How to Make Vanilla Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière)

by Kayla Magazine
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vanilla pastry cream

I’m sharing a vanilla pastry cream recipe. Actually the French call it crème pâtissière. I found it in an old French recipe book written by Francoise Bernard. Francoise Bernard was a legendary French food writer and television presenter. She said that cooking is art, and the basis of art is technique. That’s something I can agree with. The recipe for this vanilla pastry cream wasn’t quite what I wanted, so I made some improvements.

Uses for vanilla pastry cream crème pâtissière

This vanilla pastry cream is great for desserts. You can eat it as a pudding or use it to layer cakes such as mille feuille or chocolate layer cake, or as a filling for éclairs. You can adjust the thickness by stirring in flour, and the stiffness by adding butter. If you want a stiffer cream, you should add more butter, if you want a pudding consistency, use less. Vanilla pastry cream is truly versatile component in a baker’s toolbox. Making your own homemade pastry cream is incredibly easy – you need just a few ingredients and about 15 minutes to make it. The technique is very similar to the French Hollandaise sauce.

It’s so simple to make.

Ingredients for crème pâtissière (vanilla pastry cream)

Milk. We cannot drink whole milk, so we replace it with plant-based milk. I usually use oat milk.

Vanilla. Make sure to use quality vanilla. Use either vanilla pods, extract or vanilla bean paste.

Egg yolks. Using egg yolks gives a richer, creamier and more luxurious pastry cream. I always use free range eggs.

Sweetened condensed milk. In this recipe, it gives a perfect sweetness to the pastry cream, that isn’t too overwhelmingly sweet, adds texture and taste.

Flour. This helps to thicken the pastry cream. Whereas some recipes use cornstarch instead, I prefer using flour as it a healthier choice.

Butter. The addition of butter makes the pastry cream even richer and creamier. It also helps it to set to the proper texture during cooling.

Pastry cream recipe

For this chocolate layer cake, you’ll need the following ingredients

Ingredients

3 free range egg’s yolks

3/4 cup (100 g) white flour

1 can (about 400 g) sweetened condensed milk

1 stick (250 g) butter

4 cups + 3 tbsp (1 liter) milk, I use oat milk

A few drops of organic vanilla extract or vanilla pod

1 dash of salt

Instructions

    1. In a saucepan, cook the milk and vanilla until it comes to a boil. At that time, whisk the yolks with an electric hand mixer until they are smooth and pale, light yellow colour.
    2. Pour the hot milk using a ladle in a slow, thin stream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. If you make this too quickly – you’ll get scrambled eggs. If you want a smooth pastry cream, it is necessary to keep stirring. Work like this until you pour five ladles. Slowly increasing the temperature of the egg yolks and diluting them helps to achieve a perfectly silky-smooth pastry cream. 
    3. Return the mixture to the saucepan.
    4. Sieve the flour into the milk and cook over medium heat until everything thickens and comes to a boil. Don’t stop stirring. Once the mixture comes to a boil, cook for about 1 minute more. It will take about 3 minutes or so.
    5. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt.
    6. Remove the vanilla pastry cream from the heat and add the butter. Wait a bit untill butter has melted. Mix everything.
    7. Add sweetened condensed milk. Stir until you get a smooth mass.
    8. Transfer the vanilla pastry cream into a bowl. Allow to cool.

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vanilla pastry cream

Vanilla Pastry Cream (Crème Pâtissière)

Serves: 6 Prep Time:
Nutrition facts: 200 calories 20 grams fat

Ingredients

3 free range egg's yolks

3/4 cup (100 g) white flour

1 can (about 400 g) sweetened condensed milk

1 stick (250 g) butter

4 cups + 3 tbsp (1 liter) milk, I use oat milk

A few drops of organic vanilla extract or vanilla pod

1 dash of salt

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan, cook the milk and vanilla until it comes to a boil. At that time, whisk the yolks with an electric hand mixer until they are smooth and pale, light yellow colour.
  2. Pour the hot milk using a ladle in a slow, thin stream into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. If you make this too quickly – you'll get scrambled eggs. If you want a smooth pastry cream, it is necessary to keep stirring. Work like this until you pour five ladles. Slowly increasing the temperature of the egg yolks and diluting them helps to achieve a perfectly silky-smooth pastry cream. 
  3. Return the mixture to the saucepan.
  4. Sieve the flour into the milk and cook over medium heat until everything thickens and comes to a boil. Don't stop stirring. Once the mixture comes to a boil, cook for about 1 minute more. It will take about 3 minutes or so.
  5. Add vanilla and a pinch of salt.
  6. Remove the vanilla pastry cream from the heat and add the butter. Wait a bit untill butter has melted. Mix everything.
  7. Add sweetened condensed milk. Stir until you get a smooth mass.
  8. Transfer the vanilla pastry cream into a bowl. Allow to cool.
Tried this recipe?
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