Selected Posts
Stella ParksBest New Pastry Chef
Neapolitan OreosWhy Weight
total eclipse of the tartTotal Eclipse of the Tart
chocolate sprinklesHomemade Sprinkles
plaid tartAbout BraveTart


Pastry Cream · GF (about six cups)

If you’ve ever stood in an overstuffed closet, rummaging through everything you own only to conclude “I have nothing to wear,” you have a pretty good idea of what coming up with a new dessert can feel like.

The problem doesn’t have anything to do with a lack of options, but in finding a way to combine familiar pieces into something that won’t bore you to death. Knowing the season helps narrow things down, but you still have to assemble the “outfit” one element at a time.

To that end, pastry cream is the chunky cable knit sweater of desserts.

piping pastry cream

All by itself it’s kinda boring, but layered with other elements it becomes the foundation for countless outfits desserts. Unlike that sweater, you can “dye” pastry cream any flavor to match the season or your mood, but vanilla bean never goes out of style.

On the front end, try steeping the milk with coffee beans, tea leaves, stone fruit pits, roasted nuts, herbs or whole spices in addition to vanilla bean pods. Bring the milk to a simmer with your flavoring agent, then shut off the heat and let ‘em hang out til you’re happy with the flavor.

Tea leaves and herbs can get bitter with oversteeping, sometimes in as little as five minutes, so taste frequently. Coffee, nuts and bananas get exponentially more awesome the longer the steep, so let ‘em go for a few hours or even overnight in the fridge. Once the time’s up, warm the milk and strain out whatever you added (giving it a good squeeze to extract all the flavor).

You can also flavor pastry cream by whipping the finished product with peanut butter, nutella, caramel, melted chocolate, ground spices, extracts and liquors to taste. Just don’t overdo it on the liquid elements, lest you give the pastry cream a soupy texture.

Raid your recipe box (or mine) for other elements and build a full fledged dessert around humble pastry cream. Serve it under fresh or roasted fruit, with a crispy cookie on the side. Pipe it into cream puffs or beignets. Layer with ‘nilla wafers and bananas for puddin'’. Beat in equal parts soft butter to make German buttercream, lighten it with chantilly to make mousse-like diplomat cream, or cut it with meringue and bake as a soufflé.

Pastry Cream, 6 cups
32 ounces whole milk (use coconut milk for a non-dairy version)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped or 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
5 whole eggs (about 8.75 ounces)
2 egg yolks (about 1.5 ounces)
10 ounces sugar
3 ounces cornstarch
1/4 tsp kosher salt

Bring the milk, along with the vanilla bean (and/or other flavoring agents), to a boil in a large pot. Turn off heat and set aside to steep for at least one hour, or as long as overnight in the fridge, just take care if steeping an ingredient that gets bitter over time, like tea.

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and yolks together with the sugar, cornstarch, salt, and vanilla bean seeds. Whisk vigorously to break up any lumps.

Meanwhile, bring the milk back to a simmer. Remove the vanilla bean, using a spatula to scrape out the milky-vanilla goo inside each pod half before discarding the bean. If using other flavoring agents, strain them through a sieve and re-weigh the milk to make sure you haven’t lost too much in the process. Coffee beans and nuts, for example, can absorb a lot of milk. If needed, add more milk to bring it back to 32 ounces.

Next, 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 to warm the eggs.

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 so thick), carry on for a full minute to thoroughly cook the starchiness out of the cornstarch.

Now, 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, then cool in an ice bath or the fridge until cold.

Before using, use a hand or stand mixer to beat the cold pastry cream for two or three minutes to restore its creamy texture.

vanilla bean pastry cream

Variations

Fork!

In addition to all the ideas mentioned above, here are a few suggestions to get you started.

Banana

Slice 8 ripe bananas and add them in with the milk and vanilla bean at the beginning. After simmering the milk, cool it to room temperature then refrigerate overnight for the best flavor. After steeping, return the mixture to a simmer and pour through a sieve. Press firmly on the bananas with a rubber spatula to release as much liquid as possible, but not so hard that you force any banana pulp through the sieve. Discard the banana pulp (or save for smoothies or muffins) and proceed with the recipe as directed.

St-Germain (as seen here)

Make the recipe just as written above but decrease the milk by 8 ounces. After the custard has finished cooking and is removed from the heat, whisk in 6 ounces of St-Germain. Cool the custard as described above. You can use this method with other liquors, but based on their flavor and intensity, you may need less. St-Germain has a delicate flavor and it takes a lot to flavor the pastry cream; bourbon, for example, will get the job done with much less.

Coffee

Steep 6 ounces of dark roasted coffee beans with the milk for at least four hours, or so long as overnight.

Blueberry Violette

This version has enough extra steps to warrant its own recipe, rather than trying to cram a full explanation here. Check out the details (and photo) here.

Fork!

« Back to the Recipe Box



Any questions?

Jul 07, 2012 ·  3:10 PM

I’m going to try throwing your strawberry reduction in this recipe—YUM

 · Susan · 

Jul 08, 2012 ·  2:43 PM

@Susan, Sounds like the great basis for some cream puffs or fruit tarts. You shouldn’t have any problems so long as you don’t add too much. I’d say no more than 7 or 8 ounces, max.

Stella

Jul 22, 2012 ·  2:31 PM

how long could i try to keep this in the refrigerator?

