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Pastry Cream Recipe

The classic crème pâtissière (or pastry cream) is a creamy, sweet custard that every baker must master. Follow along for tricks and tips to ensure consistently smooth and delicious results.

This is the first recipe we were taught in pastry culinary school at l’ITHQ, so it has a special place in my heart. It requires basic ingredients that you probably always have in your pantry. I suggest good quality ingredients to get the best flavour. It also puts into practice core techniques and fundamental pastry concepts, including the binding properties of eggs and the gelling power of cornstarch. It’s also a great recipe to learn because it’s delicious when stuffed into cakes, doughnuts, pâte à choux, and whatever else you can dream up! More importantly, good pasty cream is the base of complex preparations like almond cream or diplomat cream.


500ml whole milk

100g sugar

25g corn starch

100g eggs

5ml vanilla extract

25g butter


  1. Prepare a sheet pan and line it with plastic wrap, leaving a generous overhang.

  2. In a medium-size bowl weigh in half the sugar and the cornstarch. Whisk thoroughly, this will ensure that your pastry cream isn’t lumpy.

  3. Add the eggs and vanilla extract, thoroughly mix until it is smooth.

  4. In a saucepan, weigh in the milk and remaining sugar and bring to a simmer.

  5. Once the milk is fumant (starts create wisps of evaporation), temper the egg mix by ladling hot milk onto the eggs while whisking.

  6. Pour the egg mixture into the saucepan while whisking energetically.

  7. With the heat on medium-high, rotate the saucepan back and forth and be sure to whisk into the corners to ensure that your cream doesn’t scorch.

  8. Your mixture will transform into a thick cream as the cornstarch starts to gel from the heat. Keep whisking energetically! (If you’re not a *bit* sore, you aren’t whisking hard enough!)

  9. Bring it to a boil, just a couple of large bubbles to confirm the cornstarch is properly activated.

  10. Take off the burner and whisk in the butter.

  11. Pour onto the prepared sheet pan and spread it out so the cream is about an inch thick.

  12. Fold the plastic film over the pastry cream along the long edge on both sides so that the plastic film overlaps slightly along the middle.

  13. Pat it down so that there are no air pockets between the pastry cream and the plastic wrap. Fold over the short edges to seal it in. This will help your pastry cream keep longer.

  14. Place in the fridge to cool, and set for at least 2 hours.

  15. Once you’re ready to use it, put it into a bowl and smooth it out with a spatula.

  16. Place into a piping bag and you’re set!

  17. Pastry cream in a sealed container will keep for about a week in the fridge.

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