Pastry Cream

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WHAT'S SPECIAL
Pastry cream, an essential pillar of pastry, is distinguished by its silky texture and delicately vanilla taste. A true kitchen chameleon, it goes wonderfully with a multitude of desserts. Easy to prepare and universally appreciated, it is the touch of elegance that transforms good desserts into memorable creations.

Pastry Cream

Pastry cream, or crème pâtissière, is a staple in the world of baking and pastry arts. Its delicate balance of eggs, milk, sugar, and flavorings exemplify the elegance and precision of classic pastry techniques.
Here are some of the most popular uses of pastry cream:
Filling for Éclairs and Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry): Pastry cream is the classic filling for these light, airy pastries, providing a creamy contrast to the crisp shell.
Fruit Tart Filling: It serves as a delicious and stable base for fresh fruit tarts, often spread over a pre-baked tart shell and topped with an assortment of fresh berries and fruits.
Layered in Cakes and Cupcakes: Pastry cream can be used as a filling between cake layers, adding moisture and flavor. It's also delightful when piped into the center of cupcakes.
Dessert Toppings and Fillings: It can be used as a topping or filling for various desserts, including trifles, mousses, and sweet crepes.
Diplomat Cream (Crème Diplomate): By folding whipped cream into pastry cream, you create a lighter, fluffier mixture known as diplomat cream, used in lighter desserts and cake fillings.
Pie and Tart Fillings: Beyond fruit tarts, pastry cream can be used as a filling for banana cream pie, coconut cream pie, and chocolate tarts, providing a rich, custardy base.
Danishes and Sweet Breads: A dollop of pastry cream can be added to the center of Danishes or swirled into sweet breads and rolls before baking.
Mille-Feuille (Napoleon): This classic French dessert layers puff pastry and pastry cream for a decadent treat, often topped with powdered sugar or a glaze.
Profiterole Filling: Similar to éclairs, small choux pastry balls filled with sweet pastry cream and often drizzled with chocolate sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Chilling Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Cuisine European
Servings 2 cups

Equipment

  • medium saucepan
  • whisk
  • mixing bowl
  • fine-mesh sieve
  • Plastic wrap
  • bowl (Optional: for the gelatin sheets)

Ingredients
  

  • 500 ml milk (2 cups)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds of 1 vanilla bean)
  • 80 g sugar
  • 4 egg yolks (60 g)
  • 25 g cornstarch
  • 20 g all-purpose flour
  • 20 g unsalted butter (2 tbsp)
  • 2 sheets gelatin (Optional- 4g)- By adding gelatin sheets to pastry cream, you can achieve a firmer texture that holds its shape beautifully, making it ideal for various dessert applications.

Instructions
 

  • Optional: (If you want a firmer texture) Soak the gelatin sheets in a bowl of cold water. This process, known as blooming, allows the gelatin to absorb water and soften. I takes about 5 minutes.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, vanilla extract and half of the sugar over medium heat until it just begins to simmer. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and the remaining sugar. Then add the cornstarch and flour and whisk until smooth and pale.
  • Gradually pour about half of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to temper the eggs.
  • Return the tempered egg mixture to the saucepan with the remaining milk. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat.
  • Optional: After the gelatin sheets have softened, gently squeeze out any excess water. You want the gelatin to be moist but not dripping wet. Transfer the softened gelatin sheets to the pastry cream and stir well until the gelatin melts completely.
  • Stir in the butter until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
  • Transfer the pastry cream into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.
  • Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before using.

Notes

 
  • Constant whisking while cooking is crucial to prevent the eggs from scrambling.
  • To flavor your pastry cream, consider adding citrus zest while heating the milk or mix in chocolate or espresso powder after removing the cream from heat.
Keyword Pastry Cream

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