The Vanilla Pastry Cream is a basic recipe in the baking world. Master this recipe and open the doors to a full range of desserts.
Rich and creamy, this crème patissiere (aka fancy French name for vanilla pastry cream) is widely used in French pastry and also in various recipes from all over the world. The options are endless: tart filling, cream puff pastry, mille-feuille, or even eat it just with a spoon.
The vanilla pastry cream recipe is easy to make from simple ingredients. It doesn’t require too much time. It’s easily adaptable if you look for another flavor, like this chocolate pastry cream or coffee pastry cream.
- Milk: 2% fat or whole milk
- Vanilla: vanilla bean or vanilla extract
- Egg yolks: for a rich cream. Use the egg whites to make this hazelnut cake or macarons, financiers, floating islands, pavlova, meringues…
- Sugar: caster sugar or granulated sugar
- Flour: all-purpose flour for the texture
- Cornstarch: to avoid too much flour
- Unsalted Butter: to add extra richness to the texture
Tips for the Vanilla Pastry Cream
To make sure you succeed in this creme patissiere recipe, please follow a few tips:
- Ingredients at room temperature.
- Ensure to mix the egg yolks, and sugar. Then, add the flour and cornstarch and mix together 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. Don’t try to speed up the process with a higher temperature. A higher temperature may cause a lumpy cream.
- Stir constantly the pastry cream while cooking.
- Use a shallow dish; it will cool faster.
- Cover the surface immediately with plastic wrap, touching the surface. It prevents skin from developing.
- Let it cool completely before using it for your dessert.
- Soften the pastry cream with a spatula when you are ready to use it.
Troubleshooting with the Vanilla 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, flour, cornstarch, and sugar together before adding the hot milk. Cook over a medium heat. A higher temperature may cause a lumpy cream.
How to store the Vanilla Pastry Cream?
This pastry cream must be stored in the fridge. You can keep it for up to 3 days. Place the cream in an air-tight container, with a piece of plastic wrap covering the entire surface.
I don’t recommend freezing it; it will split and lose the creamy texture.
How to use the creme patissiere?
Every recipe requires pastry cream filling: tart filling, cream puff pastry, mille-feuille, cupcake filling like these Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes or this Strawberry Tart.
This vanilla pastry cream is also the starting point for filling and frosting: German buttercream, Chiboust cream or Diplomat cream like in my blackberry tart. The common point between this recipe: the pastry cream is mixed with other ingredients.
Try these cakes, next:
If you tried this Vanilla Pastry Cream or any recipe on the blog, let me know how you liked it by leaving a comment below.
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October 18, 2022 at 1:04 pm
This vanilla pastry cream had a hard time making it into another recipe. It’s so good by itself! Rich, creamy, and perfect!
October 20, 2022 at 4:18 pm
Really tasty recipe! I’ve been adding these into pastry puffs and they are a hit with the family!
October 21, 2022 at 11:20 am
This recipe is making me want to make a dessert right NOW! Pastry cream is my favorite and this recipe looks delish. I like the tip about the plastic wrap touching the cream 😉
October 22, 2022 at 8:02 am
This is a delicious recipe for filling and we use it often especially during the holidays. My favorite is in any type of cupcake- it brings them to a whole new level than just standard cupcakes.
October 22, 2022 at 1:41 pm
This is the classic staple for all pastry baking! Everyone needs a perfect vanilla cream recipe!
October 22, 2022 at 2:18 pm
I have been searching for good pastry cream recipe for years, and this one takes the cake! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe 🙂
October 22, 2022 at 4:10 pm
This is the best cream to use when making homemade donuts. It tastes like the cream filled donuts from the local donut shop- only better cause it’s homemade!
October 23, 2022 at 6:06 pm
I have been looking for the perfect Vanilla Pastry cream and finally found it. I made this to fill some eclairs but this will be so good in many things.
October 23, 2022 at 8:08 pm
This pastry cream is beyond delicious! I made it to fill some cream puffs, and it had the perfect vanilla flavor. Definitely keeping this recipe on hand for the future.
Loreto and Nicoletta
October 23, 2022 at 8:37 pm
You made me think of my mom. She loved making pastry cream for a cake she would make. I remember standing on a chair beside her waiting for her to finish so I could lich the spatula, and bowl.