2.5cm circles on the paper lining the baking sheet.
Put the butter and water into a heavy pan and heat over a medium heat until the butter has completely melted, then bring the mixture to the boil, taking care not to burn the butter. Remove from the heat and tip in the flour. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a soft ball. Set the pan back on a low heat and cook for 3–5 minutes, stirring constantly, to dry out the dough. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition, to make a smooth, shiny paste.
Spoon the choux dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm plain tube. Pipe discs inside the drawn circles on the baking sheet. Dip your finger in water and gently smooth the top of each disc. Place in the heated oven and bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/Gas 5 and bake for a further 10–15 minutes until a good golden brown.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven and pierce each bun with a skewer to allow the steam to escape. Return the choux buns to the oven and bake for 4–5 minutes so they dry out. Transfer the buns to a wire rack and leave to cool.
Meanwhile, make the crème patissiere. Pour the milk into a heavy-based medium pan. Using the tip of a small knife, scrape out the vanilla seeds from the split pod and add to the milk. Slowly bring to the boil, then remove the pan from the heat and set aside. Put the egg yolks and sugar into a heatproof mixing bowl and whisk together until pale, then add the cornflour and flour and whisk in. Continue to whisk as you pour on the hot milk in a thin steady stream. Pour the mixture back into the pan. Set over a medium heat and bring to the boil, whisking constantly. Cook for 1 minute until smooth and thick. Pour into a bowl and cover the surface of the crème patissiere with clingfilm (this prevents a skin from forming). Leave to cool, then chill.
For the chocolate ganache, bring the cream to the boil in a small pan, then remove from the heat. Add the pieces of chocolate and stir until melted and the mixture is smooth and shiny. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool, then cover and chill until the ganache has a thick coating consistency.
To assemble the religieuses, spoon the crème patissiere into a piping bag fitted with a long thin tube (or use a jam or icing syringe) and fill the choux buns through the 'steam hole' made earlier. Dip the tops of the filled buns into the chocolate ganache to coat them halfway up the sides. Set a small bun on top of each large bun.
Whip the cream until it stands in peaks. Spoon into a clean piping bag fitted with a star tube. Pipe a line of cream around the join where the two buns meet to form a white collar. Serve as soon as possible after assembling.
- 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.