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Learn how easy it is to make vanilla pastry cream recipe in this step by step photo tutorial! Then use this delicious stuff to fill a tart, cream puffs, or even cupcakes!
I wish I could tell you the first time I made vanilla pastry cream (or creme de patisserie as it also known) it was a huge success. And everyone was super impressed with my baking skills. At least that’s how I want to remember it going down. Unfortunately it was the exact opposite of that.
I had enrolled in pastry classes at a culinary school. You know for fun. Because you know I’m sure everyone does that.And one of the days we learned how to make this fancy creamy vanilla stuff. I was feeling pretty confident about my skills in the kitchen. Boy can life knock you down a peg or two when it needs too, though.
I was doing great right up until the last step. The “Strain your pastry cream to get rid of any lumps step”. I did that. Only, I forgot to put an actual BOWL underneath the strainer to collect the silky vanilla cream after. Cue hand slapping forehead…now.Thank goodness for my instructor. She ran over and caught my mistake before all was lost. But boy oh boy did I feel like a big old idiot after.
Now I may have screwed it up that day. However, regardless of my carelessness making vanilla pastry cream. It was honestly fairly easy. So don’t be intimidated by my story. Just laugh at my foolishness. And get to making this stuff now.
What Is Vanilla Pastry Cream?
Ok, first of what the heck is creme de patisserie or vanilla pastry cream. Sure it’s French so has to be difficult right? Seriously get that out of your head right now. And I bet you have had it before, even if you didn’t know it.
Creme de patisserie, or pastry cream, is the filling that used in fruit tarts, cream puffs, eclairs, even danishes.
What Is Pastry Cream Made Of?
Pastry cream is made from very simple ingredients:
- Egg yolks – You will need to separate your eggs first and use just the yolks.
- Whole milk
- Vanilla extract
- Granulated sugar
How do you make vanilla pastry cream?
This pastry cream is super easy to make. Here are step by step photos so you can make and master pastry cream.
Step 1: Start by whisking your eggs in the bowl
Step 2: Heat The Mixture
In a saucepan, combine your sugar, salt, cornstarch, and milk. Heat this mixture. Be sure to bring this mixture to a boil to activate the cornstarch to ensure proper thickening.
Step 3: Temper your eggs.
Say wha-a-at? All this means is add about a 1/3 of your heated milk mixture to your egg yolks to bring them up to temperature. Then add the egg yolk mixture back into your saucepan.
Step 4: Add in your vanilla extract.
Step 5. Heat until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
During the step, do no walk away. I repeat do not walk away. Be sure to watch and stir continuously.
Step 6: For lump free perfect pastry cream, push the cream mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
Just you know make sure there is a bowl underneath. And then store in your refrigerator, covered until chilled and ready to use!
How long can you keep vanilla pastry cream?
You can keep your vanilla pastry cream in the fridge up to 3 days. Just make sure it’s come to room temperature before you chill it. Then be sure it’s properly covered. I place plastic wrap directly on the surface so a skin doesn’t form.
What can you use the vanilla pastry cream for?
You mean besides licking the spoon again and again? Well you can use the pastry cream recipe to fill some homemade cream puffs or maybe try them inside a Boston Cream Pie cupcake?
A few tips to customize this vanilla pastry cream recipe:
- Add in 1/2 cup whipped cream to make a light whipped pastry cream.
- Flavor your pastry cream by adding 1-2 teaspoons of an extract such as almond or maybe some espresso powder (heat the powder with the milk step).
- Make an adult version by adding in a 1/2 tablespoon of a booze of your choice- try some Kahlua, Grand Marnier, Frangelico, etc!
- Add in a few tablespoons of butter to make this pastry cream even richer. Just whisk it in at the end until blended.
More Dessert Sauces To Try
So what did we learn today? Creme de patisserie sounds fancy but it’s not. It’s really just pastry cream. And make sure you have a bowl underneath. Oh and it’s crazy delicious and super easy to make too.
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 4 large (56 grams) egg yolks
- 1/4 cup (28 grams) cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- 2 cups (480 grams) whole milk
- 1/2 cup (99 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Whisk egg yolks until smooth in a large bowl. Combine sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a medium saucepan. gradually add milk in a slow, steady stream, and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and begins to bubble, about 5 minutes.
- Whisking constantly, slowly pour one third of the milk mixture into egg yolks (this step is called tempering, which keeps the yolks from curdling). Pour mixture into remaining milk mixture in saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture comes to a full boil and is thick enough to hold its shape when lifted with a spoon, 2 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
- Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl. Cover with parchment paper or plastic wrap, pressing it directly on surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled and firm, at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days).
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