Creme Patissiere (Pastry Cream) – The Flavor Bender

Cooking custard recipe

A simple but delicious recipe for Creme Patissiere (vanilla custard), a rich and creamy cream used in many types of desserts! This recipe is gluten-free, and also dairy-free. If you’re looking for chocolate custard, you can find that recipe here.

Learn how to make a rich and creamy vanilla pastry cream from scratch!

Pastry cream (or pastry cream) is an essential part of pastry, making it an essential skill to learn if you like baking, cakes, and desserts. Creme patissiere is basically a delicious, rich and creamy cream thick with starch and eggs. It is an important component for many desserts.

What is pastry cream (crème patissiere) used for?

Used to fill

  • classic profiteroles and sometimes cream puff pastry
  • To

  • fill chocolate eclairs
  • As a filling for cakes, such as Boston cream cake
  • Filling for fruit cakes
  • To make

  • mille feuille To make
  • vanilla pudding or chocolate
pudding Creme Patissiere - Creamy Vanilla Pastry Cream. Beat the eggs, cornstarch, vanilla together to form a smooth egg mixture.
The egg mixture – beat the eggs, with cornstarch, vanilla and sugar before adding the hot milk.

If you’ve never made custard (vanilla custard) before, you should definitely try it. It is such an easy and delicious recipe with many excellent uses.

Types of custard

There is some confusion about custard-based desserts and their terminology, so I’ll clear that up before I get into the custard recipe


Creme Anglaise is a pouring cream. A liquid version of custard. It usually doesn’t thicken with a starch (although some use some cornstarch to avoid scrambling), and usually only uses eggs/egg yolks. It’s like a thick sauce that can be poured over desserts. This pastry cream is not heated to boil to prevent the eggs from curdling.

Creme Chantilly is lightly whipped cream sweetened with sugar and (usually) flavored with vanilla.

Creme Patissiere is a thicker pastry cream. It thickens with starch and eggs/egg yolks and can be tubed. It is mainly used to fill cakes and other desserts. The pastry cream is heated to a boil, so that it thickens well. Due to starch, eggs do not curdle easily.

Creme Legere is pastry cream with sweetened and flavored whipped cream (chantilly) added. Most people call this crème diplomat as well.

Creme Diplomat is pastry cream mixed with chantilly, gelatin and any extra flavoring (optional). It is basically legere cream made with stabilized whipped cream.

Creme Bavarois is a dessert in itself. It’s like panna cotta, but made with custard. It is pastry cream mixed with chantilly, but with extra gelatin (so that it looks like a pudding) and extra flavorings.

Creme Patisserie is the basis of all these pastry essentials, so I hope you try this recipe!

Creme Patissiere - creamy vanilla pastry cream. Be sure to place the plastic wrap that covers the entire surface of the pastry cream to prevent skin from forming.
While the custard cools, cover it with plastic wrap that touches the entire surface. This ensures that the pastry cream will not form a skin.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe

The importance of


Eggs play two roles in custard. It adds richness (especially the yolks) and also thickens the custard. I use large eggs in this recipe, where one egg weighs 2oz/57g on average. So if you are using eggs of different sizes, you can adjust them accordingly. But a little more egg (or egg yolk) won’t ruin your custard.

I use 3 large egg yolks, plus 1 large egg for this recipe. This custard is delicious and spreadable and pipepable (not too rigid). If you want a RICH flavor custard, then I like to use 6 large egg yolks instead. This version is slightly thicker due to the extra egg yolks.

Personally, I don’t like my custard being too sweet. So I only add 6 tablespoons (1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons) of sugar for every 2 cups of milk. Feel free to adjust the sweetness to your liking.

Cooking tips to make sure you get perfect custard (custard) every time.

The first step is to heat the milk.

Some recipes call for blanching milk, which is not necessary if you are using pasteurized milk. However, if you are using fresh vanilla pods, blanching the milk with the vanilla and letting it cool a little will allow the vanilla to infuse itself into the milk. I heat the milk to almost boil, so that it accelerates the process of dissolving the sugar and thickening.

Be sure to mix the eggs, cornstarch, and sugar in a separate bowl until you have a smooth, pleasant paste.

