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From Cook's Illustrated's, "Baking Illustrated". A rich and delicious pastry cream that makes a wonderful filling for many pastries, cakes, etc. Placing this here for safe keeping.
- Ready In:
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1 pinch salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I have also used vanilla bean, just make sure to scrape the seeds out of the pod)
- Heat half-and-half, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. If using vanilla bean, add this as well.
- Whisk yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until sugar begins to dissolve and mixture is creamy. Whisk in cornstarch until combined and mixture is pal yellow and thick.
- When half-and-half mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk half-and-half mixture into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to pan, scraping bowl with rubber spatula.
- Return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy. This takes about a minute.
- Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla (if using vanilla bean, scrape the pod and add seeds). Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over medium bowl. This will remove any curdled bits that might have formed during the cooking process.
- Press plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream to prevent skimming and refrigerate until cold and ready to use.
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