How to Make Pastry Cream (or Creme Pat, as Paul says)

If you've been obsessed with the Great British Baking Show like I have been, you've probably wanted to run to the kitchen and whip up some Creme Pat or Creme Patissiere (Pastry Cream to you and me).
How to Make Pastry Cream, or Creme Patissiere
I just cannot get enough of this show...of Mary looking for soggy bottoms and Paul giving one his rare handshakes for an excellent creme pat. I'm late to the GBBS party, but I'm now very invested. ;)

Pastry Cream is the filling for eclairs and other pastries. You'll need this for a recipe coming your way soon. A recipe you NEED to make, so start thinking about pastry cream. It really isn't hard to make; it just seems intimidating.

scraping vanilla bean

You'll start off by scraping the seeds from a vanilla bean pod. (Every recipe should start this way.)

How to Make Pastry Cream, or Creme Patissiere

Those vanilla bean seeds (and the pod) get heated in some milk with sugar and salt. In a bowl, a little more milk gets whisked together with egg yolks, cornstarch, and flour.

How to Make Pastry Cream, or Creme Patissiere

Here's the part that seems scary. You're going to temper the eggs. That means you'll gradually warm them so that they don't scramble. To temper, whisk some of the hot milk into the egg mixture.

How to Make Pastry Cream, or Creme Patissiere

Then, you'll add that back into the pan and heat until thickened.

How to Make Pastry Cream, or Creme Patissiere

How to Make Pastry Cream, or Creme Patissiere

The entire batch gets poured through a sieve. It'll be thick, and you might need to coax it through. The sieve will catch the vanilla pods and any lumps that might be in your cream.

making pastry cream, step-by-step

At this point, it's smooth and quite thick.

How to Make Pastry Cream, or Creme Patissiere |

One last part: butter. *cue angels singing* Stirring in the butter turns that lovely, thick cream into a silky, glorious filling that is ready for pastries...or for a spoon.

Remember you'll be needing this soon.

Pastry Cream 

3 cups whole milk, divided
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon unbleached, all-purpose flour
4 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
1/2 vanilla bean
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

In a large bowl, whisk 1/4 cup milk, cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks. Set aside.

Combine the remaining 2 3/4 cup of the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add seeds and vanilla pod to the pan. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Remove from heat.

Gradually whisk about 1/2 of the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Pour the egg mixture back into the pan. Heat on medium heat, constantly stirring, until the mixture comes to a boil. Boil for 30 seconds then remove from heat.

Pour the mixture through a fine sieve placed over a bowl. Once the cream has gone through the sieve, stir in the butter until melted and combined.

Press plastic wrap directly onto the cream and chill thoroughly before using. Can be made ahead 2-3 days and kept in the refrigerator.

Pastry Cream. Creme Patissiere. Creme Pat. I think I love you.

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