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Pastry Cream Recipe (Professional Guide)

Pastry Cream can be used as a filling for puffs, macarons, cakes and bread, as well as for framing and dipping. It can be used as a filling when successful, or as a meal when it fails, and is sweet and nutritious.

The prototype for today’s Pastry Cream is the custard sauce.
This type of sauce uses heat to denature the proteins and starches, turning the mixture, which contains a lot of milk, into a thick, sticky sauce.
This semi-runny sauce is light and sweet, melts in the mouth and has a rich custard flavour that makes it very popular.

Pastry cream can be flavoured in a variety of ways, for example by adding matcha powder, cocoa powder or coffee powder to make a variety of different colours and flavours, mixing it with whipped cream to make a pastry cream sauce, or mixing it with softened cream cheese to make a pastry cream cheese sauce.

There are also ready-made castaway mixes on the market today, which consist of starch, milk powder, egg powder, emulsifiers and flavourings. It is very quick to make pastry cream with this mix, which can be made by simply heating the powder with water. However, this powder has so many additives that it has lost the natural flavour of the ingredients and defeats the original purpose of our bakers, so it is not recommended for general use.

The basic pastry cream is very simple in terms of ingredients; its main ingredients are starch, eggs, milk and caster sugar. The classic vanilla custard also adds vanilla seeds to dissolve the vanilla flavour into the milk, and the aromatic flavour really surpasses that of commercially available vanilla extract desserts.
However, this vanilla pod from Madagascar is one of the most expensive of baking ingredients.

The ratio of the four main ingredients is – 
Starch 0.9 oz
Egg yolks (3) 1.8 oz
Milk 8.9 oz
Caster sugar 1.8 oz
In terms of baking percentages, this is 100% starch, 200% egg yolks, 1000% milk and 200% caster sugar.

Corn starch, wheat starch or low gluten flour can be used, of which low gluten flour should be the most common in home baking, having a starch content of over 80%, and it is perfectly fine to use it instead of starch.

Avoid using high gluten flours as the high gluten content affects the fineness of the cascade sauce. Egg yolks contain protein and lecithin, which provide coagulation and emulsification to the pastry cream and add an egg-like flavour to the sauce.

Milk is usually whole milk, there is not much to ask, as long as it is not too old.

The sugar can be increased or decreased according to your preference, but it has a strong water-holding capacity and can affect the moistness of the pastry cream.

Separating the fresh eggs is the first step, then mix the fine sugar with the egg yolks.
As well as being water-retentive, sugar raises the setting temperature of the yolks, which also prevents the boiling milk from scalding them easily.
Sifting the flour and adding it to the egg yolk mixture will prevent further lumps from forming, then stir until the dry flour has completely disappeared.

Slowly pour the boiling milk into the batter, why not pour the batter into the milk? Because if you pour the batter into the milk, the part of the batter that was poured in first will be scalded by the hot milk, resulting in a lot of lumps, which is the last thing a dessert chef wants.

It should also be stirred constantly as it is poured in, which cools the milk down quickly and prevents the proteins from coagulating with the starch.
Due to the very high proportion of milk, the mixture is still fluid at this point. Then it is strained through a mesh sieve again, which filters out any accidental curds that have arisen.

Pour the strained mixture into a saucepan. Turn the heat on low and stir constantly. It is best to use a heavy-bottomed ramekin so that the temperature rises more slowly and evenly.
Stirring serves two purposes: yi fan to heat the batter evenly, and yi fan to constantly break the web-like structure of the protein and starch molecules to avoid premature solidification.

During the heating process, the starch goes through 3 stages: pasting, thickening and thinning.
The pasting stage begins at around 60°C, when the starch particles absorb water and swell, eventually breaking up to release straight-chain starch molecules with branched starch molecules.

When the temperature reaches around 80°C, the solution becomes more viscous due to the large number of long chains of starch molecules entwined together, this is the thickening stage. At this point there is no ceasefire and the heating is continued until the solution reaches a temperature of 95°C or more, causing the solution to boil.

The chain of starch molecules is broken by the high temperature, making the mixture less viscous and more liquid, this is the thinning stage.

The speed of change between these three stages is rapid, so it is important not to turn on the heat to avoid overheating leading to complete solidification.

The protein also solidifies in the pan, at a temperature of between 60 and 80°C, but why does it not end up like a steamed egg?
Because the milk is 5 times heavier than the egg yolk and the large number of water molecules affects the bonding of the protein molecules, while the starch molecules are scattered between the protein molecules and interfere with their web-like bonding, so the custard does not form a steamed egg.