 · O · 

Jul 22, 2012 ·  3:01 PM

@O, I’d give it four or five days for sure, maybe less if you do fruit flavors or something with a delicate flavor that can degrade over time. It will stiffen considerably in the fridge, so be sure to beat it until it’s creamy before using.

Stella

Aug 15, 2012 ·  4:09 AM

How do the results differ if you whip it cool versus refrigerating it cool?

 · breadoflife · 

Nov 05, 2012 ·  1:26 PM

Never thought about using coconut milk…will have to try that, ASAP!

 · Cowen Park Kitchen · cowenparkkitchen.blogspot.com

Nov 05, 2012 · 10:35 PM

Pastry cream itself is not my favorite pastry element, but it is so versatile that I use it often at home with several additions to make it come alive. I love folding vanilla pastry cream with fresh whipped cream for a light filling, or eating it mixed with berries inside cakes. Some of your variations are so interesting and delightful. Thank you for sharing!

 · Rachel · lifeinbatches.com

Nov 05, 2012 · 10:54 PM

I never realized how close it was to making a base for ice cream. So cool!

 · Aly · fudgingahead.wordpress.com

Nov 06, 2012 ·  2:07 AM

How long will this last while kept in the fridge? Can’t wait to try this!

 · Ashley Moraes · 

Nov 06, 2012 ·  8:28 AM

I made this a few times, but didn’t realize how versatile it could be. Am trying it again soon

 · Radhika · sinsationscakes.wordpress.com

Nov 06, 2012 ·  8:53 AM

@breadoflife, no real difference except in the time it takes. Stirring to cool is faster, but chilling in the fridge is hand’s off. They’ll both wind up with the same texture.

@CPK, the coconut milk version is great! Subtle coconut flavor, great with a splash of rum.

@Rachel, I know what you mean. I’ve never said, “oh, boy! pastry cream!” But once you’ve tinkered with the flavor (and texture) it always winds up as surprisingly delightful.

@Aly, very similar method, except that in this case you definitely want it to bubble! Ice cream wouldn’t appreciate that step.

@Ashley, about a week, if covered tightly.

@Radhika, have fun experimenting!

Stella

Nov 06, 2012 ·  9:17 AM

this is the type of pastry cream recipe i’ve been wanting to find for a loong time now!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i love how it is thick enough to pipe, and not wobbly other pastry cream recipes i have used.
thanks, stella!! this post was awesome as usual

 · megan · whyisfoodsogood.blogspot.com

Nov 06, 2012 ·  5:39 PM

I laughed so hard when I read , “pastry cream is the chunky cable knit sweater of desserts.”

I have always believed that If there were a LBD (little black dress) of the food world, party sandwiches would be it.

Much like that little black dress, equally at home at funerals or wedding showers, party sandwiches never seem out of place. They are just as appropriate in 2012 as they were in 1975. Like the LBD, they never go out of style.

I love the idea of coconut milk in pastry cream. My mind is whirling from all the possibilities you presented.

Thanks Stella!

 · saltandserenity · www.saltandserenity

Nov 07, 2012 ·  9:17 AM

@megan, oh yeah. It’s super thick. For tarts and things, I definitely prefer it lightened with whipped cream first, to counteract all that density. But once you re-whip it after chilling, it’s nice and creamy despite its thickness.

@saltandserenity, haha, I always said brownies were the LBD of desserts. Bake ‘em in a regular pan and cut them into squares for a casual dessert, bake ‘em in a tart pan or mini tart pans and drizzle with ganache for something dinner party worthy. Together, with party sandwiches, they will rule all occasions!

Stella

Nov 07, 2012 · 12:54 PM

Is there something else you can use to thicken besides corn starch? I have someone at work that can’t have corn anything.

 · Debi · 

Nov 08, 2012 ·  9:29 AM

Hi Debi! You can use flour to thicken pastry cream. It requires a lot more to get the job done (which is why I don’t use it), but for a friend in need, it would work out nicely. Since I haven’t tried it myself with this particular formulation, I’m going to point you to a recipe from my friend Emma at the Kitchn rather than try to convert this one to flour for you. Good luck!

Stella

Nov 09, 2012 · 10:48 PM

I make this at work all the time, but for some reason its never entered my “at home” repertoire. It sounds like I should! When you sub coconut milk, I’m guessing you use canned? (rather than the cartons I’ve seen a few places)

 · Kate · www.katesshortandsweets.com

Nov 10, 2012 ·  9:56 AM

Hi Kate! I do used canned. I haven’t run across the cartons though, I’ll have to keep an eye out so I can see if those are good too. In any case, just make sure to look for coconut milks that don’t contain any added sugar, which would screw up the recipe.

Stella

Nov 12, 2012 ·  6:25 AM

@ Debi you can use potato starch instead of the corn starch at the same ratio and cook the same.

 · Drea · 

Nov 13, 2012 ·  1:44 AM

how do you get your pastry cream soo white? are your egg yolks white or something, lol? i have hens in the backyard…their egg yolks are almost orange…so pastry cream always comes out deep yellow and bright. are the store bought egg yolks lighter in color? i haven’t bought eggs in years.

 · ando1135 · 

Nov 13, 2012 ·  8:54 AM

@Drea, thanks for the tip! I haven’t tried that, but will have to check it out!

