Sunday, June 9, 2013

Crème pâtissière / Pastry Cream

A few weeks ago, I posted a profiterole recipe. At the time, I was pressed for time and decided to fill the puffs with ice cream. It was delicious. Today, for our Cooking Club's Afternoon Tea, I filled them with the smoothest, most decadent pastry cream I have ever made. It definitely rivals any choux à la crème or éclair you would find in a French patisserie (pastry shop).

Makes enough to fill 15 medium cream puffs
  • 2 cups half-and-half or whole milk = 475 ml de lait entier
  • ½ cup sugar = 100 g de sucre
  • pinch salt = pincée de sel 
  • 5 large egg yolks = 5 jaunes d'oeuf
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch = 3 cuillères à soupe de maizena
  • 4 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces = 50 g de beurre, coupé en 4 morceaux
  • 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract = 1 ½ cuillère à café d'extrait de vanille

Heat the half-and-half (or milk), 6 tablespoons of the sugar, and the salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, use a hand mixer to whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Add in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and whisk until the mixture is creamy, about 1 minute. Whisk in the cornstarch until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 2 minutes.

When the half-and-half mixture reaches a full simmer (do not boil!), gradually and slowly whisk it into the yolk mixture to temper. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and return to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture is thick and glossy, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, whisk in the butter (1 tablespoon at a time) and the vanilla.

Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over a bowl. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate overnight  or for at least 3 hours until set.
It's now ready to use in any desserts that call for pastry cream: fruit tarts or tartlets, napoléons, éclairs. Enjoy!

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