This is a classic pastry cream often used in bakeries and restaurants. It can be used as a filling for cakes, pies or pastries. To make a lighter filling, fold in plain whipped cream.

Recipe Summary

prep:
15 mins
cook:
5 mins
total:
20 mins
Servings:
8
Yield:
2 1/2 cups
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

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  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and egg. Stir together the remaining sugar and cornstarch; then stir them into the egg until smooth. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle it into the bowl in a thin stream while mixing so that you do not cook the eggs. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and slowly bring to a boil, stirring constantly so the eggs don' t curdle or scorch on the bottom.

  • When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla, mixing until the butter is completely blended in. Pour into a heat-proof container and place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until chilled before using.

Nutrition Facts

151 calories; protein 3.5g 7% DV; carbohydrates 21.4g 7% DV; fat 5.8g 9% DV; cholesterol 87mg 29% DV; sodium 56.6mg 2% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (413)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
08/31/2007
Good recipe and I prefer the corn starch to flour. I have made this with 3 whole eggs as well--lighter texture, kind of dull in color. I have a good tip--when the pastry cream is warm, put it through a mesh strainer and you will not have any lumps. Works every time. I put almost every type of custard through my strainer. Read More
(349)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
03/29/2010
I can't believe I fell for this recipe twice. The first time I made it, it ruined my son's, the second time my daughter's birthday cake. I was really disappointed by the "cream". It is not a cream at all, rather like a Jello Cook'n Serve pudding custard, by no means anything you would like to put in or on a cake or pastry. Once cooled, it cannot be spread without ripping the cake or pastry into pieces. Even the ingredients (milk, corn starch, sugar, vanilla, the egg and butter don't add anything to the texture) are almost identical to the Jello custard, which is prepared with far less effort. So, if custard or "pudding" is what you want, save the time and use Jello instead of this recipe. Read More
(53)
493 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 413
  • 4 star values: 55
  • 3 star values: 15
  • 2 star values: 5
  • 1 star values: 5
Rating: 4 stars
08/31/2007
Good recipe and I prefer the corn starch to flour. I have made this with 3 whole eggs as well--lighter texture, kind of dull in color. I have a good tip--when the pastry cream is warm, put it through a mesh strainer and you will not have any lumps. Works every time. I put almost every type of custard through my strainer. Read More
(349)
Rating: 5 stars
12/22/2012
This is a basic pastry cream recipe. Pastry cream is exactly the same thing as cook and serve pudding, and was traditionally used to fill fruit tarts, pastries, cakes, etc. The woman who gave the recipe one star and was unable to fill her cakes with it clearly knows little about baking. Perhaps if you use it straight out of the fridge it will be thick and may tear a cake, but if you let it come to room temp there should be no problems. In either case, a torn cake can be repaired with buttercream. It just bothers me to see such a negative review for a recipe when there is absolutely nothing wrong with the recipe. Read More
(307)
Rating: 5 stars
05/05/2008
AWESOME!!! Really, really good! Ok, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT, cut the sugar amount in this recipe. It is NOT sweet enough without all the sugar. It's best with the called amount, I've tried both ways, trust me. I didn't need to strain mine, no lumps. I beat the egg/yolks well with the corn starch and constantly mixed the egg and milk mixture while heating..lump free. Great recipe!!! Read More
(234)
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Rating: 5 stars
09/29/2006
This recipe was excellent...to avoid lumps i advise that once the mixture is put back in the pan to boil to start mixing it immediatly rather than waiting for it to start boiling before stirring...I used this as a filling for a cake and mixed fresh strawberrys in...definently a keeper! Read More
(176)
Rating: 5 stars
02/04/2008
I used this recipe for my first attempt at making pastry cream for a Boston cream pie. It was easy and perfect! Note: Med/Lo heat and constant stirring with a whisk for any cream recipe is a must to avoid lumps. I usually pull up a stool to the stove and turn on the radio :) Read More
(109)
Rating: 5 stars
07/18/2008
Advice from a beginner: If you have a GAS STOVE, try the DOUBLE BOILER method. Otherwise, a "low" fire didn't thicken the custard, and a "medium" fire curdled the eggs. On my third try I tried the DOUBLE BOILER, where I stacked a metal bowl over a small pot and filled the small pot with water just 1" under the bottom of the metal bowl. Cook the custard in the metal bowl by boiling the water below. Water level does NOT touch the metal bowl. I kept the fire on "low" and the custard thickened wonderfully. The custard came out over sweetened -- I would use just 75% of the sugar suggested. All in all, I am thrilled that someone contributed this recipe. Thank you. Now I can make cream puffs for birthdays! Read More
(96)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/16/2006
I made a fresh fruit tart using this pastry cream and it was excellent! It had an awesome flavor! I used the recipe for the french pastry crust that is posted on this site as well. Those two combined with fresh strawberries and blueberries on top made a delicious dessert!! I had a dinner party for a few of my girls and they loved it! I am a frequent patron of this french pastry shop called La Madeliene and I am in love with their fruit tarts. Well I must say that this pastry cream taste exactly like theirs!! I will be using this recipe time and time again!! Thanks so much for the wonderful recipe!! Read More
(76)
Rating: 1 stars
03/29/2010
I can't believe I fell for this recipe twice. The first time I made it, it ruined my son's, the second time my daughter's birthday cake. I was really disappointed by the "cream". It is not a cream at all, rather like a Jello Cook'n Serve pudding custard, by no means anything you would like to put in or on a cake or pastry. Once cooled, it cannot be spread without ripping the cake or pastry into pieces. Even the ingredients (milk, corn starch, sugar, vanilla, the egg and butter don't add anything to the texture) are almost identical to the Jello custard, which is prepared with far less effort. So, if custard or "pudding" is what you want, save the time and use Jello instead of this recipe. Read More
(53)
Rating: 5 stars
02/13/2009
I needed to make this non-dairy, so I used soy milk and margarine in place of the milk and butter. It still turned out smooth and creamy! I'm using it to fill a boston cream pie. Yummy! Read More
(51)
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