@ando1135, store bought eggs are definitely lighter in color, but I’m actually using farm eggs too. Seven yolks, even dark ones, spread over two quarts of dairy turns out… well, like the picture. When you make pastry cream, are you using this recipe or a different one? It could be that you do have especially intense yolks, or it could just be you’re using a recipe that has a lower egg:dairy ratio which causes the color to be stronger too. Hmmmm…

Stella

Nov 14, 2012 ·  6:09 AM

Oh no!!

I was planning to make your chocolate ice cream, the one with ganache, and came to write down the recipe, but it seems to have disappeared! Can you help?

 · Marcy · prochaskas.wordpress.com

Nov 14, 2012 ·  6:21 PM

Hi Marcy! Oh, I was doing some web maintenance and took it down, I will email you a copy.

Stella

Nov 15, 2012 ·  7:22 AM

Thank you! Did I mention I am hoping to make it today for a party Saturday?! If you sent the recipe to my other email, I did not receive it, so I am giving you a different email to try.

I made the strawberry (same party) yesterday — judging from the scrapings of the can, it’s going to be fantastic.

 · Marcy · prochaskas.wordpress.com

Nov 16, 2012 ·  5:14 PM

Can you use almond milk?

 · Marisa · 

Nov 16, 2012 ·  9:32 PM

I still hope to get your recipe at some point — but for this weekend I cobbled together a recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Ganache ice cream and David Lebowitz’s Bittersweet. I love how smooth and mousse-like it is!

 · Marcy · prochaskas.wordpress.com

Nov 17, 2012 ·  7:50 PM

@Marisa, you know, I’ve never tried it, but I can’t imagine why it wouldn’t work. It may not have quite the same luxurious body, but would still be pretty nice, I bet!

@Marcy, oooh, I’ll have to check it out. Haven’t seen it before.

Stella

Nov 20, 2012 ·  4:34 PM

Hi! Is it okay to use lactose-free whole milk for this recipe? Thanks!

 · Kelsey · 

Nov 20, 2012 ·  4:46 PM

Hi Kelsey! I don’t think that would be a problem at all. Happy baking!

Stella

Nov 20, 2012 ·  5:20 PM

Okay, thank you! Also, I’ve tried making pastry cream in the past and as it was cooking, it began to get lumpy/grainy. Is there a way to prevent this?

 · Kelsey · 

Nov 20, 2012 ·  5:40 PM

Hi Kelsey. It could be a few things… One, if you’re using a pot that has thin metal, it may just be conducting heat too fast, so I always like to use a heavy bottomed pot. Second, it could just be the heat’s on too high. Last: do you use a whisk to stir the whole time? Because of the thickness of the custard, just stirring isn’t enough, it needs to be whisked. I have read that lactose free milk is more prone to curdling, so you may just need to cool longer over a lower temperature to help it along. Alternately, you could use coconut milk, which makes a fabulous pastry cream and is (of course) lactose free.

Stella

Nov 21, 2012 ·  8:58 AM

Thank you so much for all of your help! I’m going to try it out with the coconut milk instead. I’m also going to use a heavy bottomed pot as you suggested. I just have one more question.. What are the conversions for this recipe from oz. to cups?

 · Kelsey · 

Nov 21, 2012 ·  9:12 AM

Hi Kelsey. I don’t know the answer to that question, actually! I do all of my baking by weight exclusively and there is no universal conversion to cups. People always say “1 cup is eight ounces” but that is not true. Different ingredients have different densities, and so a cup of flour weighs about half as much as a cup of sugar, and so on. If you’d like to read a bit more of a detailed explanation, check out this post about Why Weight. You can pick up a kitchen scale for as little as $25 at a Target or Bed Bath & Beyond, and it will be a lifelong companion in the kitchen.

Stella

Nov 27, 2012 ·  3:09 PM

Hi Stella, I want to use the pastry cream as a filling for a cake. I want to include whipped cream. How much should I use? Thank you.

 · luv2cook · 

Nov 29, 2012 ·  9:17 AM

Hi luv2cook! It’s really a matter of taste, how light you want to make it and how much you are willing to dilute the flavor (if using some flavor other than vanilla or something you can adjust with extract). But for a half batch of pastry cream (5 cups) I fold in 12 ounces of cream, whipped with 4 ounces of sugar and a pinch of salt and a splash of vanilla or whatever extract you like. Hope that helps!

Stella

Dec 11, 2012 ·  9:23 AM

Hi Stella!
It’s great! I want to make it to 1 cup.
Should I use two whole eggs?
Or an egg with two yolks?
Thanks.

 · Gohar · 

Dec 11, 2012 ·  6:36 PM

Hi Gohar! I like using the egg + yolk combo because of the extra richness, but for such a teeny tiny batch, I’d be hard to replicate that same balance. I’d just use one whole egg and call it a day.

Stella

Dec 30, 2012 ·  6:36 PM

I just took the mixture off the stove and transferred it to my stand mixer to cool and stir… Is it supposed to be like pudding?

 · Aeriae · 

Dec 30, 2012 ·  7:08 PM

Hi Aeriae! Yup! It’ll get very thick after it cools, but while it’s warm (or room temperature) it’ll be super soft and creamy.

Stella

Feb 01, 2013 ·  6:20 PM

Question: Why doesn’t your pastry cream have butter in it? I made it today and it is fabulous, I love the creaminess of it. In all the kitchens I have worked, I have never had a recipe that didn’t include butter. Did you omit it? Don’t think it necessary? Just wondering Thanks Stella!!

