Sweet Essentials: Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)

Andy Anderson !


Not too long ago, I posted a recipe for a French sweet pastry (Pâte Sucrée). You can fill it with all kinds of sweet goodness. One of the things you will need is a good pastry cream, and this is the one I picked up at Le Cordon Bleu.

So, you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.


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10 Min
10 Min
Stove Top



  • 2/3 c
    sugar, granulated variety
  • 3 - 4 large
    egg yolks
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    vanilla paste
  • 3 Tbsp
    flour, all-purpose variety
  • 1/2 c
    whole milk
  • 1/2 c
    whipping or heavy cream

How to Make Sweet Essentials: Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)


  2. You will need a whisk or an electric beater. The whisk is fine… the beater is easier.
  3. Unlike other custards, pastry cream must to be brought to the boil. The flour will cook well, and you won’t be left with a floury taste. In addition, the heat allows the eggs to form strong bonds, with the flour that really thicken and stabilize the pastry cream. 
  4. If there is one secret to making a good Crème Pâtissière it is the constant whisking. Once you add the hot liquid to the eggs, the whisking never stops.
  5. If you do not have vanilla paste, then substitute 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
  6. Gather your ingredients (mise en place).
  7. Add the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla to a medium bowl, and whisk until pale yellow, and completely combined.
  8. Chef's Note: The reason mine does not look pale yellow is because I am using brown coconut sugar, for this particular batch.
  9. Add the flour, and continue to whisk until completely combined.
  10. Add the milk and cream to a small saucepan over medium-high heat, and slowly bring up to the boil, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  11. Take off heat and slowly, slowly, add about 1/4 cup to the egg/sugar mixture, while constantly whisking.
  12. Chef’s Note: This is called tempering the eggs. If you add the hot milk/cream too fast, you will cook the eggs, and we do not want scrambled eggs.
  13. Now, slowly add the remainder of the hot liquid in a steady stream, whisking constantly.
  14. Chef’s Tip: Take the saucepan and wash it out. That way it will not have a film of dried milk on the bottom.
  15. Chef’s Tip: If some of the eggs cooked (it can happen), and you have little bits in your Crème Pâtissière, no worries. Just push it through a fine-mesh sieve before returning to the stovetop.
  16. Return the mixture to the saucepan, and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, while constantly stirring. Then reduce heat to medium, and whisk for an additional 2 minutes, or until nice and thick.
  17. Chef’s Tip: If you feel that the Crème Pâtissière is heating up too fast, remove it from the heat periodically while stirring. 
  18. Place in a bowl, and press a piece of cling film over the surface, then place in the fridge until ready to use. You can make this 3 to 4 days in advance.
  20. Use it as a filling base for all sorts of tarts, and pastries. Enjoy.
  21. Keep the faith, and keep cooking.

Printable Recipe Card

About Sweet Essentials: Crème Pâtissière (Pastry Cream)

Course/Dish: Other Sauces
Main Ingredient: Dairy
Regional Style: French
Dietary Needs: Low Sodium Soy Free

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