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Pastry Cream (Creme Patisserie)

A simple and delicious Pastry Cream Recipe (Creme Patisserie) that can be used in Donuts, Eclairs and many other desserts. Think custard but so much thicker, silkier and more delicious!

Pastry Cream Recipe

Pastry Cream is a kitchen essential for pastries, baked goods and desserts. Ever had a delicious donut bursting with a silky thick creamy filling or a Chocolate Eclair? Yup that’ll be pastry cream! Its such a easy recipe with simple flavors, you’ll be making it often after you try this recipe!

What is Pastry Cream used for?

  • To fill Donuts
  • To fill Eclairs, Cream Puffs and Profiteroles
  • A base to Custard Tarts
  • A filling for Cakes 
  • + so many other pastries and baked goods

Is Pastry Cream the same as Custard?

Pastry Cream is made from the exact same ingredients as custard but different quantities. The main difference between the two is how you use them, pastry cream for filling donuts, tarts and pastries and custard for serving along side an apple pie.

For this reason you’ll find custard is a lot thinner, more like a sauce and contains less flour. Pastry Cream is much thicker and will hold its shape.

Eclair with Pastry Cream

Pastry Cream Tips and Tricks

  • Never leave the pastry cream alone when it is on the stove! It changes from runny to thick super quickly.
  • If your pastry cream is looking a little lumpy, use a sieve to strain it. This will remove any lumps so you are left with silky smooth pastry cream.
  • Pastry Cream will quickly form a skin on top. To stop this, press plastic wrap into the pastry cream so no part of it is touching the air.
  • Whipped Cream can be added to the Pastry Cream, this makes Diplomat Cream. It has more of a lighter texture and flavor so it’s a great topping for strawberries and pies!

Flavored Pastry Cream

  • Chocolate Pastry Cream – Add 1/2 Cup of cooled melted chocolate to the finished pastry cream once it has cooled.
  • Coffee Pastry Cream – Add a few teaspoons of instant coffee to the eggs and sugar.
  • Zests from citrus and essences can be added to the pastry cream to make so many different flavors

Pastry Cream Trouble Shooting

My Pastry Cream is lumpy

Pastry Cream can become lumpy when it isn’t stirred enough so it cooks unevenly on the bottom of the pan, is cooked for too long or it is heated too high. When you first start to notice lumps remove the saucepan from the heat and give it a really good whisk. If you still have lumps after this strain it through a sieve. 

My Pastry Cream is too thin

You may have not cooked the pastry cream long enough for it to become thick. Return it to the heat and whisk while cooking. If it doesn’t thicken up you may need to add another egg yolk.

Ingredients for Pastry Cream

4 Large Egg Yolks – I’ve used large eggs but 5 medium sized egg yolks can be used. This recipe only uses egg yolks but check out these recipes for using up your egg whites.

⅓ Cup | 65g Sugar

2 Tbsp / 30g Flour – All purpose flour works best here but if you did want to make this recipe gluten free corn starch can be substituted.

1½ Cups | 375ml Milk – For best results use whole milk or half and half can be used for a creamier result.

1 tsp Vanilla Extract – Vanilla essence, extract or vanilla beans can be used for this recipe. I like to use extract that has the seeds as I like the way they are speckled through the pastry cream.

How to Make Pastry Cream

Seperate your eggs, placing the yolks into a medium sized mixing bowl and the egg whites into a seperate bowl that can be placed into the fridge for use later.

Add the white granulated sugar to the bowl and whisk the ingredients together until light and fluffy and doubled in volume – about 2-3 minutes. You can use a hand mixer here but it doesn’t take too long to do it with a whisk.

When the egg yolks and sugar are light fluffy add in the flour. You can use corn starch here instead to make this a gluten free pastry cream. Whisk until the flour is combined and there are no lumps. 

Pour the milk into a medium sized saucepan and heat over medium low heat until it just starts to come to a boil – do not boil the milk. Remove the milk from the heat.