 · Joan · 

Feb 02, 2013 · 11:48 AM

Hi Joan! I’m glad you liked it. For me, the butter was always overkill, pastry cream’s plenty rich on its own. The butter also makes it stiffer when cold, which is never a good thing. Since it wasn’t adding any qualities I liked, I ditched it!

Stella

Feb 06, 2013 ·  2:15 PM

Thank you so much for not only your recipes but the follow-up questions and answers. I first discovered you through a quest for carrot cake and have learned quite a bit from you and the other extremely talented bakers who comment. Thank you so much!

 · pc501 · 

Feb 06, 2013 · 11:46 PM

So, I feel like these are silly questions, but I must ask. I want to make the banana infused cream for a banoffee-inspired pie. Do you recommend a specific mix-in for a creamy pie filling? (I would prefer something a teensy bit more stable than whipped cream but I’m flexible.)

Last question: to fill two pies, ya think I need a full batch of pastry cream?

 · emily | nomnivorous · www.nomnivorous.com

Feb 07, 2013 ·  9:23 AM

@pc501, thanks for stopping by! You’ll have to let me know if you ever give my carrot cake a shot!

@emily, believe it or not, folding whipped cream in actually gives a pretty stable filling, so long as you keep the ratio of pastry cream to chantilly low. I’ve never used it in a pie, so I don’t know how precisely “sliceable” it is, but it’s still pretty thick. Not sure how deep your pie pans are, but I would definitely err on the side of caution and make a full batch for two pies.

If you have any extra, just whip it with butter (to make a German buttercream) and then you can freeze it. Always good in an emergency. If you’ve seen my banana ice cream post, that’s a good technique for infusing banana flavor in pretty much anything. I’ve made banana pastry cream a million times before… Just stir it frequently, for some reason it is especially prone to scorching on the bottom.

Stella

Feb 07, 2013 · 11:12 AM

Thanks! I used your banana infusing technique on a test batch of pastry cream, but I did not use your pastry cream recipe for some reason. Silly me, as my test batch came out way too thick. But I trust your recipe. Thanks for responding! <3

 · emily | nomnivorous · www.nomnivorous.com

Feb 08, 2013 ·  7:06 AM

Hi Emily! Hope it turns out with the texture you’re aiming for. For a batch this size, I usually cut it with chantilly made in this amount: 4 oz sugar, 12 oz cream, pinch salt.

Stella

Feb 08, 2013 ·  5:14 PM

I have a question about this pastry cream vs your German buttercream recipe. I noticed that the German buttercream recipe is basically half of this recipe with the exception of the sugar (10 oz in both recipes). I wanted to make the pastry cream & then use half the recipe for German butter cream. Do you recommend using this recipe or doubling the German Buttercream recipe and using 20 oz sugar? Thank you for sharing your expertise!

 · Shauna · 

Feb 08, 2013 ·  7:44 PM

Hi Shauna! Yeah, the buttercream has relatively more sugar because it has to be sweet enough to still be sweet even after all that butter is mixed in. Really, you can go either way.

If you doubled the pastry cream from the German buttercream recipe, the part that you use as a straight pastry cream may seem a little sweet. You could easily temper that with a pinch of salt, or some unsweetened cream, whipped. Or you could make a double batch of plain pastry cream and use the leftovers for buttercream, just bearing in mind it’ll need a shot of caramel or corn syrup or something sweet.

Hope that makes sense, let me know if I can explain anything better!

Stella

Feb 12, 2013 ·  1:51 AM

I love how versatile this recipe is!! I want to use this pastry cream recipe but make two different variations out of the one recipe (3 cups coffee, 3 cups plain). I can’t exactly split 5 eggs evenly (if only!), so how should I go about adjusting the measurements?

 · Mei · 

Feb 12, 2013 ·  7:13 PM

Hi Mei! Actually, it wouldn’t be a big deal if you cracked one egg, whisked it really, really well, then poured it in half. But if not, just round the whole egg content up to six (omitting the yolk) and use 3 eggs per batch. Should turn out just fine.

Stella

Feb 16, 2013 ·  7:24 PM

would you say 1 cup of pastry cream would be enough to fill the 20 cream puffs in your pate a choux recipe?

thanks

 · Olivia · 

Feb 16, 2013 · 11:05 PM

Hi Olivia! Really, it depends on the exact size you pipe the cream puffs, and how much filling you like inside each. I would probably budget closer to 1.5 cups, that way each puff would get at least an ounce of filling. If you made very small ones, you could get away with one cup, though. Hope that helps!

Stella

Feb 23, 2013 · 11:36 PM

If you were to make a coconut flavored pastry cream, would you just use an extract?

 · Mona · 

Feb 24, 2013 ·  1:10 AM

Hi Mona! Coconut pastry cream is the business. You can totally use an extract, and/or you can replace the milk and cream with unsweetened coconut milk (my favorite). Just be careful with the extract, it can go from coconutty to suntan lotiony pretty quick.

Stella

Feb 27, 2013 ·  4:00 PM

Hi Stella, Question first: I am thinking of infusing fresh basil into the cream for a fresh fruit tart. Can you suggest how much basil to use, and how long to steep it? Also, any suggestions on fruit pairings?

thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge in a way that ordinary folks like me can imitate and learn. I discovered your site via the Gilt article + recipe on Red Wine Velvet Cake. The cake turned out so well that it’s become my husband’s favorite, something that he has me showcase to his colleagues. The history is a great bonus. We now serve the cake paired with the wine that’s in it, usually a rich Valipoliceli. Your explanations of techniques really help, an make me want to try more recipes. Thanks again and warmest congrats on the best pastry chef award!!

