How to make pastry cream
Pastry cream is a simple custard made of milk, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and butter. It’s useful in so many desserts like trifles and cream puffs or on it’s own with fresh berries. Just follow these few simple steps and you’ll have a smooth and creamy pastry cream. You will need a sauce pan, a bowl, a whisk and a wooden spoon for this recipe.
Assemble your ingredients
This recipe goes together quickly so have all of your ingredients ready to go. Pour the milk in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. While this is heating whisk egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt together vigorously until all ingredients are well combined. Begin whisking as soon as you add the sugar to the egg yolks. If you let the sugar sit on the egg yolks without blending them together the egg yolks will crystallize and harden.
Temper the hot milk and egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring the hot milk into the yolks, whisking constantly. Place a folded damp paper towel under the bowl to help hold it in steady. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Cook until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken.
Turn off the heat and continue to stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the vanilla extract and butter, continue to stir until the butter is completely incorporated. I like to add vanilla extract at this point, once the cream is off the heat, so that the vanilla extract doesn’t evaporate. It’s made mostly of alcohol. If I was using a vanilla bean I would split it, scrape the seeds into the milk, (add the pod as well, there’s a lot of flavor in there) and let it simmer with the milk. Pour the pastry cream into a dish and cover with plastic directly on top, touching the surface of the pastry cream. Refrigerate until cold.
Now that you know how to make pastry cream what dessert will you use it in? Please let me know in the comments below.
- 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/3 cup of sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 egg yolks
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold butter
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract OR teaspoon vanilla bean paste OR 1 scraped vanilla bean
- Bring the milk to a simmer in a saucepan
- In a bowl, add 1/3 cup of sugar to egg yolks, salt and corn starch, immediately beat the mixture vigorously with a whisk until smooth. If you let the sugar sit on the egg yolks without beating right away the egg yolks will crystallize.
- Slowly pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture starting with about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating the yolks as you add the milk.
- Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium low heat, constantly stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon until the milk has become a thick custard.
- Remove from heat but continue to stir for another 2 minutes.
- Stir in butter and vanilla extract. Continue to stir with a wooden spoon until the butter is incorporated.
- Pour the mixture into a Pyrex dish, cover with plastic wrap directly on the cream to keep a skin from forming.