Place the bowl with the eggs and sugar on a tea towel so it wont move around while whisking. Slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs and sugar while continuously mixing. Once half of the hot milk has been added pour the mixture in the bowl back into the saucepan. 

Place the saucepan over low heat and continuously mix with a whisk until the pastry cream has thickened. It’s really important to not walk away at this point as the pastry cream will turn from thin and runny to thick very quickly! 

Once the pastry cream is thick and holding its shape, pour it into a mixing bowl. Add the vanilla essence and mix to combine. This is also the point you can add any other essence or cooled melted chocolate to make different variations of the pastry cream.

Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, pushing it down so it’s touching the surface so it wont form a skin. Place it into the fridge for at least 4-6 hours before using. When you are ready to use the pastry cream give it a good whisk first to loosen it up.

Common Questions about Pastry Cream

Why do you Strain Pastry Cream?

When Pastry Cream is heated too fast or for cooked for too long it can become lumpy. It’s easy enough to remove the lumps by straining the pastry cream through a sieve.

How do you fix Pastry Cream?

If your pastry cream is very lumpy and has a kind of grainy texture you may need to start again. This can happen when the eggs are heated too high and they curdle, causing a type of scrambled egg custard which no one wants!

How long can you keep Pastry Cream in the fridge?

Pastry Cream will keep in the fridge for about 5 days. Make sure to keep it covered so it doesn’t form a skin and give it a really good whisk before you use it. 

How to make Dairy Free Pastry Cream?

You can make dairy free pastry cream by swapping out the milk for your favorite milk alternative. Everything else in the recipe is dairy free. 

Pastry Cream (Creme Patisserie)

Pastry Cream (Creme Patisserie)

Yield: 2 Cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Additional Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 25 minutes

A simple and delicious Pastry Cream Recipe (Creme Patisserie) that can be used in Donuts, Eclairs and many other desserts

Ingredients

  • 4 Large Egg Yolks (or 5 medium egg yolks)
  • ⅓ Cup / 65g Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp / 30g All Purpose Flour
  • 1½ Cups / 375ml Milk
  • 1 tsp Vanilla

Instructions

  1. Seperate your eggs, placing the yolks into a medium sized mixing bowl and the egg whites into a seperate bowl that can be placed into the fridge for use later.
  2. Add the white granulated sugar to the bowl and whisk the ingredients together until light and fluffy and doubled in volume – about 2-3 minutes. You can use a hand mixer here but it doesn’t take too long to do it with a whisk.
  3. When the egg yolks and sugar are light fluffy add in the flour. You can use corn starch here instead to make this a gluten free pastry cream. Whisk until the flour is combined and there are no lumps.
  4. Pour the milk into a medium sized saucepan and heat over medium low heat until it just starts to come to a boil – do not boil the milk. Remove the milk from the heat.
  5. Place the bowl with the eggs and sugar on a tea towel so it wont move around while whisking. Slowly pour the hot milk into the eggs and sugar while continuously mixing. Once half of the hot milk has been added pour the mixture in the bowl back into the saucepan. 
  6. Place the saucepan over low heat and continuously mix with a whisk until the pastry cream has thickened. It’s really important to not walk away at this point as the pastry cream will turn from thin and runny to thick very quickly!
  7. Once the pastry cream is thick and holding its shape, pour it into a mixing bowl. Add the vanilla essence and mix to combine. This is also the point you can add any other essence or cooled melted chocolate to make different variations of the pastry cream.
  8. Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, pushing it down so it’s touching the surface so it wont form a skin. Place it into the fridge for at least 4-6 hours before using. When you are ready to use the pastry cream give it a good whisk first to loosen it up.

Notes

The pastry cream can be kept in the fridge for about 5 days. Make sure to keep it covered so it doesn't form a skin and give it a good whisk before using.

If you pastry cream is a little lumpy you may have cooked it for too long or let it get too hot. Strain it with a sieve to remove the lumps.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 10 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 91Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 96mgSodium: 50mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 0gSugar: 7gProtein: 4g

Nutrition information is estimated and is not always accurate

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