A simple recipe for creme patissiere, or pastry cream. This pastry staple is perfect for filling doughnuts, eclairs, cakes, and so much more.
Creme patissiere, or pastry cream, is a thick, velvety custard that is a key ingredient in many different desserts such as tarts, cakes, and doughnuts. You can eat it by the spoonful if you are feeling decadent, or use it as a quick and easy replacement in a "creme brulee". There's not much you can't do with it and knowing how to make it will take your dessert making to the next level.
There are a few different methods to making creme patissiere. Some prefer to use all flour while others will use a mix of flour and cornstarch. Most recipes also prefer to whip the eggs with the sugar until it becomes thick and ribbony, then temper it with hot milk before cooking it to a thick consistency.
I like to use a mix of flour and cornstarch because I find I get the best texture this way. I also mix the flour, cornstarch, and sugar together, then mix the milk and eggs together in a separate bowl before mixing them both together while they are still room temperature.
It is after they've mixed together that I begin to heat the mixture and cook until it is thickened. I find this prevents lumps and bits of cooked egg in the pastry cream.
The creme patissiere should be a nice, velvety thick consistency that can hold it s shape when it is cool, but still nice and easy to pipe and spread. If it is too runny, you can always cook it until it is a bit thicker, and while, I have not tried this personally, I have heard of people whisking in tablespoons of cream into their pastry cream if they've thickened it too much.
There are a variety of flavors you can use in your pastry cream. This recipe is just the basic blank canvas for you to use. You can try different extracts for a number of flavors. Almond is popular, but you can try any thing that suits your fancy. You can also stir in chopped chocolate in when it is still hot for a chocolate pastry cream.
If you want something citrus, I recommend rubbing the zest in the sugar to release its oils and flavor. Then when you strain the creme patissiere, the zest is also removed so you will still have a smooth custard with which to work.
Can You Freeze Creme Patissiere?
No, unfortunately you cannot freeze creme patissiere aka pastry cream. The mixture will become grainy and split as it thaws, which means you will not be able to use it. There are some sources that say you can restore your cream once frozen, but the extra work and varying results of it makes it not worth trying.
How To Store Creme Patissiere
Place the pastry cream inside an air tight container. Place plastic wrap directly on top of the creme patissiere so it covers it completely, then place a lid on your container. Put the pastry cream in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Is Creme Patissiere Gluten-Free?
This particular recipe is not gluten-free because of the flour, but you can easily omit the flour and replace it with more cornstarch.
If you are just in love with creme patissiere (pastry cream) as I am, try these green tea eclairs
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks room temperature
- 2 cups whole milk room temperature
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter cut in cubes
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and salt until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, yolks and milk until well combined, I do this by whisking the egg and yolks together first, then slowly whisking in the milk.
- Pour the egg mixture into the sugar mixture and mix well until there are no lumps.I do this by slowly adding the liquid mixture a little at a time and whisking well between each addition.
- Turn on the heat to the stove on medium and continue to whisk the mixture.
- Whisk the mixture continuously as it cooks and begins to thicken. The creme patissiere is finished cooking once it is noticeably thicker and when you dip a spoon into the mixture and run a finger down the spoon, it leaves a line in the pastry cream.
- Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove. Stir in the butter and the vanilla. Mix until the butter is melted and thoroughly mixed in.
- Strain the creme patissiere through a fine mesh strainer into your container.
- Place plastic wrap directly on the creme patissiere so that it is directly touching. This is to prevent skin forming on the pastry cream. Chill until completely cooled before using.