Pastry cream is a form of custard often used in desserts such as eclairs, fruit tarts or profiteroles. This easy-to-make version uses vanilla bean and lemon to create a delicate flavour that can be used as a base for other types of pastry creams, such as chocolate. A staple of pastry kitchens of France and Italy, this is one recipe that can be used over and over again!
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- Pour the milk into a small saucepan with the lemon peel, vanilla seeds and pod. Bring to a boil and then quickly remove from the heat. Set aside and let the vanilla and lemon infuse into the milk for approx. 15 minutes. Remove lemon peel and vanilla pod.
- Meanwhile, whip together the egg yolks and sugar for the pastry cream until light and fluffy (this is called the ribbon stage when using a whisk, you can drizzle some of the mixture across itself and the ribbon gently disappears). Add in the flour and cornstarch.
- Gently add the infused milk to the bowl with the egg mixture, tempering the egg yolks by adding a small bit first and then whisking.
- Return the entire mixture to a saucepan and whisk together over high heat until it thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan.
- Pour the pastry cream into a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on the surface (this will stop it from developing a skin as it cools). Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- When it has cooled, spoon it into a pastry bag with a small tip and set aside until ready to be used.