Pastry Cream Secret Recipe

A rich, smooth, and velvety pastry cream perfect for filling tarts, cakes, and pastries. This recipe reveals the secrets to creating the perfect consistency and flavor every time.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Heat the Milk:
  • In a medium saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until it starts to simmer. If using a vanilla bean, split it lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and add both the seeds and the pod to the milk. Remove from heat and let it infuse for about 10 minutes. If using vanilla extract, add it later with the butter.
  1. Mix the Egg Yolks and Sugar:
  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and granulated sugar until the mixture becomes pale and thick.
  1. Add the Cornstarch:
  • Sift the cornstarch into the egg yolk mixture and whisk until smooth and fully incorporated.
  1. Temper the Egg Mixture:
  • Slowly pour a small amount of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to temper the eggs. Gradually add the rest of the milk, continuing to whisk to prevent curdling.
  1. Cook the Mixture:
  • Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil. Once it starts boiling, cook for an additional 1-2 minutes to ensure the cornstarch is fully cooked out and the pastry cream is thick and smooth.
  1. Strain and Cool:
  • Remove the saucepan from the heat. If you used a vanilla bean, remove the pod. Add the unsalted butter and vanilla extract (if using) and stir until the butter is completely melted and incorporated. Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl to remove any lumps and achieve a smooth texture.
  1. Chill:
  • Cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap, pressing it directly onto the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Allow it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until well chilled.


  • For extra flavor, you can infuse the milk with other ingredients such as coffee beans, citrus zest, or cinnamon sticks.
  • Make sure to whisk constantly while cooking the mixture to prevent lumps and ensure a smooth texture.
  • Pastry cream can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Whisk it briefly before using to restore its smoothness.

Enjoy your delicious, homemade pastry cream in your favorite desserts!

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