Pastry cream is one of the most versatile recipes around. As a pastry chef, pastry cream is a staple in my kitchen. It is a very rich, custard-like filling that can be used as a filling for anything from a cream pie to a layer cake or even a Danish. It can become a mousse if heavy cream is folded in, or a custard sauce if diluted with heavy cream. The basic pastry cream recipe is listed below along with a few of the common variations of the recipe. Pastry cream is easily flavored, so the sky is the limit when it comes to what can be done with this stuff.
Yields 1 qt. (about 10-12 servings)
12 egg yolks
1 cup cake flour
1 ½ cup granulated sugar
1 qt milk
2 tbsp vanilla extract
2 oz butter
1. Sift flour and sugar together. Whisk 8 fl oz of the milk into the yolks then whisk in the flour and sugar until completely smooth.
2. Meanwhile scald the remaining milk then temper the egg mixture with about 1/3 hot milk then add to the rest of the hot milk.
3. Cook the egg mixture over med. heat until thickened, stirring constantly(custard will go through a lumpy stage before thickening completely).
4. Remove from heat and fold in the vanilla and butter. Cool completely before using.
Variation: Mousseline cream- Once completely cooled fold in 8 fl oz heavy cream that has been whipped until stiff.
Variation: Hawaiian Cream-Two cups milk for two cups coconut milk and another 2 cups milk for 2 cups pineapple juice. Once cooled fold in 8 fl oz heavy cream, whipped.
Variation: Chocolate Pastry Cream- Stir in 4 oz finely chopped dark chocolate when still warm. (The heat will melt the chocolate)
Variation: Chocolate Mousseline Cream- Stir in 4 oz finely chopped dark chocolate when still warm. When cooled fold in 8 fl oz heavy cream that has been whipped until stiff.
Variation: Coffee Pastry Cream- Stir in 2 tbsp coffee extract or liqueur while still warm.
Variation: Peanut Butter Cream– Mix in 1 cup peanut butter while still warm
Variation: Coconut Cream- Replace 16 fl oz of the milk for 16 fl oz of unsweetened coconut milk.
Variation: Caramel cream-add ½ cup caramel sauce, and then fold in 8 fl oz whipped heavy cream.
Variation: Custard Sauce- Once cooled mix in enough unwhipped heavy cream to dilute to desired consistency (about ½ cup to 1 cup)
Variation: Chocolate mint-Stir in 4 oz finely chopped dark chocolate when still warm, and then add 1 tbsp mint extract.
Sarah R. Lanbensky, Alan M Hause. On Cooking. Pretence Hall, 2003. 1049-1055.