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Velvety Vanilla pastry cream in a bowl with a spoon
5 from 2 votes

Velvety Vanilla Pastry Cream

Rich and creamy pastry cream.  Used for filling eclairs, tarts, cakes, pies, frozen custard and more.

Course Dessert
Cuisine American, French
Keyword how to make pastry cream, pastry cream
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
chill time 2 hours 2 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 9
Calories 204 kcal


To make pastry cream:

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar 100g
  • 4 tbsp cornstarch 32g
  • pinch salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla 5 ml
  • 1 cup milk 240 ml
  • 1 cup cream 240 ml


Pastry cream instructions:

  1. Place egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment.  Beat the mixture on high until light and fluffy.

  2. Meanwhile, in a heavy saucier, mix the milk and cream together.  Place the saucier over medium-high heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil.

  3. Decrease the mixer speed to medium and carefully pour the hot milk mixture down the side of the bowl.  Turn the mixer to low to prevent splashing.  The egg mixture must be in motion to prevent the hot liquid from scalding the eggs.  

  4. Clean the saucier.  It needs to be perfectly clean to be reused again to cook the pastry cream.

  5. Once all the milk mixture is incorporated, slowly increase the mixer speed and let it run for about 1 minute.  Stop the mixer scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl to ensure that all the ingredients are completely incorporated.  Transfer mixture from the bowl into the clean saucier

  6. Before cooking the then pastry cream mixture, have a clean bowl and a fine sieve ready.  You will be pouring the finished mixture through the sieve and into the bowl the moment the mixture is done.

  7. Return the saucier to the stove.  Have a candy thermometer ready.  Over medium-high heat, vigorously whisk the mixture until it has thickened, 4-5 minutes.  Don't ever stop mixing and make sure your whisk is getting to the bottom and along the sides of the saucepan.  Pastry cream can burn easily.

  8. Once the temperature reaches 160 degrees and has the consistency of mayonnaise, remove from heat and pour the pastry cream through the sieve into a clean bowl.  Use a rubber spatula to press the thick pastry cream through the sieve.

  9. Take a piece of plastic wrap that is larger than in diameter than your bowl and place it directly on the surface of the pastry cream.  Make sure that every bit of pastry cream is touching the plastic to prevent a skin from forming.  Transfer bowl to the refrigerator to cool completely.

Recipe Notes

  1. Once your pastry cream is cool, you'll notice that it's considerable thicker than when you saw it last.  This is normal.
  2. Pastry cream keeps for about 2 days in the refrigerator.
  3. Many flavors can be added to pastry cream.  Almond extract, espresso powder, chocolate ganache, lemon curd, pumpkin puree, etc.
  4. Pastry cream can be lightened up by folding 1/2 cup whipped cream to 1 cup pastry cream. 
Nutrition Facts
Velvety Vanilla Pastry Cream
Amount Per Serving (1 g)
Calories 204 Calories from Fat 117
% Daily Value*
Fat 13g20%
Saturated Fat 7g35%
Cholesterol 169mg56%
Sodium 27mg1%
Potassium 68mg2%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 0g0%
Sugar 12g13%
Protein 3g6%
Vitamin A 605IU12%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 63mg6%
Iron 0.3mg2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.