Sunday, 13 January 2008

Cream of the Pastry

Pastry cream or crème pâtissière in French is a rich, thick egg custard that is cooked on the stovetop. It is made with a combination of milk or cream, egg yolks, sugar. Plain flour or corn flour is used to thicken the texture. Other than the traditional vanilla flavouring, it could also be flavoured with chocolate, coffee, liqueurs, lemon or fruit purées.

Pastry cream is used as filling or stuffing for many French desserts like cream puffs, éclairs and napoleons. Also used to fill tarts, buns, Boston cream pie, some Italian and various other pastries.

Pastry Cream

What do we need:

1 cup milk
1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

1/4 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp plain flour
1 pinch salt

1 tbsp unsalted butter

How do we do it:

Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and scrape the seeds out. Add the scraped vanilla pod and the seeds into the milk. Bring the milk to a boil and remove from heat.

Beat the egg yolks, sugar, salt and flour together. While whisking constantly, pour in half of the hot milk in a slow steady stream into the egg mixture. This is to prevent the eggs from curdling. Add the egg mixture to the remaining hot milk. Cook over low medium heat while whisking constantly until mixture boils and thickens. Reduce the heat to low and whisk for 2 another 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in butter. If using vanilla extract, also stir in.

Cover with cling film and press down so that it touches the surface of the cream. This is to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature before storing the pastry cream in the refrigerator.

Whisk the cream until smooth when using.

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