Crème pâtissière


Crème pâtissière is the base for many desserts and other pastry-making creams. It is encased in choux pastry in chocolate éclairs, religieuses, Paris-Brest desserts and so on. It serves as the base for diplomat cream, frangipane, mousseline cream and more. Find out how to prepare basic pastry cream, frangipane and several variants. At the end of the article, you will find answers to your frequently asked questions about crème pâtissière.

Plain or chocolate crème pâtissière

Basic crème pâtissière is very easy to make. Try this quick recipe, which you can also use to prepare the more complex recipes presented below.

Plain crème pâtissière ingredients

To make a plain crème pâtissière, you will need:

  • 1l whole UHT milk
  • 180g egg yolks
  • 150g sugar
  • 91g cornstarch

You can also replace the cornstarch with all-purpose flour in your crème pâtissière.

You can use a little butter to cover the surface of your crème pâtissière to prevent it from drying out.

Preparing your crème pâtissière

You will need to mix three of the ingredients and add the boiling milk before cooking. As you can see, it’s not complicated! However, we recommend cooling the mixture quickly to make sure your crème pâtissière works well.

To do this, put a container in the freezer beforehand, then pour your hot crème pâtissière into it.

  1. Heat the milk in a saucepan to bring it to a boil.
  2. At the same time, blanch the egg yolks away from the heat.
  3. Add the sugar and whisk it in vigorously.
  4. Stir in the cornstarch and mix until smooth.
  5. Take it off the heat and gradually pour half the boiling milk into the egg, sugar and starch mixture.
  6. Stir so that the other ingredients warm a little.
  7. Gradually stir in the remaining milk.
  8. Heat your crème pâtissière until it boils, stirring all the while.
  9. Boil for at least 2 minutes.
  10. Remove the pan from the heat and pour your crème pâtissière into a cold container.
  11. If necessary, cover the cream’s surface with a thin layer of melted clarified butter.
  12. Cover your container with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator.

Adaptations for a chocolate crème pâtissière

crème pâtissière chocolat

To make a chocolate pastry cream, simply prepare a basic crème pâtissière using just 70g of cornstarch and adding 300g of blond-colored Dulcey or Opalys white chocolate, or Jivara or Caraïbe milk chocolate.

You can, of course, use other couverture chocolates, but you will have to adjust the amounts of sugar and chocolate you use to get a good result.

You will need to incorporate your chocolate into the mixture in step 10 of the recipe above, after removing the pan from the heat but before you let it cool.

Vanilla crème pâtissière recipe

Vanilla crème pâtissière requires a few extra ingredients and steps, but it’s as simple to prepare as a basic pastry cream.

Vanilla crème pâtissière ingredients

You might think it’s enough to add vanilla to a basic crème pâtissière, but it’s not! For this variant, you will need:

  • 1l UHT whole milk
  • 200g UHT cream (35% fat)
  • Vanilla bean
  • 200g egg yolks
  • 150g sugar
  • 90g cornstarch
  • 200g European dry butter (84% fat)

Frequently asked questions about crème pâtissière

crème pâtissière nature

If you still have a few questions about crème pâtissière, we will try to answer them below.

What’s the difference between crème anglaise and crème pâtissière?

Crème anglaise has a similar composition to crème pâtissière, but doesn’t contain cornstarch or flour. It’s therefore more liquid and less thick.

It’s possible to turn a crème anglaise into a crème pâtissière. To do this:

  1. Dilute some cornstach in a small amount of warm water.
  2. Warm your crème anglaise.
  3. Add the cornstarch and mix well.

The result will not be quite the same as a classic crème pâtissière, but it will be very similar.

Can I make my crème pâtissière a day in advance?

Preparing your crème pâtissière the day before is no problem, as long as you keep it at 35/40°F (2/4°C). You can store it for two days to use in your preparations.

How do you know if your crème pâtissière is ready?

The only sign is consistency: You know that your crème pâtissière is cooked when it comes away easily from the bottom of the pan. If it doesn’t, let it cook a little longer and its consistency will change as the liquid evaporates.

Why does crème pâtissière have to cool down quickly?

In pastry-making, all egg-based creams must be handled and stored carefully to stop microbes developing. This is why crème pâtissière has to cool down quickly. Remember to cover it with plastic wrap before placing it in the refrigerator.

How do I thicken a crème pâtissière?

If your crème pâtissière isn’t thick enough, the best solution is to let it cook for longer. Cornstarch should only be added when the crème pâtissière is boiling, while flour is not recommended at all.

How do I dilute a crème pâtissière?

To dilute your crème pâtissière, you can pour boiling milk into it and mix it well. This is an effective, low-risk solution.

How do I rescue a lumpy crème pâtissière?

If you’re wondering how to remove lumps from a crème pâtissière, it’s very easy. First, you can try to whisk it vigorously. If there really are a lot of lumps, you can blend it.

To stop lumps forming, be sure to mix the solid ingredients thoroughly at the start and add the boiling milk in two stages, whisking all the while.