How to Make Perfect Pastry Cream

How to Make Perfect Pastry Cream

Pastry cream is the crucial ingredient to almost all French desserts. It is almost too important that we have to make sure pastry cream is made perfect before proceeding to the next step on the recipe. I have tried so many recipes and I finally found an easy, and most importantly, high successful rate recipe. (Credit: Martha Stewart's Make No-Fuss Pastry Cream)

Difficulty: Easy
Time: 30 min

1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 cup milk
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp butter
1 pinch salt
few drops vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream (optional)


  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. 
  2. Whisk together milk and egg yolks in a glass measuring cup. 
  3. Add milk mixture to the saucepan, while adding, make sure to whisk the mixture so no lump will appear. 
  4. Cook over medium heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. (Remember stir continuously and make sure to get every corner of the saucepan, so the sauce won't burn at the edges) At the end, add butter and turn on medium heat. 
  5. Continue to cook until it comes to a boil. Add vanilla extra and let boil a full minute. 
  6. Strain pastry cream through a fine sieve into a bowl. 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 for 2 hours or up to 2 days. 
  7. Just before using, whisk until smooth.



     7. In a chilled mixer bowl, whisk 1 cup of heavy cream to make whipped cream. Do not over whisk! Then whisk together pastry cream and whipped cream to achieve a smoother texture and a lite version of flavor)

I highly recommend adding whipped cream to achieve a smoother version of pastry cream. The creamy flavor of heavy cream also makes the pastry cream more creamy and flavorful. 

Normally, extra sugar is added in most of the whipped cream recipes. In this case, no sugar is added because pastry cream is already sweet. But if you like a sweeter taste, feel free to add sugar during the process. Just remember the process is similar to meringue recipe: add sugar when the foam starts to form. 

Another tip for the whipped cream: heavy cream is best to beat in a chilled mixer bowl. The temperature effects the size of the bubble that form. That is, how fat clings to itself. Whipping time will also affect the overall result. I recommend beating the heavy cream by hand to avoid over-beating. You don't want a stiff whipped cream.

Try this recipe out and see for yourself how easy it is to make a pastry cream! 


Happy Cooking!



pastry cream is the soul of desserts
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