Crème pâtissière

For the first time in over three months, I missed my weekly post! (I was at a wedding in the Barossa Valley so it was more eating and drinking than baking)

To make up for that, I’m going to finally talk about la crème de la crème – crème pâtissière.

This versatile crème, also known as pastry cream, is a thick custard made from milk, eggs, sugar and flour.

It is used to fill all kinds of delicious pastries such as tarts, choux buns, éclairs and of course the classic mille-feuille.

The best part is that it’s relatively easy to make. You just need to beat your egg and sugar together, before adding hot milk and whisking over a stove to thicken. Sound familiar?

Well, the big difference between crème pâtissière and crème Anglaise is the addition of flour or cornflour (to the sugar) and also butter that is sometimes added at the end.

The flour is added to help stabilise the custard and prevents it from curdling when cooked over a high heat.

You can also flavour crème pâtissière using lemon, chocolate, rum or coffee. I’ve gone classic to start, but look forward to experimenting with a few twists down the track.

Julia Child’s crème pâtissière

5 egg yolks
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup plain flour
2 cups hot milk
1 tbsp butter
1 ½ tbsp vanilla extract

Gradually beat the sugar into the egg yolks and continue beating for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and forms a ribbon.

Beat in the flour.

Beating the egg yolk mixture, gradually pour on the boiling milk in a thin stream of droplets.

Pour into saucepan and set over moderately high heat. Stir with a wire whip, reaching all over bottom of pan. As sauce comes to the boil it will get lumpy, but will smooth out as you beat it. When boil is reached, beat over moderately low heat for 2-3 minutes to cook the flour. Be careful custard does not scorch the bottom of the pan.

Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.

Top tip – only use stainless steel saucepans and wire whisks when making crème pâtissière.

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