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Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

Rated as 4.53 out of 5 Stars
62k

"The key to a great pastry cream is using the minimum of starch. You need enough so the cream holds a shape, but not so much it interferes with the flavor. This version uses cornstarch; just be careful not to keep cooking it once it has thickened. This is perfect in Napoleons, pies, tarts, or cakes."
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Ingredients

2 h 30 m servings 120
Original recipe yields 12 servings (3 cups)

Directions

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  1. Place whole egg and 2 egg yolks into a mixing bowl. Add sugar, corn starch, and salt. Whisk together completely until mixture turns from yellow to a very page creamy color and is slightly thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
  2. Place milk in a saucepan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise. Scrape the cut side with a paring knife to extract the seeds (paste). Add the seeds to the milk. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until milk just barely starts to simmer and a few small bubbles appear on the surface. Remove from heat. Whisk hot milk into egg mixture, starting with a small splash then incorporating the rest. Pour mixture back into saucepan.
  3. Place pan over medium-low heat and continue to whisk until mixture begin to thicken, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool 5 minutes. Add chunks of butter and whisk until butter melts into the warm milk mixture. Pass mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove and chunks of cooked egg or vanilla seeds. Cover surface with plastic to keep it from discoloring; refrigerate until thoroughly chilled 2 to 3 hours.

Footnotes

  • Chef's Notes:
  • Tip:┬áSave the scraped pods, and stick them in your sugar container for lovely, vanilla-scented sugar!
  • To use this cream as Napoleon filling, here's Chef John's recipe for Mille Feuille, or Napoleon Pastry Sheets.
  • To use it in cream puffs, you can lighten it by folding in whipped cream. Whip about 3/4 cup of heavy cream until medium peaks form. Fold it into cooled pastry cream. Get the recipe for Cream Puff "Crack Buns" (Choux au Craquelin).

Nutrition Facts


Per Serving: 120 calories; 6.3 13.9 2.3 64 211 Full nutrition

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Reviews

Read all reviews 23
  1. 30 Ratings

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    Rated as 5 out of 5 Stars
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    Rated as 4 out of 5 Stars
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    Rated as 1 out of 5 Stars
Most helpful positive review

First time making pastry cream and it was delicious! I chose this recipe because the instructions were clearest and easiest to follow. If you don't have all the ingredients on hand, substituti...

Most helpful critical review

I don't know what I did wrong. Are you sure the recipe needs one whole teaspoon of kosher salt? I followed the recipe EXACTLY with fresh ingredients and it seems too salty.

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First time making pastry cream and it was delicious! I chose this recipe because the instructions were clearest and easiest to follow. If you don't have all the ingredients on hand, substituti...

I don't know what I did wrong. Are you sure the recipe needs one whole teaspoon of kosher salt? I followed the recipe EXACTLY with fresh ingredients and it seems too salty.

This recipe really is easier than others. To anyone who is not a big fan of stirring for what seems like an eternity over a hot stove, this recipe is for you. It comes together literally in just...

Chef John is the best. Let's just get that right out of the way. But unfortunately 1 tsp kosher salt in this recipe completely destroys the pastry cream. 1/2 tsp at the very most, perhaps even l...

IN REGARDS TO SALT AND BUTTER: This recipe uses *COARSE* salt and *UNSALTED* butter, meaning you should use 1/4 TSP REGULAR TABLE/FINE SALT if you don't have coarse salt and make sure to NOT use...

Super delicious!

Creamiest and richest tasting pastry cream I have ever tried so far. I didn't use regular sugar, instead I used coconut sugar and it gave almost like a carmel taste into the pastry cream. Also, ...

I only did a pinch of salt BUT this turned out really well. I ended up whisking step 1 much longer than it states. It was easy enough to make too, just show no fear like Chef John says!

I followed exactly but I, too, felt it's too salty. I will no doubt make it again but reduce the salt.