Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera in Italian) is a thick EGG / VANILLA custard, and is a basic component used in many Italian pastries and cakes. Pastry Cream is a filler for morning “cornetti or brioche”, those croissants Italians love to have together with their cappuccino for a light breakfast. It goes into layer cakes like the “Zuppa Inglese” or covers our Zabaione Tart. Pastry Cream also fills “pastarelle,” small pastries that we enjoy as an after lunch dessert on Sunday, and many more. It’s very rich, has a wonderful texture, and can be even served with cookies as a dessert on its own.
Pastry Cream is very simple to make, though it needs to be stirred slowly but constantly when it is on the stove to avoid curdles.
Transfer the custard to a bowl to cool or it will continue cooking in the hot pot. Refrigerate Pastry Cream if you don’t use it within a few hours. Pastry Cream will form a thicker patina on the surface while cooling down. To prevent this, press a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface of the custard.
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup (100 gr) sugar
4 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 cups (500cc) milk
1 slice of lemon rind
Place egg yolks in a bowl. Add sugar.
Whisk vigorously to combine.
Sift in the flour a little at the time to avoid lumps. Whisk thoroughly until fully combined before adding more. Combine vanilla.
Put the milk in a saucepan on medium heat. Add the slice of lemon rind. When the milk comes to a boil, remove the rind. Stir slowly and steadily the milk into the egg mix.
Transfer to a saucepan on medium-low heat. Bring slowly to a boil stirring constantly in the same direction. Do not over-boil, but keep on the stove until the cream starts thickening.
Remove from the stove and let cream cool at room temperature. Stir occasionally, to avoid the formation on the surface of a thicker patina.