Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)
A versatile dessert cream used to fill cream puffs, éclairs, Napoleons, cakes and other pastries.
3 cups milk
Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean (or 2 teaspoons vanilla extract*)
8 egg yolks
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- In a 3 quart saucepan combine the milk and vanilla bean seeds. Heat just below the boiling point (scalding).
- Using an electric mixer (with whisk attachment if available) beat the egg yolks and sugar in a large mixing bowl until they lighten in color. Stir in the cornstarch.
- Pour about 1/3 of the hot milk into the egg mixture (this is called tempering), whisking continuously to incorporate. Whisk the tempered egg mixture back into the remaining hot milk, and place the saucepan back on the heat. Cook on medium high heat, stirring constantly with the whisk, until the mixture comes to the boil. Reduce heat and boil for about 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and gently whisk in the butter. *If using vanilla extract add it now.
- Strain the pastry cream into a bowl, place plastic wrap directly on the surface, and chill completely. Can be made up to 3 days ahead.
Makes about 3 1/2 cups.