Pastry Cream

Nuvita Biscuits

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, 1/4 cup sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt. Cook over medium heat until mixture comes to a simmer.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar. Whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1/2 cup of the hot-milk mixture into the egg-yolk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, until it has been incorporated. Pour mixture back into saucepan, and cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens and registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes. Remove and discard vanilla bean.
  3. Transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter, and beat on medium speed until the butter melts and the mixture cools, about 5 minutes.
  4. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days. Just before using, beat on low speed until smooth (you can also whisk by hand).




Recipe Comments

  1. posted by superdork on Mar 17, 2013

    My boyfriends birthday is tomorrow and he loves coconut cream pies… I could only find coconut meringue pie though. Is the taste much different between the two?

  2. posted by Myles on Mar 17, 2013

    I am trying to make cream puffs (we’re having guests over) and I want to make pastry cream to go into them. However, I am lacking cornstarch and when I search teh internet, all I get are recipes with cornstarch. And when I DO find one without it, it has vanilla beans required, of which I also don’t have. Can anybody tell me a recipe for pastry crea that doesn’t have either?

  3. posted by xLittle21Yaox on Mar 17, 2013

    OK so every year on my grandmothers birthday I ask her what kind of cake she wants and this year she said she wanted either cream puffs or eclairs. Well I know how to make pastry cream and I know how to make the chocolate glaze, my problem comes with the pastry… I have no idea how to make them. So does anyone have a great recipe for eclairs or cream puffs?

  4. posted by Cupcakerum on Mar 17, 2013

    I don’t have any serious symptoms, just a growing distaste for refined sugar and anything sweet. I’m not even tempted by dessert anymore (sadly!) I used to love chocolate, flan, pastries, ice cream, etc., but now, I can’t stand the thought of it.

    Is it the beginning of an allergic response, or is it just an age-related change, do you think? Has anyone else had a similar experience?

  5. posted by kass9191 on Mar 17, 2013

    When they are eating pastries, cream, and milk. I mean, he orders milk, looks at her all creepy-like, and just acts very suspicious.

  6. posted by lcollier93sbcglobalnet on Mar 17, 2013

    Hi- I made shortcrust pastry for the first time tonight. Im making a tart filled with pastry cream and topped with blueberries for my aunties birthday. I have put it in the oven to half blind bake and was planning on fridging it and finishing it tomorrow afternoon so it stays fresh. What do you think, can i half bake it then refridgerate it? ALso my pastry cream taste a bit bitter- do you think i burnt it- are their any easy substites for tart filling?

  7. posted by morbiusdog on Mar 17, 2013

    Just as the question says. I was watching a Gordon Ramsay video, 1 second he is talking about the pastry cream, and the next he is saying the custard.


  8. posted by Peter on Mar 17, 2013

    I wanted to make a strawberry creme puff and a banana puff. Should I add a fruit purée with the milk?

  9. posted by Malcolm Hudson on Mar 17, 2013

    I need to know what it will take to make a banana cream pie from scratch and possible alternate ingredients as I am currently in Japan and they, so far that I have seen, do not have the conveniences of pre-made crusts and such. I am making for one of my Japanese tutors, as she has never had it before and says it sounds good. They apparently have a lot of different kinds of cakes in Japan but not very many pies…Thanks!

  10. posted by HASTHEANSWERS on Mar 17, 2013

    Things like frangipane are often added to fruit tarts to prevent the crust from absorbing too much moisture from the filling. Can pastry cream serve the same purpose? It’s made with quite a bit of liquid, but it’s thickened with cornstarch or flour.

  11. posted by Keaton on Mar 17, 2013

    Does anyone have a recipe for the cream filling they put in bakery donuts that is really sweet and fluffy but has that slight sour after taste? I’m thinking the sour taste might be cream of tartar but I’m not sure. Thank you!

  12. posted by Joey 01 on Mar 17, 2013

    I have been trying to find the name and recipe of an hors d’oeuvre I had at a wedding several years ago (the caterering service was sold and the menu has changed entirely) that consists of some kind of pastry filled with cream cheese and it’s served warm. I think it was sort of ball shaped. Does this sound familiar? I wanted to try making it but I have no clue what it’s called, and as such, I can’t find a recipe. Please only respond if you know what this hors d’oeuvre is called and/or if you think you know what it’s called. I would love recipes for it too. Thanks so much.

  13. posted by llb443 on Mar 17, 2013

    I’ve had it in a cassatine sponge cake. Seems like a tinted (pink) riccotta filling, thinner than cannoli cream. Thx.
    Thx for your feedback. Foodnetwork has similar types of “lobster” cream recipes as Piano Girl’s (great recipe, by the way), but all are for savory dishes (appetisers, pastas, other entrees) rather than dessert. I’ll keep searching. Thx again.

  14. posted by hank baseballs on Mar 17, 2013

    Is it the ingredients, the preparation, preservatives…. or what?

    I’m talking about the cream you find in bakery vs. homemade pastries, like Napoleons, etc.

  15. posted by The Beatles on Mar 17, 2013

    I am going to make a dessert made with pastry cream… and I wanted to know if the cream can stay out long once it’s on the buffet table, or should I just respect a normal 2 hour time for the food to be out???

  16. posted by Mike on Mar 17, 2013

    I will use puff pastry, and I need like a clotted cream, or cream cheese type base, then cherry compote, puff pastry top, whipped cream, and drizzled chocolate. I want to use whipped cream, cream cheese, and maybe sweetened condensed milk??
    Can I whip the cream till almost butter, then mix in the sweetened condensed milk? I’ll spread on the puff pastry then top?

  17. posted by stephen m on Mar 18, 2013

    When I make pudding, I usually put all the ingredients in the pot, wisk it and then turn on the flame. This eliminates the need to temper and it always comes out perfect. Why can’t I use the same method for pastry cream? Both recipes have almost the same ingredients.

  18. posted by SteveO on Mar 26, 2013

    What is the difference between pastry dough and pie dough? If there is any difference. I have a book that gives me the 2 and for pastry it says “For savory or sweet dishes” And Pie dough simply says for pie. But dont tell me how to cook it. So looked on the internet but pastry and pie dough are 1 in the same on everything i found.

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