Chocolate Pastry Cream



The Chocolate Pastry Cream is a decadent filling to elevate your pastry: a twist from the classic vanilla pastry cream to please the chocolate addicts.

chocolate pastry cream with a spoon

Whether you want to fill cream puffs, eclairs, pies, donuts, or enjoy it as it is, this rich, smooth, chocolate pastry cream is a must-have you should have in your recipe repertory.This chocolate pastry cream recipe is made with chocolate and cocoa powder to ensure the best chocolate flavor.

I wrote an entire post on the vanilla pastry cream, but I know it can be tricky to adapt a recipe, especially with chocolate, as you need to know the quantity of cocoa powder and chocolate to get the creamy texture. So, let’s jump into this chocolate crème patissiere.

chocolate pastry cream in a bowl

Ingredients to make the Chocolate Pastry Cream:

  • Milk: 2% fat or whole milk. Both are good
  • Egg yolks: for a rich cream. Use the white to make this Hazelnut Cake macarons, financiers, floating islands, pavlova, meringues…
  • Sugar: caster sugar or granulated sugar
  • Cornstarch: to get the right consistency
  • Unsalted Butter: it helps for a creamy texture
  • Cocoa Powder: I use a Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • Semi-sweet chocolate (52% for me): finely chopped.

Tips for the Chocolate Pastry Cream 

This French chocolate cream is accessible, and with a few tips, you will make it.

  • Ingredients at room temperature.
  • Chop the chocolate finely; it will help to melt quickly.
  • Ensure to mix the egg yolks and sugar. Then add the cornstarch and cocoa powder together. Mix before adding the hot milk. It prevents lumps. But don’t do it ahead of time. Mix it together a few minutes before adding the milk.
  • While pouring the hot milk, keep the bowl with the egg-sugar mixture on a tea towel to prevent it from slipping.
  • Cook over a medium heat. It’s important not to cook at high temperatures because you will end up with a grainy, lumpy cream.
  • Stir constantly the chocolate pastry cream while cooking.
  • If you want to cool it faster, use a shallow dish.
  • Cover the surface immediately with plastic wrap touching the surface to prevent skin forming.
  • Let it cool completely before using it.
  • Soften the chocolate cream with a spatula when you are ready to use it.

Troubleshooting with the Chocolate Pastry Cream

My pastry cream is too thin: you haven’t cooked the pastry cream properly. Return it to the heat; it will thicken as it cooks.

My pastry cream is too thick: You may have overcooked the cream. Once completely cooled, add milk, a teaspoon at a time, stirring with a flexible spatula between each addition to soften the cream.

Or maybe, you add too much flour/cornstarch. Use a kitchen scale for accurate measurements.

My pastry cream is lumpy/grainy: make sure to mix properly the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa powder together before adding the hot milk. Cook over a medium heat. A higher temperature may cause a lumpy cream.



In the fridge for up to 3 days, in an air-tight container covered with plastic wrap on the entire surface.

Don’t freeze the chocolate pastry cream; it will split, and it won’t be easy to get the creamy texture back.

How to use the Chocolate Pastry Cream?

Éclair, cream puff pastry, tart filling, cupcake filling, there are many possibilities to use it as a chocolate cream filling.

chocolate pastry cream close up

Try these Recipes, next:

If you tried these Chocolate Pastry Cream or any recipe on the blog, let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment below.

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Chocolate Pastry Cream

  • Prep time: 5 minutes
  • Cook time: 10 minutes
  • Serves: 1

The Chocolate Pastry Cream is a decadent filling to elevate your pastry: a twist from the classic vanilla pastry cream to please the chocolate addicts.


  • 30 cl (1 cup + 1/4 cup) milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50 g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 25 g (3 tablespoons) cornstarch
  • 10 g (1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon) cocoa powder - Dutch Process
  • 30 g (1.06 oz) semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped - 50% cocoa content
  • 30 g (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, diced


  • 1)

    Add the milk into a saucepan. Heat the milk over medium heat and bring it to a simmer, almost to a boil.

  • 2)

    While the milk is being heated, place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl. Whisk until well combined, smooth and a lighter color.

  • 3)

    Add the cornstarch and cocoa powder, and whisk until smooth.

  • 4)

    As soon as the milk starts to simmer / bubble, remove it from the heat. Gradually pour the hot milk over the yolk mixture, whisking constantly.

  • 5)

    Return the mixture into the saucepan and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until it begins to thicken.

  • 6)

    Let the custard come to a boil, lower the heat and immediately add the chopped chocolate.

    Cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes, whisking constantly until the chocolate is completely melted, mixed in and the mixture is thick. Note: Once cooled, the cream will be thicker.

  • 7)

    Remove from the heat and transfer the cream into a glass / ceramic bowl.  Add the butter immediately, and let it melt for 2 to 3 minutes. 

  • 8)

    Whisk until the butter it’s completely melted and mixed in. At the beginning, the chocolate cream looks curdled, don’t worry, that’s normal, keep whisking until smooth.

    Cover immediately the surface with plastic wrap, making sure to touch the surface. It prevents skin from developing.

    Place in the fridge as soon as you can and let it cool completely.

  • 9)

    When you are ready to use, soften the pastry cream with a spatula.


– US/UK baking spoons, standard size:  teaspoon: 5ml / tablespoon: 15ml / cup: 240ml

Quantity to fill:
– a 8 / 9 inch tart
– 12-15 cupcakes: depending on the size of the hole
– 10 choux pastry: depending on the size

– Store in the fridge, covered, for up to 3 days

– Scroll back to read tips and frequently asked questions within the blog post that you might find helpful.

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