As soon as the pastry cream starts to boil and the condition becomes smooth, stop heating it. At this point the pan is still warm and to avoid overheating it should be poured into a container to cool immediately. It is best to use a wide metal container so that the pastry cream can be spread out over a large area to speed up the cooling process, and even better if it can be cooled under ice water.
Wrap in cling film and try to fit the surface of the sauce as closely as possible during the cooling down process, this will slow down the loss of moisture and prevent the pastry cream from drying out.

The reason for cooling down quickly is that pastry creams are well hydrated and nutritious, and not high in oil and sugar preservatives, so they can easily grow bacteria and shorten their shelf life if left at room temperature for a long time.
Once the cream has cooled to room temperature, it can be taken out and used, otherwise it should be refrigerated promptly. It is worth noting that the lower the temperature and water content of the pastry cream the higher the viscosity, so you can adjust it to suit your use.

When chilled, castaways will turn into a jelly-like effect. Unlike jelly, however, this solidified state is very fragile and can be restored to a smooth state by ensuring it has a good water content and whisking well again with a whisk. If there are still lumps, your castaway sauce may have been overheated or too much water has evaporated.

  • Recipes

< Serving size > About 0.4 lbs.
< Heating > Low heat throughout, about 800 watts in an electric pottery stove, adjust according to your heating method
< Storage > 2 days in a sealed refrigerator, 1 month in a freezer.

  • Raw Materials

Low gluten flour 0.5 oz
Egg yolks 1.1 oz (about 2)
Milk 5.3 oz
Fine caster sugar 1.1 oz

  • Steps

1. Separate the yolks from the eggs and stir in the fine sugar without whipping.

2. Sieve in the low-gluten flour and stir until the dry flour disappears completely, when the batter is very fine.

Add Flour

Mix Well

3. Pour the milk into a saucepan (add the vanilla seeds if you have them) and heat over a medium heat in a ceramic hob until it comes to a light boil and then turn off the heat.

Pour into the pan

Bring to a gentle boil

4.Slowly pour the milk into the batter while stirring continuously with a whisk until well combined.

5. Pour the mixture back into the ramekin through a sieve, this will remove any lumps.


6. Heat the ramekin on an electric ceramic hob with 800 watts, stirring constantly with a whisk throughout, making sure the batter is also stirred in at the bottom and edges of the pan.



7. As the temperature rises, the starch begins to melt and the batter will gradually become sticky.

8. When the batter has a lot of lumps, it has reached its thickest stage of consistency and the resistance to mixing will be noticeable.

9. Continue heating until the batter begins to boil and bubble, by which time it has reached the thinning stage. The batter becomes much smoother than before and there is no noticeable resistance to mixing, it is a little thicker than unwhipped light cream. The batter feels silky smooth when brought up with a whisk and spatula.

10. Pour into the prepared container and spread out with a spatula to speed up cooling. It can also be cooled under ice water, which cools it down more quickly.

11. Then immediately seal it in cling film without leaving too much air, the aim being to prevent the gao diann nai y moisture from evaporating and crusting.

12. Use when the pastry cream has cooled to room temperature, or store in the fridge. When you take it out of the fridge again, the gao dian nai you will be jelly-like.

Fridge removal

Looks like jelly

13. Press down with a spatula a few times, then beat vigorously with a whisk until smooth before using.

Scraper mixing

Whisking with a whisk

14. It also maintains a very three-dimensional pattern when used to frame flowers.

  • FAQs

1. Lumps of pastry cream
R. a. Flour not sifted b. Heating too hot or not mixing well enough
A. 1. Sift the flour and add it. b. Heat the batter on low heat and stir constantly.

2. The batter does not regain its smoothness after chilling
R. a. Too little water content b. Too long heating time c. Improper storage d. Not enough stirring
A. a. Ensure the amount of milk added to the ingredients b. Reduce the heating time c. Seal the batter well with cling film and try to compress the air inside d. Beat well with a whisk.

  • Summary

Although the ingredients for pastry cream are very simple and the process is very quick, there are many details that need attention.
Sieving is essential to avoid a rough texture. It is also important to know how the starch changes in the three stages of the pan so that you can produce a smooth and creamy pastry cream.

This all-purpose sauce of the baking world will give the finishing touch to most desserts. If you’re looking for a sauce to go with your creations, think about pastry cream da, I’m sure it won’t disappoint.

Follow TIMEXING for ongoing professional baking and home storage tips.

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