This ensures that there are NO lumps in the cornstarch, and the sugar and eggs will form a thick paste that will mix better with the milk. But don’t do this ahead of time. Just mix it a few minutes before adding the milk. Otherwise, the eggs will be cooked in sugar.

Be careful when tempering eggs with warm milk.

If you’re a beginner, you can get someone to help you beat the egg mixture, while pouring the hot milk into a thin stream to temper the eggs. Another way to temper eggs is to keep the bowl with the egg-sugar mixture on a tea towel (to prevent it from slipping) and pour the hot milk from a small, light measuring cup (light enough to control with one hand). This makes it easier to beat the egg mixture with one hand and pour warm milk with the other.

Keep beating and mixing the custard while cooking.

It is important to keep the milk-egg mixture moving while it is heated. The milk will curdle when it approaches the boiling point, and we do NOT want that! Use a whisk and spatula to make sure the pastry cream stays smooth. If you feel that the custard is heating up too quickly, remove it from the heat periodically while stirring.

Bring the vanilla pastry cream to a boil.

Unlike other custards, custard should boil. Cornstarch will cook well, and you won’t be left with a starchy flavor as well. The heat allows the eggs to form strong protein bonds, and the starch in the cornstarch expands, forming starch bonds that actually thicken and stabilize the custard. While stirring, let the pastry cream boil and then let it cook more for about 1 – 2 minutes over low-medium heat.

Strain the custard.

It is not necessary to strain the pastry cream unless it is lumpy. BUT it’s still a good extra measure to make sure the custard is silky smooth.

Cooling the custard.

Once the custard is cooked, it should cool completely. To allow the custard to cool quickly, spread it out in a large bowl or shallow pan, so that the layer of cream is quite shallow. Be sure to cover the ENTIRE SURFACE with plastic wrap to prevent skin from forming on the surface as well.

Common pastry cream mistakes My custard

is lumpy This

happens if you have heated the

pastry cream

to too high a temperature or did not stir it well when it was boiling. Don’t worry though, beat it VERY well to get rid of lumps (from the fire), or if that doesn’t work, run it through a strainer as soon as you’ve cooked it.

My custard is too thin.

This happens if you have not cooked the pastry cream correctly. This recipe makes a pastry cream that can be spread and tubed, but it is not stiff enough to maintain its shape. If you want a stiffer and thicker vanilla pastry cream, you can increase the amount of cornstarch.

My pastry cream is too thick.

Most likely, you have added too much cornstarch. If you actually compacted cornstarch into your measuring spoon, or used the wrong measuring spoon, this can happen. You can fold some stabilized chantilly cream to loosen the pastry cream and get the right consistency, like a diplomatic cream.

My custard

has faded (looks gray)

If you used an aluminum pot to make custard, chances are some of that aluminum can get into the custard. Use a stainless steel pot, copper pot, or nonstick pot.

My pastry cream feels grainy

This happens if the custard was cooked too hot and curdled at some point. Even though you beat the mixture to break down the curdled egg and passed it through a sieve, some of the curdled egg is still there. It has been dispersed through the pastry cream making it feel grainy. Unfortunately, there is no solution to this and it must be done again.



Never keep vanilla pastry cream outside. It is made with milk and eggs that spoil when not refrigerated. Pastry cream will spoil if stored at room temperature.

Pastry cream cannot be frozen for later. The reason is that the starch and protein bonds that thicken the custard will break when frozen. And as the custard thaws, it will cry and create too much moisture, making it liquid, ruining the consistency.

The best way to store pastry cream is in the fridge, in an airtight container, with a piece of plastic wrap that covers the entire surface of the custard. The custard will last about 3 to 4 days in the fridge. This means you can also make vanilla custard ahead of time for your recipes.

Other variations of


Now you can also make chocolate custard!

Or a

lighter, sweeter salted caramel

diplomatic cream instead.


Silicone mixers and spatula – to remove

pastry cream Plastic wrap

Pyrex glass containers with lids: to store pastry cream (remember to cover the surface with plastic wrap as well.

Measuring cups and spoons Culinary specialist with more than 10 years of experience in the restaurant industry.

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