 · ballardelle · 

Feb 27, 2013 ·  7:49 PM

I made these tarts for my daughters Tea Party themed Baby Shower…. they were incredible! I made the vanilla pastry cream (with sliced kiwi, or assorted berries on top) AND the coffee flavored pastry cream (but added a little cocoa in with the coffee flavored pastry cream and a little cocoa in the tart shells… with shaved chocolate on top). It was a big hit! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful recipe! I will be making them every chance I get!

 · Kathryn · 

Feb 27, 2013 ·  8:07 PM

I did have one picture… though not the best. I zoomed in on a picture of one of the tables. Unfortunately I did not get to many pictures during the event. http://www.reverendkat.com/photos/20130217BabyShower023a.jpg

 · Kathryn · 

Feb 27, 2013 · 11:04 PM

Hi Ballardelle! Basil pastry cream sounds fab! I make it at work actually; what I do is process 3 ounces of fresh basil leaves with the sugar in a food processor, then make the recipe as normal. No need to steep, the flavor will be extracted quite intensely as-is and the leaf pieces will be strained out at the end.

Basil and strawberry would be the classic pairing, but melons work really nicely too, especially an assortment in different colors and sizes (scooped in different sizes, I mean).

So, so happy to hear the red velvet was a hit! Thanks for stopping by.

Hi Kathryn! OMG, thanks so much for sharing a picture! They look fabulous. I love that you made the coffee variation, that’s awesome.

Stella

Mar 27, 2013 · 12:53 PM

So when you say “32 ounces of whole milk”, are you weighing the milk on the scale (2lbs)? Thanks.

 · acakestory · www.acakestory.co

Mar 27, 2013 ·  6:31 PM

Hi acakestory! You got it. I weigh all of my ingredients, even the liquids. If you’d like to know a little bit more about why that is, I wrote a post on that very subject. You can check it out here.

Stella

Apr 17, 2013 ·  9:08 PM

Would this work for the basis of a custard square?

 · Katie · 

Apr 17, 2013 ·  9:14 PM

Hi Katie! I’m afraid I’ve never had a custard square before, but the pastry cream does set up nice and thick, so it would definitely be sliceable after refrigeration. Hope that gives you a little more info to go on!

Stella

May 17, 2013 ·  9:54 AM

I have a friend that wants a bourbon creme or coffee liqueur filling in a French vanilla cake. Could I adjust this recipe to make it work or is there something else you may recommend?

 · Kemberly · 

May 17, 2013 ·  7:27 PM

HI Kemberly! I think this could definitely fit the bill. You could reduce the milk by a few ounces, then stir in your liquor of choice at the end. I like to lighten a batch of pastry cream with about 8 ounces of whipped cream, to make it nice and soft, when used as a filling for cakes. Otherwise it’s a little thick for my tastes, though you may not think so. Make it a bit in advance so you can judge the thickness of the cooled custard before using it, then adjust to suit. Good luck!

Stella

May 18, 2013 ·  2:20 PM

Hi Stella, I’m rushed so it might already be answered, but can you freeze this?

 · Kathryn · 

May 18, 2013 · 10:17 PM

Hi Kathryn! Aw, I wish I could be more help, but I’ve never tried freezing it before, so I don’t know. I know that cornstarch doesn’t always hold up well if frozen/thawed/used, so my hopes are pretty low.

Stella

May 23, 2013 · 11:32 PM

Hi there Stella! Made this once before for some mini fresh fruits tarts and it was great Trying my hand at making some swan cream puff today for a friend and I thought this would ensure the neck to be a bit more stable, but I find that the pastry cream didn’t set well. Liquidy and hard to manage even straight out of the fridge and whipped about 1-2 minutes. Since I had success the first time round, what do you think could be the problem? Bigger eggs maybe? Taste good but the texture is oh so different!
TQ in advance!

 · Sharina · 

May 24, 2013 · 12:33 AM

Or should I have beat it longer maybe?

 · Sharina · 

May 27, 2013 ·  9:28 PM

Hi Sharina! Yeah, it sounds like maybe one or two too many eggs got into the mix. Generally, the eggs I use are about 1.75 ounces each, though the exact number of eggs the mixture can absorb is also dependent on the type of flour used too. I try to judge the batter by the shape it forms falling off the paddle, a V shape, rather than a hard and fast number. Hope this extra info gives you something to go on in the future!

Stella

May 28, 2013 ·  7:24 AM

Thanks Stella! Will try again and weigh the eggs this time

 · Sharina · 

May 31, 2013 ·  2:19 AM

Hi there Stella.
Tried this recipe again last 2 days and decided to decrease the yolk to just 1 seeing that my eggs might be bigger… and it turned out great! Just like the 1st time, it was nice and thick, and after beating it a while it was totally pipeable. Thanks!

 · Sharina · 

May 31, 2013 ·  9:03 AM

Oh, Sharina, yay!! I’m glad you were able to get to the bottom of it! I’ll weigh out the eggs next time to make it more accurate.

