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Pastry Cream – Pastry Basics

by Lorena

It’s really basic to know how to make a yummy pastry cream or crème pâtissière. It is a classic filling that goes really nice with fresh fruits and is also used as a base for other recipes. It’s funny to me that I didn’t like pastry cream before. It was like that until I discovered a delicious pastry cream that’s not made from instant and intensely yellow instant powder.

Vanilla comes from an orchid which explains why it’s so glorious. Inside the vanilla pod are lots of tiny seeds which is what we use for our vanilla recipes. The pod is also quite flavourful and can be used for infusing milk for vanilla-flavoured preparations. Another way in which we find vanilla is in paste form. Vanilla paste is made of lots of vanilla seeds plus a binding agent. I love using vanilla paste because it’s less messy.

On the other hand, there’s vanilla extract which is a pod that’s left for at least a month in an alcoholic solution (vodka works really well). The alcohol takes all that beautiful taste and then you can use if to flavour recipes. You can definitely make this yourself at home. Finally, there’s vanilla essence which actually has nothing to do with the vanilla pod. It’s just a bunch of flavourings that come together in a dyed liquid.

I used this pastry cream recipe to fill a tart shell that I taught you how to make last week and then turned it into a pastry cream tart with strawberries. Maybe you would also like to see my chocolate pastry cream recipe that I used to fill up choux au craquelin.

Pastry Cream – Pastry Basics

5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Author: Lorena Salinas from Cravings Journal


  • 8 egg yolks
  • 25 g all-purpose flour
  • 25 g cornstarch / cornflour
  • 100 g sugar
  • 500 ml milk any kind
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste or seeds from 1 vanilla pod, or 1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 tsp vanilla essence


  • Place half the sugar in a bowl. Add the egg yolks. After adding each egg yolk, mix them using a whisk to prevent them from generating a crust that doesn't dissolve later.
  • Add the flour and cornstarch/cornflour and whisk together with the yolks.
  • In a small saucepan, place the milk and mix it with the other half of the sugar, salt and vanilla. Heat it up until it steams; don't let it boil.
  • While whisking the yolks, add about ¼ of the milk onto them. Whisk vigorously.
  • Add the rest of the milk and mix. You can now do it more calmly.
  • Return the mix into the saucepan and heat it up over medium-low heat, mixing all the time. Once it starts to boil, leave it in for a couple of seconds and then remove it from the heat and saucepan to stop the cooking process. If you leave it on the heat or in the saucepan for longer, it could split.
  • I placed the pastry cream straight into the pastry bag that I was going to use to fill up a tart. You can also place it in a bowl and cover it with plastic or silicone, making sure that it touches the surface of the pastry cream to prevent it from forming a crust where it meets the air.
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