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Basic Pastry Cream

Macarons with pastry cream

Pastry cream is also known as Custard cream or creme patisserie, in French. It is a cream used as a filling for many cakes, tarts or other pastries.

I use this cream in fillings for birthday cakes, for creamy desserts or for making ice creams.  Usually the cream is made with a lot of egg yolks, around 6 – 8 for a litre of milk.  However, I make it with less eggs and it is equally delicious.   

chocolate pastry cream

The cream is thickened with corn flour (starch) but a mixture of corn flour and all purpose flour can also be used with the ratio you prefer.

If you want to make a dark cream, you can add either chocolate which you will add in the cream at the time of setting.  It will melt with the heat by just stirring it in.  Alternatively you can add 2 – 3 tablespoons good quality of cocoa powder, sieved.  

dark chocolate pastry cream

Years ago I used to make the pastry without consulting a recipe.  For each glass of milk (about 200 ml), I knew that the ratio was I heaped tablespoon (not measuring spoon) of corn flour and I heaped tablespoon (not measuring spoon) of sugar.

collage How to make pastry cream

However, after I started blogging and bought proper measuring cups and spoons, I measured the ingredients.  So now you know that if you want to make it without measuring, it’s very easy.  If something goes wrong and the custard does not set properly, just dissolve a little bit more corn flour with milk, add it to the custard and mix on the heat until it sets.  If on the other hand it comes out very thick, just add more milk and mix.


Basic Pastry Cream

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: about 15 minutes

Yields: 1 1/2 litres cream


  • 1 1/2 litres whole milk
  • 150 grams corn flour (starch)
  • 150 grams sugar
  • ½ tsp citrus or vanilla essence
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/8 tsp (a pinch) of salt
  • 1 tbsp orange or other citrus zest (optional)
  • 1 tbsp butter



  1. Heat the milk reserving about half a cup cold milk to add to mixture. 
  2. Separate the egg yolks.
  3. In another pot add the flour and corn flour (starch) mixture, the egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, salt and the cold milk and stir well with a balloon whisk.
  4. When the milk is hot pour to the mixture and mix.  
  5. Put it on the heat and mix constantly until cream sets.
  6. Add butter and mix.
 eclairs with pastry cream

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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