Stella

Jun 30, 2013 ·  4:01 PM

Hi! Just wondering…if i wanted to turn this plain pastry cream into your german buttercream WITHOUT doubling the recipe…how much butter would i have to add to the cooled pastry cream?

 · Hira · 

Jul 02, 2013 ·  7:02 AM

I’ve never tried pastry cream with whole eggs.. only with egg yolks. I guess this what gives the recipe this color.

 · Hala · 

Jul 02, 2013 ·  7:16 AM

Hi Hira! I’m not sure I fully understand the question? I think the “without doubling” part is throwing me since this recipe is already “doubled” compared to the custard in the German buttercream (well, kinda: it has twice the dairy and eggs, but half the sugar).

To buttercream-ify this recipe, you’d need to whip in 4 pounds of soft, unsalted butter. With 10 ounces of sugar spread over a 6 pound yield (weight of butter + rough weight of custard), the resulting buttercream will almost taste unsweetened, which is why I changed the ratio for the German buttercream recipe.

Hope that I’m answering your question. If not, please let me know!

Hi Hala! The recipe has a lot of egg yolks over all, but using whole eggs helps give it a more substantial body, which makes it easier to use as a filling, etc.

Stella

Jul 02, 2013 ·  3:01 PM

This sounds like the perfect addition to the mocha cake I bake for my husband’s birthday every year. With a splash of Irish Cream!

 · Vicki-Lou · 

Jul 02, 2013 ·  6:02 PM

Hi Vicki-Lou, oh absolutely! It sounds great! You can even cut down on the milk by a few ounces to account for the booze you’ll add later, so you don’t have to worry about altering the texture. Happy baking!

Stella

Jul 06, 2013 ·  1:56 AM

Oh wow I didnt expect a reply so quick! And yes you did answer my question. I just wanted to know how much butter to add to this recipe to make it buttercreamy. You said 4 pounds…so thanks!

p.s. I actually went out and bought a scale just for this recipe. Lol.

 · Hira · 

Jul 06, 2013 ·  2:10 AM

Also, I weighed my eggs… they are about 2.3 ounces each…should i adjust the recipe at all? I need to make sure that the cream is thick and pipe-able. I read a previous post about egg weight so that’s why I’m asking. LOVE your blog by the way…one of the coolest I’ve come across!

 · Hira · 

Jul 06, 2013 · 11:39 AM

Hi Hira! Oh, wow, your eggs are definitely bigger than mine! Mine are 1.75 ounces each. That being the case, I’d use 8.75 ounces of whole egg and 1.5 ounces of egg yolk. I’ll update the recipe too, thanks for bringing up the point!

Stella

Jul 06, 2013 · 11:47 AM

Hi Hira! If you don’t want to wind up with 6 pounds of buttercream (a looooot of buttercream!), definitely stick with the ratio in the German recipe. Congrats on the scale, though! You are armed and dangerous to make lots and lots of recipes now.

Stella

Jul 06, 2013 ·  2:02 PM

Thanks so much for your helpful replies! I appreciate you taking the time out to answer questions!

 · Hira · 

Jul 06, 2013 ·  2:13 PM

No problem! It’s my favorite part about having a blog, it’s fun to meet all sorts of other people who love baking too. Hope it turns out how you’d like!

Stella

Jul 07, 2013 ·  7:29 PM

Just wanted to let you know…it turned out PERFECT! Thanks for the great recipe.

 · Hira · 

Jul 10, 2013 ·  7:00 PM

Thanks for reporting back, Hira, hurray!! So glad you were happy with the results.

Stella

Jul 19, 2013 ·  1:22 AM

Hi! Is it supposed to have a floury taste? I dont know how to describe it…like the cream is smooth, no lumps, pipeable, perfect sweetness, but when i eat it i get a sort of floury taste in my mouth…what could be the culprit?

 · Hira · 

Jul 19, 2013 ·  3:40 PM

Hi Hira! Oh, no, not at all! Couple of quick questions, did you use a scale and did you cook the mixture at a boil for a full minute? Without a scale it might be that there’s too much cornstarch in the mix, which would definitely give it a strange flavor or texture. Also, without cooking it at a full boil for a whole minute, the cornstarch may not be fully cooked (“hydrated” , which can give the custard a starchy texture. Those are my first two thoughts, but with a little more info I may be able to think of something else.

Stella

Jul 25, 2013 ·  7:08 PM

Hmm i did use a scale…and i did cook for a minute…used a timer and everything. lol…maybe i did just get too much cornstarch in it by accident. Will try again.

 · Hira · 

Jul 26, 2013 ·  4:20 PM

Hi Hira, aw, it’s just getting more mysterious! The only other thing I could think of us if based on your burner size and the type of pot (enamel, stainless, etc) that the mixture was just cooking more gently than I would expect. If you’re not already, I would recommend using a stainless steel pot over medium heat, ideally on a medium sized burner. Hope this is just a fluke!

Stella

Oct 26, 2013 · 12:59 PM

I plan on trying your pastry cream to fill some eclairs to take to work. If I make this on a Sunday night, whip it Monday night to get it nice and smooth then fill the eclairs, then go ahead and refrigerate them until about 30 minutes prior to serving, will this still result in a nice creamy filling or will it be too thick? I could rewhip the cream Tuesday at lunch then fill and take them with me and leave unrefrigerated for a couple of hours if that would be better. Thanks for any advice.

