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Home » How to Make Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière recipe)

How to Make Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière recipe)

Learn how to make Pastry Cream (or Creme Patisserie) with a few basic ingredients and step-by-step directions that are simple to follow. This pastry cream recipe is perfect for filling Eclairs, cream puffs, Boston Cream Pie, and more.

Homemade pastry cream piped into a small Weck tulip jar

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Pastry Cream is most likely responsible for making your favorite desserts…well, your favorite. Imagine a fruit tart without the custard-like Creme Patisserie. Boston Cream doughnuts aren’t the same without the cream. Let’s all give a standing ovation to the rich and velvety wonder of Pastry Cream.

If you can perfect this treat and be able to whip it up quickly, then you’ll already have the foundation for creating a whole list of fan-favorite desserts. This Creme Patisserie recipe is easy to master and one of my all-time favorites.


What is Creme Patisserie?

The French are to thank for Creme Patisserie or less elegantly said in English, Pastry Cream.  Creme Patisserie is said to have been invented by a French Painter in the 1600s. That can’t be far from the truth since Pastry Cream is really an art in its own right.

I don’t know about you, but let’s take a moment to celebrate this unsung hero that essentially brought us the best part of the eclair.
overhead shot of cooked pastry cream in a clear glass bowl

Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and let me know in the comments! You can also leave a photo/comment on this pin for others to see.


What is Pastry Cream used for?

Pastry Cream is the best filling that you’ll ever learn to make.

The thick custard makes a phenomenal base for any cream pie and ensures that desserts come to the table with various textures and more than enough sweet richness to create avid fans. You will find it debuting in eclairs, fruit tarts, pies, doughnuts, trifles, and so many more lovely desserts. 

You’ll find that you can make variations of Pastry Cream by playing around with flavors — strawberry, chocolate, lemon, and other options can take your dessert to the next level.


What is Diplomat Cream?

Diplomat Cream is the perfect option for those that like a lighter filling. It is made of 1 part Pastry Cream and 1 part Whipped Cream. This lighter, fluffier option is a happy medium for those that love creamy desserts without the heaviness of custard. 

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Pastry Cream Ingredients

  • Whole Milk
  • Egg Yolks
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Fine Sea Salt
  • Cornstarch
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Unsalted Butter

Ingredients for pastry cream in individual bowls


Equipment Needed to Make Creme Patisserie

  • Measuring cup
  • Medium saucepan
  • Medium heat-proof bowl
  • Whisk
  • Mesh strainer
  • Kitchen thermometer

overhead shot of cooked pastry cream in a mesh strainer over a glass bowl


How to Make Pastry Cream

Step 1. Add the 1 1/2 cups of the milk to a medium saucepan and heat on medium-low until simmering.

Step 2. As the milk heats, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium heat-proof bowl until light and foamy. Once combined, whisk in the remaining half cup of milk and the cornstarch until smooth and creamy.

Step 3. When the milk comes to a simmer, whisk the egg mixture continuously while slowly pouring in about 1/3 of the hot milk into it. This tempers the egg to gently heat it so the egg doesn’t scramble.

Step 4. Return the remaining milk to the heat then slowly pour the egg mixture back into the milk while continuously whisking.

Step 5. Continue to whisk constantly while heating the mixture to a low boil and it reaches 165º F.

Step 6.  Once it reaches 165º, immediately remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and the butter. Continue to whisk until the butter is completely melted and incorporated.

Step 7. Place a mesh strainer over a medium glass bowl. Pour the pastry cream through the strainer and whisk to press is through as needed. Leave any clumps in the strainer and discard.

Step 8. Once all the pastry cream has been strained, smooth out the top of the pastry cream with a spatula. Then place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming when it cools. Refrigerate until cold.

Step 9. When ready to use, whisk the pastry cream to bring it back to a smooth and creamy consistency.

 

 

cooked pastry cream in a glass bowl with plastic wrap pressed on the surface


How long does Pastry Cream last in the fridge?

It will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Make sure you’re storing it in an airtight container for optimum freshness.


Tips for Making this Creme Patisserie Recipe

  • For a corn-free pastry cream, use tapioca flour or starch in place of the cornstarch.
  • Using room temperature milk and egg yolks will speed up the cooking process. Cold ingredients right from the fridge will take longer to heat and thicken. 
  • Don’t skip the running the cooked Creme Patisserie through a stainer because you could end up with a lumpy pastry cream.

overhead shot of pastry cream in a small Weck jar with a piping bag filled with pastry cream next to it


Other Custard or Pudding Recipes To Try


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Homemade pastry cream piped into a small Weck tulip jar

Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière)

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Chilll Time: 6 hours
Total Time: 6 hours 25 minutes

Learn how to make Pastry Cream (or Creme Patisserie) with a few basic ingredients and step-by-step directions that are simple to follow. This pastry cream recipe is perfect for filling Eclairs, cream puffs, Boston Cream Pie, and more.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and room temperature

Instructions

  1. Add the 1 1/2 cups of the milk to a medium saucepan and heat on medium-low until simmering.
  2. As the milk heats, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium heat-proof bowl until light and foamy. Once combined, whisk in the remaining half cup of milk and the cornstarch until smooth and creamy.
  3. When the milk comes to a simmer, whisk the egg mixture continuously while slowly pouring in about 1/3 of the hot milk into it. This tempers the egg to gently heat it so the egg doesn't scramble.
  4. Return the remaining milk to the heat then slowly pour the egg mixture back into the milk while continuously whisking.
  5. Continue to whisk constantly while heating the mixture to a low boil and it reaches 165º F.
  6. Once it reaches 165º, immediately remove from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract and the butter. Continue to whisk until the butter is completely melted and incorporated.
  7. Place a mesh strainer over a medium glass bowl. Pour the pastry cream through the strainer and whisk to press is through as needed. Leave any clumps in the strainer and discard.
  8. Once all the pastry cream has been strained, smooth out the top of the pastry cream with a spatula. Then place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming when it cools. Refrigerate until cold.
  9. When ready to use, whisk the pastry cream to bring back to a smooth and creamy consistency.

Notes

  1. This pastry cream can be refrigerated for up to 5 days.
  2. For a corn-free pastry cream, use tapioca flour or starch in place of the cornstarch.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 115

Nutrition Facts are estimated and aren't always accurate. Please consult a doctor or nutritionist if you have special dietary needs. Calories based on 12 servings.

Did you make this recipe? Leave a star rating and let me know in the comments! You can also leave a photo/comment on this pin for others to see.

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Martina

Monday 1st of March 2021

Can I use almond milk for this recipe?

Diana

Wednesday 3rd of February 2021

Hi Sharon, I noticed in the recipe, you had listed 2 cups of milk but in the directions, it says 1 1/2 cups of milk. Where are the rest of the 1/2 cups of milk used?

Many thanks :) Diana

Diana

Friday 5th of February 2021

@Shay, yes sorry! I didn’t notice it until after I sent the comment and didn’t know how to edit the comment :(

It turned out great, especially with your creme puff recipe :) I used the bobs red mill 1 to 1 for that.

Tip for first time custard makers (that was me): don’t rush your custard, no matter how much you want to eat it out of the pot 😥

Shay

Wednesday 3rd of February 2021

It's whisked into the egg yolk mixture in Step 2 :)

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