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pastry cream in saucepan with whisk, on wood table

How to Make Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)

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Crème Pâtissière also known as pastry cream, is much thicker and less delicate than it’s custard sister, the Crème Anglaise. This rich and creamy custard is best known for being the sweet filling inside eclairs, pate choux buns (cream puffs) as well as layered in tarts and cakes. 



500ml Whole Milk

100g or 1/2 cup Granulated Sugar

40g Cornstarch

120g or 6 Egg Yolks (large us eggs)

2 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste

50g unsalted butter (room temperature)


Step 1

In a saucepan, heat ¾ of the milk and ¾ of the sugar and vanilla (if using). You can also add other flavourings at this point such as coffee, spices or liquors. 

Cook over medium heat until steam begins to form. Immediately place a lid on the pot and remove it from the heat to let infuse a few minutes.

In a medium bowl, whisk the cornstarch, remaining milk, sugar with the egg yolks. Whisk until it looks pale, thick and there are no bits of cornstarch.

Step 2

Temper the mixture by pouring a third of the hot milk mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Whisking continually so not to overheat and cook the egg yolks.

Step 3

Pour the mixture back into saucepan with the remaining milk and return it to the stove. Cook over medium heat, whisking continuously until the custard starts to bubble (boil). Continue to whisk at the boiling point (100C/210F) for a few minutes. This process will cook out the starch, ensuring there is no starchy flavour remaining. 

Step 4

Remove the crème pâtissière from the heat and add the butter and whisk until combined. Strain the pastry cream, cover with cling film and allow to cool.

Step 5

When you are ready to use the crème pâtissière, allow it to warm up slightly at room temperature and then whip it until its smooth, creamy and free of any lumps. 

Storing Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)

Keep crème pâtissière stored in an airtight container with a sheet of cling film resting against the custard (this prevents a skin from forming), then store in the fridge for up to 2-3 days.