 · Miss Tori · mycakebytori.blogspot.com

Oct 26, 2013 ·  1:03 PM

Oh, one more question. I understand that you weigh all your ingredients, including the liquid. However, can you tell me approximately how much of the whole milk I should buy to equal the 32 oz by weight? We don’t use a ton of milk in our house so I like to only purchase what I’m going to use, to prevent wasting product or money. Thanks!

 · Miss Tori · mycakebytori.blogspot.com

Oct 28, 2013 · 11:31 AM

Hi Miss Tori! Sorry for the delayed response, I was out of town over the weekend and away from my laptop. You’ve probably figured it out on your own, but both your plans sound perfectly grand. Whipping and chilling 30 minutes will give a filling that’s still nice and creamy, and the filling certainly won’t mind sitting out for a few hours. Lastly, 32 ounces of milk would be equivalent to a quart sized container. Probably too late to be of any help, but maybe not!

Stella

Dec 07, 2013 ·  2:26 PM

Hi Stella,
Can I add jam into the pastry cream when it is done? Or I should better steep fruit in milk? Thanks!

 · Niki · 

Dec 07, 2013 ·  3:25 PM

Hi Niki! I’m not sure that jam would be the best option, but it probably depends on the recipe. To flavor pastry cream, I recommend using fruit reductions, which have much lower water content than a typical jam (and are thus more flavorful).

Whatever you do don’t steep fruits in the milk, unless you’re talking about a really low acid fruit, like a banana. Otherwise, when you heat the milk, the acid in the fruit will cause it to curdle.

Stella

Feb 14, 2014 · 10:56 PM

Hi, can I get the measurements of this recipe in gr and ml? cos we don’t use ounce here , and we have wrong perception about converting ounce to gr. if you don’t mind, can you email to me? thankyou

 · Jee · 

Feb 16, 2014 · 10:59 AM

Hi Jee! As an American pastry chef, I don’t use grams, but you can make the conversion very easily. Simply multiply the number of ounces by 28.35. Using mL will not be necessary, all of my recipes are measured in terms of weight, not volume.

Stella

Feb 22, 2014 ·  4:56 PM

If you use when torting a cake, how long can it sit out without refrigeration? Thinking in terms of a wedding cake

 · Pam · 

Feb 24, 2014 · 10:14 AM

Hi Pam! Usually, a wedding cake is refrigerated overnight and brought out/delivered some six hours in advance, but the internal temperature remains fairly cool. With this pastry cream, I’d say you have a solid 12 hour window. The real concern here wouldn’t be food safety (it would take much, much longer to spoil), but texture. Let me know if you have any other questions!

Stella

Feb 28, 2014 ·  2:56 AM

This sounds so easy. Going to try but could you send me the recipe ingredients quantity in metrics version.

 · CK · 

Feb 28, 2014 · 11:41 AM

Hi CK! I’m an American, so I don’t use metric for my recipes. Google can easily handle the conversions for you, or you can grab a calculator and simply multiply each ingredient by 28.35 to convert to grams.

Stella

Mar 18, 2014 · 12:43 AM

after chilling pastry cream overnight or just just chilling a few hours, when or how do I incorporate coffee liquor into my pastry cream? How will this not make it slightly runny?

 · jeff · 

Mar 18, 2014 · 11:07 AM

Hi Jeff! You can add a tablespoon or so safely to the warm pastry cream (I like to add it before chilling). But for a stronger flavor my preferred method is described in the “Saint Germain” variation. Make the pastry cream with a few ounces less liquid overall, so you can safely add a few ounces of liquor into the pastry cream immediately after cooking.

Stella

Mar 24, 2014 · 11:16 AM

How would I make this into a Caramel Pastry Cream? Thanks!!

 · azsny · 

Mar 26, 2014 · 11:28 AM

Hi azsny! I’d recommend decreasing the milk by 2 ounces, but otherwise making the pastry cream as directed. After straining, you can stir in caramel to taste.

Stella

Apr 22, 2014 · 12:10 PM

Hi Stella,
I was looking for a good pastry cream recipe for strawberry mille-feuille’s I was making, and I came across yours…Perfection is all I can say! The taste, the consistency…and it get’s even better if left overnight in the fridge!
I had a little under 32 ounces of milk, so I added a bit of heavy cream. But other than that, I followed your recipe and instructions to the T!! It was just amazing! And paired with puff pastry and strawberries…to die for!!
Thank you so much!!

 · Tuba · jarofvanilla.com

Apr 22, 2014 ·  1:09 PM

Hi Tuba! I’m so glad you liked it, thanks for taking the time to let me know. And yeah, a splash of cream never hurt anybody. Sounds like you’ve got an excellent spring dessert at hand. Happy baking!

Stella

May 04, 2014 ·  6:34 PM

Recently I’ve made a small batch of coconut milk version, and it kinda split. It was edible, not horrible, but noticeable – a separated oily/greasy part. All recipes usually warn about not cooking the cornstach enough, I think I actually overcooked it for several minutes. Is it poosible to ruin cornstarch thickening power by overcooking it?

 · ceca · 

May 05, 2014 ·  6:15 PM

Hi ceca! Yeah, you can definitely overcook cornstarch, especially if cooked longer than a minute or two. I’m also wondering if perhaps we had a difference in coconut milk, such as lite or coconut cream, etc. I use plain coconut milk (full fat); for comparison sake, the ingredients are coconut milk, water and guar, about 14g fat per serving. Let me know how that might jibe with your experience and we'll figure this out.

