Blueberry Violette Pastry Cream · GF (3 cups)

I’m not a huge fan of food coloring, but in this case, unless you’re a hard core purist, it really is preferable to use just a touch. The blue color from the berries, combined with the yellow of the yolks results in a pretty horrific shade of scary. A tiny drop of violet helps overpower the yolks’ unfortunate color contribution. Since we eat with our eyes, I don’t consider this step entirely cosmetic, but it’s your call.

blueberry violet tart with a fork

If you’d prefer to make this without the Crème de Violette for religious or dietary reasons, simply omit it and increase the milk to nineteen ounces.

I’ve made this recipe using blueberries, blackberries, and mulberries. While they all work nicely, there’s something amazing about the combination of blueberries and violet.

16 ounces whole milk (use coconut milk for a non-dairy version)
1 vanilla bean, preferably Tahitian for its light, fruity flavor
3 ounces blueberry reduction
5 ounces sugar
2 ounces cornstarch
1/4 tsp kosher salt
2 eggs
1 yolks
3 ounces Crème de Violette (if you can’t find it, substitute a berry flavored vodka)
optional: a smidge of violet food coloring

Bring the milk, along with the vanilla bean and blueberry reduction, to a boil in a large pot. Turn off heat and set aside to steep for at least one hour, if you’re really thinking ahead, you could do it overnight in the fridge.

In a medium bowl, have eggs/yolks and a whisk at hand. In a smallish bowl, blend together the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla bean seeds.

When the vanilla steeping time has elapsed, bring the milk back to a simmer. Fish out the vanilla bean and set aside; make sure to scrape out the amazing vanilla goo from the inside and return that to the pot.

Meanwhile, whisk the sugar mixture into the eggs. Then, whisk a little hot milk into the eggs— it will be thick at first but will loosen up as the milk incorporates. Temper in more hot milk until the eggs have had the chill knocked off ‘em.

At this stage, add the tempered egg/milk mixture back into the hot milk on the stove, whisking all the while. Continue to whisk over medium heat until the mixture becomes quite thick. Once the mixture starts to bubble (sluggishly, as it’s such a thick goo), carry on for a full minute to thoroughly cook the starchiness out of the cornstarch.

Stir in the Crème de Violette.

If you’d like to have a perfectly smooth custard free of blueberry skins, or if you’d like the silkiest of pastry creams, pass this mixture through a sieve. It’s hard work to push it through with a spatula, but the reward is unparalleled smoothness. I do this at work, but not when making pastry cream at home.

Next, do one of two things: A) Pour the mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and let it go at the lowest speed until the pastry cream has cooled. B) Pour the pastry cream into a container, press plastic wrap against the surface to prevent it from skinning, and refrigerate until cold, quite possibly the better part of your afternoon.

Before using, use a hand or stand mixer to whip the custard until it is creamy.

This custard tastes especially lovely in White Chocolate Yuzu Tart Dough, to form the basis of the ultimate blueberry tart.


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Any questions?

Feb 05, 2012 ·  3:45 PM

this blog rules the universe.

 · maya ·

Feb 05, 2012 ·  4:07 PM

@maya, haha, wow, thank you!


Apr 14, 2013 ·  1:15 PM

In the ingredients there are no vanilla bean seeds whereas in the recipe there are. I guess you have to cut a vanilla bean in half and use the seeds, am I right? And it took me forever to find Creme de Violette (and no, I’m not from the states) and finally bought in Paris.

 · Despy · 

Apr 14, 2013 ·  1:20 PM

I mean there should be two vanilla beans, one boiled with milk and second used with sugar, cornstarch etc.

 · Despy · 

Apr 14, 2013 · 10:10 PM

Hi Despy! Sorry the directions are not more clear. It’s just supposed to be one vanilla bean, split and scraped. The bean itself goes into the milk to steep, while the seeds are whisked into the sugar. Jealous of your Parisian Crème de Violette! I have to rely on my bartender-friends to order it in for me, but I doubt the stuff marked for export is as good as what’s sold in Paris. Hope you like the custard.


Apr 15, 2013 ·  8:45 AM

Thanks for the reply Stella.
First of all, I’ve made reduction from strawberry (because I didn’t have blueberry, and was searching what to do with strawberries I already have in house). Probably it is because of this, at the very first step the milk curdled. I thought it could be a problem with the milk and I tried again with a freshly opened box and same thing happened (strawberries hating milk?). I opened a new box and boiled just the milk, I added strawberry reduction and vanilla seeds to egg mixture and continued and it worked, I might have exaggerated the violette coloring though Thank you.
I have no idea how good the Creme de Violette is, as it is the first time I’ve seen and tasted it. Frankly speaking I was expecting for something milky because of the name , it sorted out a light liquor with purple color.
BTW in Paris, I could not find St.Germain Liquor that I was looking to make your recipe.
And you should see their face when they were answering if I was sure if the liquor was called St.Germain? )) (and yes, I do speak french as nobody would care to reply that long if I asked in English )

 · Despy · 

Apr 16, 2013 ·  9:13 AM

Hi Despy. Strawberries are much more acidic than blueberries, which would be enough to cause hot milk to curdle. I hope the flavor of the violette is nice even with strawberries, I’ve never paired them together before! And I’m surprised to hear about the St. Germain, I wonder if it’s sold under a different name, locally. Maybe try asking around for an elderflower liquor instead…


Oct 11, 2013 ·  6:51 PM

Hi, I was just wondering if this would work with any fruit reduction?

 · Bri · 

Oct 13, 2013 ·  1:03 PM

Hi Bri! Yeah, so long as it’s actually a reduction and not just a puree. Happy baking.


Oct 20, 2013 · 10:34 AM

Where can I find creme de violette in california?

 · Joy · 

Oct 22, 2013 · 10:29 PM

Hi Joy! It’s a bit of a fancier liquor, so I’d try calling around with a high end wine and spirits shop. A budget liquor shack definitely won’t carry it, but I can find it in stores here in Kentucky so I’m sure the nicer shops in California will have it. Definitely let your fingers do the shopping, though.


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