Crème Pâtisserie

Croquembouch Step Two

… now it’s time to fill those fabulous puffs of yours! (If you didn’t make them yet, click here for the Pâte à Choux recipe.)

This is the classic vanilla custard. Creamy and rich, it can be used to fill hundreds of different pastries. You’ll find it used as the base for classic fruit tarts, the filling for cakes (including Boston Cream Pie), and basic vanilla pudding. You can also use it as the base for banana, chocolate, and coconut cream pies.

The most difficult part of the recipe is the tempering, which if you have been here a while, is the same technique used when making Crème Anglaise (Vanilla Ice cream Custard). Here it is a little easier, as the danger of scrambled eggs is not as severe. But it still can happen, so be sure to mis en place.


1 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
4 egg yolks
4 cups milk
1 TB. vanilla extract
2 TB. butter


  1. In a small bowl whisk together sugar, cornstarch, and set aside. In another small bowl, whisk together the 4 yolks. Have ready a strainer set over a large bowl.
  2. In a large saucepan combine milk, vanilla, and bring to a boil over high heat. At the boil, add cornstarch and sugar mixture, and whisk. When it thickens ladle 1/2 cup of the hot mixture into the yolks, and whisk to combine. Pour the warmed yolks into saucepan and, over high heat, whisk immediately and vigorously until mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove from heat, add butter, and stir to combine. Pour immediately through the strainer into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressed directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate at least 1 hour before use.  It will stay nice for 24 hours refrigerated. I like to prepare it the day before I need to fill my puffs, so that it is completely cool and well thickened.


Chocolate Pastry Cream: Add 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate with the butter.

Coconut Pastry Cream: Reduce milk to 3 cups, and add 1 can of coconut milk.

Espresso Pastry Cream: Add 2 TB. espresso powder to the milk.

Next time, the grande finale … caramel glue and spun sugar!!

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