Stella

May 05, 2014 ·  7:00 PM

Hi Stella
Not sure what’s your serving size, my coconut milk has around 17-18% fat. I don’t think that’s the problem, I got carried away, probably cooked it for a good 4 minutes or more
While I’m ranting, I’ve seen some famous pastry chefs recommend flour (pure or in a combo) as a thickener. The quantity is around 180% up to double that of the cornstarch, and the cooking time is also longer. Maybe I’m totally wrong, but I think it’s because: a. It’s harder to overcook the flour the way I did it. b. It tolerates freezing better

 · ceca · 

May 13, 2014 ·  4:02 PM

Hi! Vanilla beans around me are ridiculously expensive. Can I substitute the vanilla beans for vanilla extract or vanilla powder?

 · Christine · 

May 13, 2014 ·  4:04 PM

ok, never mind. I just reread the ingredients and there was a substitution for vanilla extract. Sorry about that! Here’s hoping mine tastes as good as yours looks!!

 · Christine · 

May 21, 2014 · 10:54 AM

Hi Ceca, yeah 4 minutes of cooking would definitely overdo it for cornstarch. I’m not a huge fan of flour because you do need to much for an equal amount of thickening, and so it runs a much higher risk of tasting pastry or starchy. Tapioca starch is a great alternative, though. It has very similar thickening properties, and is great for freezing.

Hi Christine, glad you found the info you need! Just as an FYI, most specialty shops/grocery stores sell vanilla beans at an astronomical mark up. If you go to Amazon or a website called Beanilla, you can buy order vanilla beans for under $2/bean and usually free shipping, especially if your order a larger amount. But otherwise you are right! They are too expensive to fool with.

Stella

Jun 04, 2014 ·  7:48 PM

So the 32 oz. milk is by weight not volume?

 · Dave77 · 

Jun 07, 2014 · 12:22 PM

Hi Dave77! That’s correct, I only use weight measurements.

Stella

Jun 16, 2014 ·  8:52 PM

I want to make some cream horns. I have a puff pastry recipe. I have tried ro find a cream that I would like. I don’t like the white ons made with palm shortning but I will be taki this to a picnic this weekend (90+ degrees) can this be in heat at all? I sure hope so because it is for a very special freind.

Oh and arrow root can be used instead of corn starch

 · Hailey · 

Jun 18, 2014 · 10:39 AM

Hi Hailey! This recipe is a real trooper in the heat, so it should suit your needs wonderfully. I know arrowroot is commonly used in recipes such as this, but I don’t know if you need to adjust the quantity to get a similar thickness/gel. A special occasion may not be the best time to experiment…

Stella

Jun 22, 2014 ·  1:33 PM

I would like to know if i can freeze it already as a filling in a three layer cake….as i want to make it in advanced for time reasons…..so the day i just unfreeze and cover with italian meringue….my “genoise layers cake” will be moistened with a three milk syrop….can it be possible with no changes in the cream texture? or the less changes? thank you so much….

 · Cecilia Eljure · 

Jun 25, 2014 · 10:08 AM

Hi Cecilia! In my experience, pastry cream does not do well in the freezer. The ice formation and thawing process wreak havoc on the thickening power of cornstarch, and it can get very watery after a thaw. Tapioca starch is a freezer safe substitute for cornstarch, but as I haven’t used it myself I can’t tell you if it can be used in a 1:1 ratio or if it requires an adjustment. But the pastry cream will hold up very well for a few weeks in the fridge, if that’s helpful in your schedule at all.

Stella

Jul 15, 2014 · 11:33 PM

Would you use this cream for napoleons? Perhaps lighten it up a bit? I’ve been looking for a pastry cream to use for napoleons, but everything I try is either too sweet, or too soft etc. Wondering if using whipping cream would work..Your thoughts, paleeeze. I’m new to the world of french pastry…

 · Vimy · 

Jul 17, 2014 · 11:42 AM

Hi Vimy! It’s actually pretty stiff on its own, so you might want to make and cool a batch and judge for yourself how much you’d want to lighten it. I’d start by folding in about eight ounces of whipped cream, which will lighten it enough for Napoleons, but help retain enough structure so that it won’t squish out as you slice the napoleons.

Stella

Jul 21, 2014 · 11:54 AM

When making the pastry cream using coconut milk, how different is the consistency of the final product? I’m looking to make a banana pastry cream, but love the idea of using coconut milk in place. What about doing half coconut milk/half whole milk? Love your blog, thanks!

 · Carmen  · 

Aug 01, 2014 ·  1:51 PM

Hi Carmen! So long as you use a full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk, the texture is almost identical (in fact, a bit richer because coconut milk has a higher fat content than whole milk). Hope you enjoy!

Stella

Oct 28, 2014 ·  8:15 PM

Hi Stella, I’ve been searching the net for the answer to this question with no luck. Why do some dessert recipes, like this one, call for kosher salt? Sometimes I see it in cake recipes too.

Thanks!
Dana

 · Dana · 

Nov 03, 2014 ·  5:27 AM

Hi Stella, I’ve tried making French and Swiss buttercream to fill my macarons, but they all tasted too buttery for me even after adding cranberry syrup or other sour flavours. Do you think it would be alright to fill macarons with this pastry cream instead? Thank you!

 · fii · 



you?
 

After clicking "preview" you must click submit to post your comment.