Pastry Cream 2

This pastry cream is excellent as a filling for éclairs, Paris-Brest or any application where a silky, slightly flowing pastry cream is preferred. It’s most often made from whole milk, so it’s a bit lighter than a standard pastry cream (which is often made with half heavy cream). Even though it has the same amount of sugar it doesn’t taste as sweet. To make it you’ll need:

the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
32 ounces (1 quart) whole milk or half-and-half
8 ounces sugar (1 cup plus one tablespoon)
12 egg yolks
1.25 ounces (generous 1/4 cup) cornstarch

Start by combining the seeds of the vanilla bean with the milk in a medium saucepan and bring it to the boil.

Give it a good whisk every so often.

Meanwhile, combine the yolks and sugar in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whip.

Whip on high for about three minutes until a thick ribbon drips off the whip.

With the mixer running on medium-low, add the cornstarch in a steady stream. Scrape the bowl to make sure it’s all incorporated.

Now add the hot milk in a steady stream.

When it’s completely incorporated, pour the whole works back into the saucepan…

…and whisking steadily, bring the mixture up to boiling. Let it bubble — not violently — for about 45 seconds to a minute. There’ll be a little foam on the top, gently stir that in.

Pour it into a bowl or onto a sheet pan, and allow it to cool for about ten minutes.

Lay on some plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Cool the pastry cream (if you’re using a bowl, placing it in an ice bath works the best) for about fifteen minutes, then put it in the refrigerator. A half recipe will cool down enough in half an hour to be placed in the fridge on its own.

This entry was posted in Looser, More Silky, Pastry, Pastry Cream, Pastry Cream. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Pastry Cream 2

  1. Reader Lee says:

    I am seeing vanilla paste, (not extract) especially the Nielsen-Massey brand, in more and more stores. It’s basically a thick syrupy paste made up of ground up vanilla bean innards, so you end up with not only the vanilla taste, but also the same delicious-looking dark specks as when you use a bean. It’s slighter cheaper, and certainly easier: one tablespoon equals one whole bean. Any personal experience with the stuff, JP?

    • joepastry says:

      You’re up early! Yes, fewer and fewer stores are carrying vanilla beans these days. Relative to fresh beans, the paste has a much longer shelf life. I haven’t used it in ages, but I seem to remember it being pretty good stuff. I’d probably still prefer the bean, but the paste would certainly a good thing to have around.

  2. Harix says:

    I never understood why we need to whip the yolks and sugar till ribbon stage while we’ll be cooking them in the pot and all the air will be destroyed anyway. I always heat the liquid, hand whisk the yolks and sugar just till mixed. Temper and pou back and cook with wooden spoon till thickened. Or am I the only one who’s doing it wrong?

    • joepastry says:

      Hello Harix!

      It is indeed an odd step, now that you mention it. I think the main reason it’s there is for texture and uniformity. Because you’re right: what use is there for foam in pastry cream — especially since it’s going to be collapsed when the hot milk is added? However there is something about the silkiness of this style of pastry cream. I believe it’s the result of a more even distribution of the egg yolks. You get almost no clumping or “curds” when you follow this technique. But maybe that’s just me…thanks for the email!

  3. Deb says:

    how long does this pastry cream keep in the refrigerator? And can it be frozen?

    • joepastry says:

      Hi Deb!

      It will last about week in the refrigerator. Alas, like most custards, it can’t be frozen.

      Best of luck with the project!

      - Joe

  4. Jen says:

    Hi Joe,

    Am I going crazy or did you previously have this labelled as Lenôtre Pastry Cream? Or something other than just “Pastry Cream 2″? :)

    Thanks!

    Jen

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