Pastry cream

Pastry cream

Crema pasticcera

By
From
Florentine
Makes
680 g pastry cream
Photographer
Lauren Bamford

This is a simple, traditional preparation for pastry cream, a thick Italian custard, which is used to fill pastries such as bomboloncini, cornetti and sfogliatine and to fill cakes such as schiacciata alla fiorentina or torta della nonna. Depending on what you are using this pastry cream for, you may like to add some subtle flavour with lemon zest or vanilla. This recipe can easily be halved if you don’t need the amount that it makes here.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
4 egg yolks
120g sugar
30g cornflour
500ml warm milk

Optional:

Quantity Ingredient
1 lemon, zested
or 1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract
or 1/2 vanilla pod, split open and seeds scraped

Method

  1. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a mixing bowl until pale. Stir in the cornflour. Put the mixture in a saucepan over a low heat and add the warm milk, little by little, stirring between each addition. Add the lemon zest or vanilla essence or seeds, if using. Stir continuously with a whisk or a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes smooth and thick, about 10 minutes. You are looking for a consistency similar to mayonnaise (when cool it will also firm up further). Do not let it boil – remove from the heat at the very first sign of a bubble.
  2. Remove the pastry cream from the heat. Prepare an ice bath and cool the pastry cream quickly by transferring to a mixing bowl set over the ice water. Cover with plastic wrap making sure that the plastic is touching the surface of the pastry cream, so it doesn’t develop a skin. Keep in the refrigerator until needed.
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