This Easy Homemade Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream is the perfect simple recipe for homemade creme patisserie, a french-style custard or pastry cream made with real vanilla beans!
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This Easy Homemade Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream is a recipe I’ve been making for years and years! It’s is SO good and not at all one of those scary recipes that should be left to the professionals – it’s easy, straightforward, and with a few simple tips and tricks you’ll be well on your way to making your own creme patisserie or pastry cream, as we say in English, at home. It’s the perfect recipe to fill cakes, tarts, serve over ice cream or in a trifle, or even parfaits! And making it with real vanilla beans just takes it over the top with those gorgeous vanilla bean seeds…it’s as pretty as it is delicious!
And if you’re looking for a recipe to use up all those egg whites left over after making this Easy Homemade Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream, this Easy No Fail Angel Food Cake recipe is SO great. And it’s even a delicious cake to serve with a dollop of this Easy Homemade Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream and some fresh fruit!
Here are all my best tips and tricks for making the perfect vanilla bean pastry cream every single time:
- Use fresh eggs at room temperature! The fresher the eggs the better your pastry cream will be. And using eggs at room temperature helps create that ultra smooth texture you’re looking for in a good pastry cream. Let the eggs sit on the counter for a few hours before using for best results.
- Strain it! If you find your pastry cream ends up with a few lumps, never fear! As my favourite chef Anna Olson always says, “pastry chefs always strain their sauces!” Because nobody’s perfect, right?!
- Add some butter! Adding a tablespoon or two of butter at the end of cooking creates the perfect velvety texture and helps the pastry cream stay ultra-smooth for a gorgeous presentation.
- Use REAL vanilla beans! Nothing beats the real thing and adding vanilla bean seeds to your pastry cream not only creates those gorgeous vanilla bean flecks, it also creates a deep vanilla flavour which compliments any dessert.
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Easy Homemade Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
- 2 cups whole milk (3% or higher)
- 2 vanilla beans
- 6 egg yolks, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons white sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Add the whole milk to a small pot over medium heat.
- Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla beans and add the seeds to the milk. Toss in the vanilla bean pods too, as they help infuse the milk with more vanilla flavour.
- When the milk heats to a low simmer, reduce the heat to low.
- In a medium heat-safe bowl (use a pyrex bowl for best results) add the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch. Whisk vigorously to combine until the mixture begins to turn slightly pale and is very smooth.
- Remove the vanilla bean pods from the hot milk.
- Very slowly and carefully, pour a small amount of milk (a few tablespoons at a time) into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. This process is called tempering - the egg yolk mixture heats up slowly as the milk is added so as not to cook the egg yolks. If this happens, you'll have scrambled eggs in your pastry cream, which nobody wants!
- Continue adding the milk very slowly, whisking constantly, until all the milk is added. As more milk is added you can increase the speed at which you pour in the milk.
- Once all the milk has been added, return the entire mixture to the pot and set the heat to medium. Whisk regularly until the mixture heats up and when the mixture begins to thicken, whisk constantly until a thick, pudding-like texture is reached.
- Add the butter to a clean bowl and strain the pastry cream into the bowl over top of the butter, causing it to melt.
- Stir the butter into the pastry cream very gently with a rubber spatula.
- Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is directly on top of the pastry cream, with no air between the pastry cream and the plastic wrap. This will prevent a skin from forming as the pastry cream cools.
- Allow the pastry cream to cool at room temperature for about 30 minutes and then place it in the fridge for about 2 hours or overnight.
- After it has cooled, pipe it into tart shells, serve it with cakes or pastries, enjoy it with ice cream, or even with a spoon if you like!