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Basic Pastry Cream

Basic Pastry Cream

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Pastry cream, which is also known as Custard cream or Crème pâtissière, in French, is a rich, thick and creamy custard made from a mixture of milk, eggs, sugar, flour, cornstarch and flavour.  In Greece it is known as Krema Patisserie.

You can eat it as it is or use it as a filling for many cakes, tarts or other desserts.

Pastry cream image

I use this cream in fillings for birthday cakes, for creamy desserts, tarts, as a base to make ice creams, to make pate a bomb, or desserts such as ekmek kataifi, galaktoboureko, galatopita, eclairs, kok, millefeuilles and many more.  

Eclairs with Chocolate Pastry Cream image
Eclairs with Chocolate Pastry Cream

Useful notes:

Usually the cream is made with a lot of egg yolks, around 8 for a litre of milk.  However, I make it with less eggs and it is equally delicious.  

You can also use the egg whites in the cream, if you like but you must be careful not to curdle the eggs.  You can see how I do this in the second recipe below.

making chocolate pastry cream image

The cream is usually thickened with corn flour (starch) but you can also use a mixture of corn flour and all purpose flour, 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 I add the butter in the video.  This will not affect the quantity of the remaining ingredients.   It will melt with the heat by just stirring it in.  Alternatively you can add 2 – 3 tablespoons good quality of cocoa powder, sieved.  

In order to speed up the procedure of setting the cream, it is best to heat the milk first.  If you use the milk cold, you will have to mix twice the time mentioned in the recipe.

In the second recipe, I used cold milk.

dark chocolate pastry cream image

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 1 heaped tablespoon (not measuring spoon) of corn flour (starch) and 1 heaped tablespoon (not measuring spoon) of sugar.

However, after I started blogging and bought proper measuring cups and spoons, I started measuring 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.

collage small How to make pastry cream image

So, the recipe in the video is based on the above, with the only difference that I made a small batch with one cup milk.  If you want to skip the egg whites, just add a little bit milk to replenish that amount.  You can do that after the cream sets.  Add milk gradually and mix, until it reaches the consistency that you like.

The butter I added is for two reasons:  First of all the milk I used in the second recipe was low fat milk, so I added it to make the cream richer.  The other reason I add some butter, is that it makes the cream more smooth and shiny.  So again, if you use whole milk or heavy cream, you can skip the butter.

While the pastry cream is cooling, cover it with cling film, so as to avoid a skin to form on the surface.

Pastry Cream in the Video


  • 240 ml (1 cup) milk
  • 30 grams sugar
  • 30 grams corn flour
  • ¼ tsp vanilla essence
  • 2 large eggs
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp butter


  1. Put the eggs in a small pot, the corn flour (starch) and sugar and whisk to combine.
  2. Add the salt, vanilla and milk and whisk again until incorporated.
  3. Put it on the heat and whisk continuously, until the cream sets.
  4. When it starts setting, add the butter and mix.
  5. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.


Well, a diplomat cream is no other than a combination of pastry cream with whipped cream. It has the same flavor as pastry cream, but a much lighter and fluffier texture.

Pastry cream image

So, in order to make the diplomat cream, when the pastry cream cools completely, you just add the whipped cream , and combine the two together. This is what will make the cream light, airy and fluffy.

eclairs with pastry cream

The ratio is usually 1:1 but it can vary depending on how you like it. I usually make it with two parts pastry cream and one part whipped cream.

Pastry cream image

Basic Pastry Cream

Yield: 1 1/2 litres
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

Pastry cream, which is also known as Custard cream or crème pâtissière, in French, is a cream used as a filling for many cakes, tarts or other pastries.


  • 1500 ml whole milk
  • 150 grams corn flour (starch)
  • 150 grams sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence or other flavour
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp orange or other citrus zest (optional)
  • 1 tbsp butter (optional)


  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 the butter and mix.


If you use cold milk, it will take longer to set.

If you want to use the eggs whole with the egg whites, the ratio of the ingredients are still the same.

Nutrition Information
Yield 1 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 2394Total Fat 85gSaturated Fat 43gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 34gCholesterol 923mgSodium 1075mgCarbohydrates 343gFiber 11gSugar 230gProtein 70g

"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."

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Collage how to make pastry cream image

Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

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