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Pastry Cream Recipe from Scratch

This is a pastry cream recipe is vanilla flavored and the base for any other flavors of cream. You can add liqueur to the cream, herbs, spices or other extracts.

More flavor ideas further down the page.  Easy dessert recipes above and at the end of the page.

Easy Homemade Pastry Cream with variations #MissHomemade

Pastry Cream Recipe

I love Dorie Greenspan, and this is from her cookbook “Baking, From my Home to Yours.”
2 cups whole milk
6 large egg yolks
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch, sifted
1-1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3-1/2 TBS unsalted butter, cut up at room temperatureBring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan.
Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Still whisking, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk – this will temper (or warm) the yolks so they won’t curdle. Continue whisking and slowly add the rest of the hot milk.
Put the pan over medium heat and whisk vigorously, bringing the mixture to a boil. Boil for two minutes whisking continuously and remove the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk in bits of the butter, stirring until it is fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl and create an airtight seal with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold. If you want it to cool quickly, put the bowl into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water, and stir the cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.


Liqueur Scented Pastry Cream Recipe
You can flavor vanilla pastry cream with various liqueurs. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon and after you have added it, add 2 teaspoons of liqueur. If you want more flavor, add more liqueur 1 teaspoon at a time.

There are many good choices for additions, among them: amaretto (almond liqueur) or Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur), in which case you might want to reduce the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon and add 1/4 teaspoon of pure almond extract; Chambord (raspberry liqueur), anisette (licorice), brandy, cognac, kirsch (cherry), framboise (raspberry) or poire Williams (pear).

Rum Scented Pastry Cream
After you add the vanilla extract, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of dark rum, to taste.

Cinnamon Pastry Cream
Put 2 cinnamon sticks into the saucepan with milk and bring to a boil, then remove the saucepan form the heat, cover and steep for 1 hour. Cook the pastry cream with the cinnamon sticks, then discard the sticks when you stir in the vanilla extract. Alternatively, you can beat 2 to 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon into the egg mixture.

Citrus Pastry Cream Recipe
Follow the directions for Cinnamon Pastry cream, steeping the zest to 1 large (or 2 small) lemons, 2 limes or 1 orange, cut from the fruit in wide strips (no pith), in the milk. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon. If you want a stronger taste, use the appropriate citrus extract or oil, and begin with one drop. Add additional flavor by droplets.

Coffee or Espresso Pastry Cream
Make a coffee or espresso extract by dissolving 2 tablespoons of instant coffee OR espresso powder in 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Add 1 tablespoon of the mixture to the pastry cream after you’ve added the vanilla extract. If you want more flavor, add additional mixture 1 teaspoon at a time.

Ginger Pastry Cream
Follow the directions for Cinnamon Pastry Cream, steeping 8 to 10 quarter-size pieces of peeled ginger in the milk. Alternatively, you can beat 2 to 3 teaspoons of ground ginger to the egg mixture.

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