(AKA Pastry Cream!) Crème Pâtissière is, at the center of it’s little French heart, just a custard thickened with a starch to make a sturdy confectioner’s product. By the way, custards themselves have a long and colourful history, dating back as far as the Middle Ages! Who knew? Well, that means it definitely counts as retro! Yup, we’re doin’ it Napoleon-style, since the French have planted their flag in the thickened custard.
If you have any dreams of pastry glory, you will need pastry cream to achieve it. It’s an incredibly flexible and versatile product, used for dozens of confections from fruit tarts to eclairs to the cronut recipe that is soon to follow! It can be flavoured quite easily right before you set it to cool with Grand Marnier or other liqueur, shaved chocolate, or fruit sauce. Or, if you want light and fluffy cream puffs, you can fold in whipped cream to the cooled product.
I love it. How can anyone hate something that makes this many awesome goods with which you can bribe your friends? And with a vanilla bean, you get those tiny little black flecks in your product that just scream “I AM AUTHENTIC, WORSHIP ME!”
If you’re feeling intimidated, don’t. It’s not nearly as difficult as it seems. Three pieces of advice: warm your eggs to room temperature before separating the yolk, go
s l o w l y
with adding the hot milk, and for the love of God and little green apples, don’t stop whisking!
Well, if you accidentally get egg lumps, you can pass it through your sieve as you return it to the stove for thickening, but honestly, if you are careful and sift the flour and starch, you’ll be OK. You will feel the need for speed. Don’t cave to the pressure and get flustered. A little advanced prep, and you will be ready to show this pastry cream who’s in charge of the kitchen.
Oooh la la!
|Prep time||10 minutes|
|Cook time||10 minutes|
|Total time||20 minutes|
|Meal type||Condiment, Dessert|
- 1 1/4 cup milk (2% or whole)
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons corn starch or corn flour
- 1/2 vanilla bean (or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract)
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 tbsp liqueur, grated chocolate, fruit sauce
The key to smooth pastry cream is speed. Don't be daunted! Just set all your ingredients out before you begin so that you have them at your fingertips and you don't have to leave your eggs sitting.
Wash and dry your seeded vanilla bean afterwards, and stick it in an airtight container full of white sugar for a few days to make vanilla sugar.
|Step 1.||Put the milk in a medium sized saucepan. Split the vanilla bean open with a sharp knife, and drop the bean into the milk. Set the milk heating on medium-high heat.|
|Step 2.||While the milk is heating, whisk your eggs, salt and sugar together. Drop the flour and cornstarch through a mesh strainer over your bowl to sift it, and whisk the powder into the egg until smooth and paste-like. Do not leave to sit--the egg will harden.|
|Step 3.||Your milk should be beginning to steam, but will not be quite boiling. Pour a drizzle of the hot milk into your egg mixture, and continue to whisk as the milk comes to a boil and begins to foam.|
|Step 4.||Whisking continuously, slowly add the remainder of the milk into egg mixture. Retrieve the vanilla bean from the saucepan, scrape the seeds out of the pod and add the seeds to the egg mixture. (Rinse and retain the vanilla bean pod for making vanilla sugar... later).|
|Step 5.||Return the egg mixture to the saucepan, still whisking (lots of whisking) as you bring it to a boil on medium heat. Continue whisking until the mixture becomes very thick. Remove from heat, and immediately whisk in vanilla extract (if you opted not to use the vanilla bean) or liqueur, grated chocolate, or fruit syrup (all optional) to give the pastry cream the desired flavour.|
|Step 6.||Pour into a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap to prevent crusting. Cool to room temperature, and refrigerate if not needed immediately, up to three days. Stir before using to break up any lumps.|