Rich, thick and creamy, this pastry custard works well in all kinds of tarts, puds and puffs!
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This recipe is our adaptation of the one found in the wonderful book ‘advanced bread and pastry’ by Michel Suas. The method is very similar to a lot of other recipes for crème pâtissière, but there are a few subtle differences that make this our favorite. First of all the ratio between the ingredients seems to be just right. The adding of a bit of sugar to the milk prevents it from boiling over and last but not least the adding of the butter at the end gives it a silky smooth finish.
We use this recipe for all ‘creme pat’ requiring projects. Like the cranberry rondo’s for example, or as filling for Danish pastry and choux buns /cream puffs. And of course we love to use it in the Dutch version of the vanilla slice, our ‘tompoezen’.
Ingredients for the Crème Pâtissière
250 g full fat milk
10 g sugar
quarter piece vanilla pod
20 g cornstarch
50 g sugar
50 g egg yolk (about 3 egg yolks)
20 g butter
Making the Crème Pâtissière
In a heavy bottomed saucepan pour the milk and add the 10 g of sugar. Cut a quarter piece from a vanilla pod, slice it open lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Add both seeds and the piece of pod to the milk. Bring this to a gentle boil. To infuse the vanilla further we now turn off the heat and leave the milk to soak up more vanilla flavor for about 15 minutes.
In a bowl combine the cornstarch, 50 g sugar and the egg yolk until well blended. Now add 1/3 of the hot milk to the egg mixture while stirring. Add the mixture to the milk in the saucepan and stir again. Now make sure you have a whisk at hand. Bring the milk mixture to a boil while slowly whisking all the time. As you feel it thickening you need to whisk with a bit more enthusiasm to avoid lumps.
Keep whisking as you boil the mixture for one minute (to make sure the cornstarch is cooked to prevent a ‘flour’ taste). Take from the heat, add the butter and beat it in until smooth.
Important tip!: We now first place the saucepan on a cool surface and leave it to stand for a minute. If you scrape out the pan right away chances are the creme on the bottom of the pan will stick and/or curdle because the pan is still very hot. This will affect the consistency and you will not end up with the silky smooth texture you are aiming for!
After the pan has cooled for a minute you can now safely transfer the creme to a bowl. To avoid skin forming, cover the creme with clingfilm, making sure the clingfilm touches the surface of the creme. Alternatively you can dust the surface with plenty of icing sugar. Leave to cool. If needed you can cool the creme quickly by sitting the bowl in another larger bowl of ice water. When cooled, refrigerate until needed.