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Crème patissière (pastry cream)

By Nikki K on 5th Sep, 2015

Crème patissière (pastry cream)


  1. Put 450ml of the milk in a small saucepan and put on the stove on a low heat.
  2. Score along the vanilla bean with a small sharp knife – then strip the vanilla seeds out with the back of the knife. Add the vanilla seeds (and bean) to the milk in the pan.
  3. Separate the 4 eggs, putting the yolks in a large heat-resistant mixing bowl (the whites are not needed).
  4. Add the caster sugar to the egg yolks and whisk together until the colour goes paler.
  5. Mix the cornflour with the remaining 50ml of milk in a small dish, ensuring no lumps.
  6. When the milk is hot, remove and discard the vanilla pod. Then pour the hot vanilla milk through a fine sieve into a heatproof jug.
  7. Slowly pour the hot vanilla milk into the mixing bowl with the egg yolks and sugar, stirring all the time.
  8. Immediately add the milk and cornflour mixture to the mixing bowl, and then pour the whole lot back into the saucepan which goes back on the heat on the stove.
  9. Bring the pastry cream mixture close to a boil, stirring continuously, and it will suddenly start to thicken. Don’t worry if the pastry cream suddenly goes lumpy – just remove from the heat for a moment and whisk quickly until the lumps disperse. Then return it to the heat.
  10. Continue to heat and stir for a minute or two until it is looking fairly thick. Then remove from the heat and stir in the butter pieces.
  11. Immediately pour the pastry cream in to a shallow bowl or tray and cover with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming.
  12. Allow to cool (you could sit the tray/bowl in a sink with a little cold water and ice under it) for 20-30 minutes before putting in the fridge to chill until you need to use it.

Recipe Notes

  • This amount of crème patissière should fill either a 22cm pre-baked tart case, or four 10cm pre-baked tart cases.
  • Use leftover egg whites to make meringues, pavlova or macarons.
vegetarian  / tart  / gluten free  / french  / dessert
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