A thick and creamy Italian pastry cream that is perfect for pastries and desserts. This Italian version of creme patissiere has a delicate lemon and vanilla flavour and can be adapted to make other flavours such as chocolate or coffee.
2tablespoonunsalted butter(optional but recommended)
Place 1 ¾ cups of milk, vanilla bean, and strip of lemon rind in a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until the milk just before simmering point. Don't boil. Stir in the sugar until dissolved and set aside.
In a bowl whisk egg yolks, flour, cornflour/cornstarch and salt until smooth. Whisk in the remaining ¼ cup of milk.
Remove lemon rind and vanilla bean from the milk.
Slowly pour the hot milk onto the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
Strain the mixture back to the saucepan and place over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture comes to the boil and thickens. Simmer for 1 minute to cook the flour.
If adding unsalted butter, whisk into hot pastry cream until melted and mixed through.
Pour the pastry cream into a heatproof bowl pressing plastic wrap directly onto the surface to stop a skin forming.
Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.
Before using, stir until smooth.
While I love this vanilla, lemony flavour there are many ways to vary this recipe. Omit the lemon rind and add any of the following.
infuse milk with a cinnamon stick
¼ cup dark chocolate chips to the hot milk and increase the sugar to ⅔ cup
to the hot milk add 1 tablespoon espresso powder
1 teaspoon almond extract
at the end of cooking stir in 1 tablespoon of liqueur of choice
½ cup whipped cream folded into cold pastry cream
For a thicker pastry cream
For a thicker pastry cream, just increase the flour and cornflour/cornstarch by a teaspoon of each.
For extra creaminess
Adding butter at the end provides extra creaminess. I recommend this but it's not essential.