The Creme Pâtissière is one of the basic of the French Patisserie. You will learn how to master this thick, creamy vanilla custard and be able to bake delicious French Pastries at home.

What do you need :

We need very little equipment: a saucepan, a whisk and a salad bowl will do!

Ingredients :

Milk – 500g

Sugar – 125g

Cornstarch – 50g

Eggs – 100g (about 2 eggs)

Vanilla Bean – 1/2 pod (to taste)

Crème Pâtissière Process :

The first step is to put the milk in a saucepan then pour in a little sugar (this sugar will coat the bottom of the pan, preventing t the milk from sticking to it as it heats up), and finish it off by adding in  the 1/2 vanilla pod that you will have split and scraped. While this is heating, you will weigh the rest of the ingredients (cornstarch, eggs, and the remaining sugar) and add them into a  bowl.

When the milk starts to simmer, cover your pan with saran plastic wrap and let it soak for at least 30 minutes (you can skip this step, but you will lose a lot of vanilla taste. I personally leave it soaking for up to 24 hours sometimes. In this case, you’ll have to warm up the milk again before continuing). Remove the vanilla pod and pour the mixture into the bowl with the remaining ingredients, then put everything back in the pan and heat it all again until boiling. Boil it for at least 2 more minutes (for good pasteurization).

Then, pour your crème pâtissière into a dish. Cover the pastry cream well with saran wrap, then place it in the refrigerator as quickly as possible until completely cooled.

The most common uses for Creme Pâtissière :

  • Pastries with a choux pastry (you can see the choux pastry recipe here) base, such as  éclairs or religieuses
  • Fresh fruit tarts with pâte sucrée or on Breton shortbread,
  • In raisin, Chinese, or Swiss breads 

Possible variations:

        • Crème pâtissière + whipped cream = crème diplomate
        • Crème pâtissière + almond cream = crème frangipane
        • Crème pâtissière + italian meringue = crème chiboust
        • Crème pâtissière + Butter (cold) = crème mousseline

For those who want to go even further, here are a few technical explanations:

Warming up the mixture in the bowl before putting it all back into the pan on the stove  avoids giving your mixture a major thermal shock, which can in turn make it lumpy.

The crème pâtissière is very sensitive to bacteria and germs. Remember to keep your utensils clean and well pasteurized. The cream lasts between 24 to 48 hours in your refrigerator.

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