Baking basics French ! Frostings and icings

Pastry cream – and the simplest way to make it !


Call it pudding or custard or cream patisserie , pastry cream is yet another trick that every baker should have up their sleeve. Its that soft creamy filling that is used to fill tarts , eclairs , cream puffs , cakes , doughnuts, Napoleons, Boston cream pies….Its rich and thick , and although intended as a filling , is delectable enough to eat by the spoonful! (Cmon.. I can’t be the only one !).

Pastry cream is made from egg yolks , flour , sugar , milk and sometimes corn flour or corn starch. It is cooked on the stove and then chilled for that uber smooth consistency. It can be flavoured with vanilla , chocolate , coffee or anything that suits your fancy. If you want to lighten it , just fold into some whipped cream.

I found this very easy way of making it on the youtube channel Kitchen conundrums. You should check it out if you haven’t already. It really demystifies many common recipes and I like the engaging style of the chef. I have only made it in this way since and its a breeze.

This recipe makes about 2 cups which is more than enough for one batch of eclairs/ cream puffs , for a three or four layer cake , and to fill a 9 inch tart shell. But you can half or double the recipe using the same ratio and you are good to go !

Pastry cream
Yields 2
Smooth and delicious pastry cream!
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  1. 100 grams or 1/2 cup sugar
  2. 40 grams or 1/4 cup corn flour or corn starch
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 2 cups or 480 ml milk
  5. 4 egg yolks
  6. 28 grams or 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Whisk together the sugar , corn flour and salt in a medium saucepan (thick bottomed). This breaks up the corn flour and prevents it from clumping .
  2. In a glass or bowl , whisk together the egg yolks and the milk until smooth.
  3. Pour the egg yolk- milk mixture into the sugar- corn flour mixture in the saucepan while whisking continuously
  4. Add the butter and heat on medium flame. Whisk continuously.
  5. First the butter will melt and the mixture will come to a boil.
  6. Lower the flame and cook for a couple of minutes more while stirring as the custard thickens.Add any flavouring that you wish now. I added 1 tsp vanilla extract here
  7. Pass through a sieve into a clean bowl. This is optional but removes any bit of cooked egg .
  8. Cover the pastry cream with cling wrap , such that the wrap is touching the surface of the cream . This prevents a film from forming. Chill for atleast two hours .
  1. Pastry cream be refrigerated from 5 to 7 days .
  2. For a lighter cream , whip 1/4 or 1/2 cup heavy cream to soft peaks and fold into the cream.
Step by step :

Flavour variations :

  • Vanilla : add a vanilla bean while cooking and strain it out or add 1 tsp vanilla extract.
  • Chocolate : add 3 tbsp cocoa powder with the sugar and corn flour in first step
  • Lemon / orange : Add 1/2 tsp zest and juice of half a lemon or orange after taking off heat .
  • Fruit : Add 2-3 tbsp of fruit puree (strawberry , mango etc ) after taking off heat. Strain.

Update on 15.01.2016 : Just in case you are wondering , the reason the pictures of my finished cream are a different colour than the tutorial are updated pictures!

So go ahead and use up left over yolks to make up this delicious cream , that you can fill into some choux pastry or maybe some doughnuts!

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