Once you master this basic pastry cream, you can infuse it with other ingredients like vanilla bean, lavender, green tea and so on. I’ve tried several different pasty cream recipes, but I personally think this one is the best so far.
INGREDIENTS & EQUIPMENT
Ingredients – Makes about 2 cups
1/4 cup Cornstarch
3/4 cup Sugar
2 cups Whole Milk (divided use)
4 Large Egg Yolks
1 pinch salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
No special equipment needed.
HOW TO MAKEBefore you start
Prepare ice bath by putting ice and water in a deep pan.
Making the egg mixture
1. Combine the cornstarch with the sugar in a mixing bowl.
2. Lightly beat 4 egg yolks. (Vanilla extract is in the picture, but you don’t need it yet, my bad…=])
3. Pour 1/2 cup of the milk and stir well with a whisk.
4. Blend the lightly beaten yolks into the cornstarch and sugar mixture.
5. Stir with a wooden spoon until it is completely smooth.
Making the Milk Mixture
6. In a stainless steel sauce pan or pot, combine the remaining 1 ½ cups milk and a pinch salt. Bring to a simmer (do not boil) and remove the pan from the heat.
7. To temper, you can gradually add about one-third of the milk mixture at the time, but I like to drizzle the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture little by little while I’m whisking, just in case. Don’t forget to whisk constantly!
Cooking the Pastry Cream
8. Return the mixture to the saucepan and continue cooking over medium-low heat, vigorously stir with a whisk until the mixture comes to a boil and the whisk leaves a trail in the pastry cream. Make sure you maintain simmering condition (It is hard to see a trail in the photo, but that’s the consistency that you want to have.) It will take a little while to come to a boil – about 5 to 10 minutes.
Cooling pastry cream
9. Remove the pan from the heat as soon as you reach that consistency (if you leave on a stove too long, it won’t be soft and creamy pasty cream), and add the vanilla extract and the butter. Stir well until they are well blended.
10. Transfer the pan to the prepared ice bath. Cover the pastry cream surface with plastic wrap until the pastry cream is cool – about 15 to 20 minutes.
USING & STORING
Using: Pastry cream is used as a filling for many different desserts such as fresh fruit tarts, cream puffs, eclairs, etc. I also like eating my fresh fruits topped with a spoonful of pastry cream. So, just be creative, you will enjoy them.
Storing: Store in a airtight container up to 3~4 days in a refrigerator.
- Cooking pastry cream: Do not cook pastry cream on high heat. You will end up with a lot of crumbs in your pastry cream. To get smooth texture, be patient and cook it on low to medium heat. It will take its sweet time, but it is the only way to get a smooth pastry cream.
- Cooling pastry cream: If you are in rush to get cooled pastry cream, there are some tricks that will help cooking pastry cream fast – transfer pastry cream to another stainless steel bowl; use wide bowl or baking pan; change ice bath as needed; stir occasionally to let the heat out of pastry cream.
I wasn’t a big fan of pastry cream until I started making my own. This is a good recipe, but if it is too sweet, feel free to cut down the amount of sugar from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup (which I do when I make pastry cream).