How to make pastry cream

Use it as a filling for eclairs, tarts or as a base to make other types of creams. Creme Patisserie, or pastry cream as we say in the UK is a versatile cream which is actually simpler to make than it looks! 

During pastry school, this is one of the first baking techniques I learnt. The reason for this is because it’s such a versatile recipe that can be used for so many different bakes. If you’re serious about baking, you need to know how to make this! Trust me, once you try it, you’ll be churning out pans of the stuff; it’s actually really simple. The key is to never take your eye off the pan, and KEEP WHISKING!

Pastry Cream

Pastry cream is made from egg yolks, sugar, milk, flour and cornflour. If you know how to make a custard (or creme anglaise) then you’ll be fine with this as it’s very similar. The only difference is that pastry cream has to be brought to the boil in order to cook out the starch. You don’t want that claggy taste in your cream! This is why you must keep stirring until it boils because it does have the tendency to burn.

RECIPE DEVELOPMENT

Once you’ve made your pastry cream, you could develop it into one of the following creams:

  • Creme Diplomat:  Pastry cream + whipped cream
  • Creme Chiboust:  Pastry cream + Italian meringue + gelatine
  • Creme Mousseline: Pastry cream + butter
  • Frangipane: Pastry cream + almond cream

Obviously it would be a good filling for shortcrust pastry, as seen in the photo. If you need a recipe, I have a Sweet Shortcrust Recipe which is fail-safe! Another pastry school recipe!

pastry cream

How to make pastry cream

Things to consider – 

  • You’ll need a good, sturdy whisk. I recommend this one*
  • Make sure you have some cling film handy.
  • You’ll need a flat try, like this one* to cool the pastry cream on.
*These are affiliate links, meaning I will make a small profit if you happen to buy from the link.

The Recipe

Pastry cream/creme patisserie

  • Serves:
  • Difficulty: Medium

A must-have baking technique to have under your belt. This versatile cream can be used for some many things.

What you will need

  • 5 egg yolks
  • 125g sugar
  • 500ml whole milk
  • 25g plain flour
  • 25g cornflour
  • 1 vanilla pod

Method

  • 1Pour the milk into a pan and add the vanilla seeds and the pod. Leave to boil.
  • 2Beat together the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Whisk in the flour and cornstarch.
  • 3Once the milk has boiled, pour half into the egg yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Pour this mix back into the pan with the rest of the milk. Keep whisking until it thickens.
  • 4Once thickened, boil for 1 minute but make sure to keep whisking. Remove the vanilla pod.
  • 5Pour the pastry cream onto a baking tray and cover tightly with cling film, ensuring there’s as little air bubbles as possible. Leave to cool.
  • 6Before use, remove from the tray and whisk in a bowl to loosen. If not using straight away, remember to refrigerate.

MORE COOKERY SCHOOL RECIPES

How to Make and Freeze White Chicken Stock 

How to Cut and Prepare Rhubarb 

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pastry cream

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