Today I am going to show you with step by step pictures and instructions how to make one of the best pastry creams you have ever tasted. Once you have learned how to master the art of pastry cream making, you can let your baking creativity take you places as far as your imagination wants to take you. You can use this pastry cream in so many different recipes. I will be posting several of those recipes in the future. But for right now let me tell you how smooth and delicious this pastry cream is. It is made from all natural ingredients, so no boiling water and adding it to an unidentifiable powder. You will have to be willing to experiment with it couple of times. That is not to say it is difficult but that the timing is very important in making this recipe and it might take more than one time to get it right. I have every confidence that if you follow the instructions exactly you will achieve the desired results.
The recipe can be multiplied depending how much pastry cream you need for any particular recipe. You will only need to be exact in your measurements. I have used a heavy bottomed stainless steel 2-quart saucepan for this recipe. When I make twice as much pastry cream, I use a 3-quart saucepan. When increasing the recipe select your pan size accordingly.
Place the cubed butter in a glass dish and refrigerate.
Heat milk and half the sugar, stir occasionally so the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.
Place a piece of nonskid pad under a heavy bowl and whisk the egg yolks with the remaining sugar.
Sift the corn starch into the bowl and whisk until smooth.
Temper the egg yolks by adding hot milk in small amounts into the bowl until about half of the milk is added to the bowl.
Add the tempered eggs to the hot milk in the saucepan.
Whisk to blend well
Keep on whisking, it is thickening but not quite there yet.
It is ready when couple of air pockets burst on the surface
Take the glass dish with butter out and pour the pastry cream in it, mix until all the butter melts and the pastry cream is very smooth.
Cover the surface with a plastic wrap and refrigerate.
- 3 egg yolks
- ½ cup sugar, divided in half
- 1⅔ cups milk. I have used 1%, but whole and 2% milk also work well. Do not use skim milk
- 1 ounce corn starch
- 1 ounce unsalted butter, cold
- 1 tsp vanilla extract, or ¼ tsp vanilla powder
- Cut the butter into small cubes and place it in a heatproof 8x8x2 glass dish and refrigerate.
- Heat the milk and ¼ cup sugar in a heavy bottomed 2-quart saucepan over medium heat. Stir several times to make sure the milk doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. If you are using vanilla powder add it now. If using vanilla extract, you will be adding it at the same time that you mix in the butter at the end.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the egg yolks and ¼ cup sugar in a heavy medium bowl. Set the bowl on a nonskid pad or a rolled damp kitchen towel so it doesn’t move around. You will see the reason for this in a minute.
- Sift the cornstarch over the egg mixture and whisk until smooth.
- You want the milk to be hot enough to steam but not to boil. Reduce the heat to medium low when ready. Do not remove the saucepan from the heat.
- This step is called tempering, and this is when you are going to need both hands to move quickly with this process. Use a ladle to pour very hot milk gradually onto the egg yolk mixture and continue to whisk with your free hand. I could have used another set of hands to take the picture! Be careful, add only a little milk at a time, you don’t want to scramble the eggs. Repeat this until about half of the hot milk is whisked into the egg yolks.
- Now pour the tempered eggs back into the hot milk in the saucepan. This is the part that you have to keep whisking vigorously and continuously until the mixture has thickened. It is ready when couple of air pockets burst on the surface.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Take out the glass dish with chilled butter and add the pastry cream to the dish.
- Stir with a wooden spoon to melt all the butter and get a smooth consistency. If using vanilla extract, add it now and stir to combine.
- Cover the surface of the pastry cream with a plastic wrap. Make sure no surface is exposed, it will dry out very quickly. Refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours and up to 2 days. When you are ready to use the pastry cream stir it with a wooden spoon until very smooth.
*Using a whisk should eliminate any lumps in this pastry cream. But if you end up with a lumpy pastry cream here is what you do: Place a mesh strainer over the glass dish containing the butter cubes and pour the pastry cream into the strainer and use the back of a wooden spoon to push the lumps through the mesh and then mix it with the butter cubes.
p.s. A lifetime ago a very special person taught me how to make this pastry cream and I do appreciate!