Pastry Cream Recipe

Pastry Cream Custard

Vanilla Pastry Cream

Vanilla Custard is just another name for Pastry Cream.

Although Vanilla Custard seems to be the more common name, I will often refer to it as such.

This is actually the same pastry cream recipe I learned how to make way back when I was a young person at the Culinary Institute of America!

Very easy to make, but you must adhere to the strict guidelines for handling this very delicate dessert.

I don’t often say you “must” use a certain ingredient, but I highly recommend using the vanilla bean here!

Of course it won’t be the end of the world if you don’t and you can of course use vanilla paste or even extract;

but this is one of the few recipes where I think the bean just shines through and displays all of it’s amazing glory!

4.8 from 4 reviews
Pastry Cream
VARIATIONS: For Chocolate Custard you will add 4 ounces (115g) Semi Sweet Baking Chocolate to the hot custard with the butter just before straining.
For Mocha Custard you will prepare the chocolate custard and then add 3 teaspoons of instant coffee granules dissolved in 2 teaspoons of hot water.
Serves: 6 Cups
  • Whole Milk 4 cups (948ml)
  • Fresh Large Eggs 2 (100g)
  • Fresh Large Yolks 4 (72g)
  • Granulated Sugar 1 cup (200g)
  • Cornstarch ½ cup (65g)
  • Vanilla Bean 1 Or Vanilla Extract 1 Tablespoon
  • Unsalted Butter 6 Tablespoons (85g)
  1. In a medium bowl place the whole eggs, egg yolks and cornstarch with 2 Tablespoons of the sugar and whisk vigorously to smooth out any lumps.
  2. In a large sauce pot combine the milk and remaining sugar with the vanilla bean split and scraped of all it's seeds and bring to a boil.
  3. Once the milk comes to a boil you will remove from the heat and slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the eggs/cornstarch mixture while constantly whisking with your free hand. This is called "tempering the eggs"
  4. Once you have poured about half of the milk into the eggs, pour the entire egg mixture back into the pot with the rest of the milk.
  5. Place back on the stove over high heat and while constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, you will cook until the entire mixture is bubbling again.
  6. Once it has bubbled like I show in the video, remove from heat, discard the vanilla bean and add the butter. If you are using vanilla extract, you will add it now.
  7. Pour custard through a fine mesh strainer and directly into your storage vessel, preferably a shallow casserole dish for faster cooling.
  8. Plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard with prevent a "skin" from forming over your custard as it cools.
  9. Be sure to Cool custard FAST over an ice bath to avoid the Danger Zone. The way to do this, is by pouring the hot custard into a shallow dish (like a 9X13" casserole dish is perfect) and getting it straight into the refrigerator. An added precaution is to set that dish over another dish filled with ice water.This will speed the cooling process and ensure you are safe from any danger that can be caused from this type of egg rich and dairy custard not being handled properly.
Store this fresh custard tightly wrapped at all times, for up to 6 days in the refrigerator. This custard can be used in many different pastry applications however you must be sure to keep your finished product under refrigeration at all times.
With the maximum room temperature exposure being 2 hours

To use custard you may have to whisk it smooth to break up the starches.

*You may find that your custard seeps moisture after a day or so, this is normal as the starches will tend to break down. Another reason why it is good to make and use your custard right away rather than prepare too many days in advance. So although this recipe WILL be fine for up to a week, fresh is always best. You can simply spoon off the excess water that may pool at the bottom of your storage container.

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  1. Hi Gretchen. Thank you so much for your very helpful videos. You’re an excellent teacher. I had never baked a cake in my life before I watched one of your instructional videos. I’ve been baking since. I appreciate all your detailed explanation and tidbits. My cake turned out fantastic.

    I have a question regarding the vanilla custard. Can I use this recipe to make crème brulée?


    1. Awesome! Unfortunately Creme Brulee is a completely different recipe (I have to refilm and share that one, but in the meantime if you go to my Gretchens Bakery facebook page there are so many people who have saved the recipes and can share with you right away! Just ask on the main page! Thanks!

  2. hi there,

    Love loved this recipe, what happens if you don’t add the butter will it still be the same, and why use butter most recipes for pastry custard don’t require butter just wanted to know why the extra calories in this recipe

      1. Well, I discovered you can leave out a cup of milk too because when I finished my pastry, I had one cup still on the cabinet!!!@!

        I have made this pastry cream a number of times for fillings, but it seems too thin for a pie., even though the spoon was nappy and I cooked it to 171 degrees F.
        Gretchen, what temperature do you suggest?

        I’m not so concerned about this one I just made (missing one cup of milk), but for future use. I’ll use this one for banana pudding.

        Man, I get soooooo annoyed when people blast you for all the hard work you have done and are doing. I want to say, “Git A Grip!!!” So, just keep your happy disposition and continue to remember the hundreds who are extremely grateful for all your efforts.

          1. What temperature do you allow your custard to reach to be assured it will set up for slicing a pie?

          2. Hi Gretchen – I was just reading thru your info on ingredients/substitutes, particularly arrowroot and cornstarch. Your note says arrowroot and dairy can turn slimy. Do you think that would be a problem in pastry cream recipes and some cooked flour frosting, e.g., ermine.? thanks as always!

          3. Gretchen – I’m in awe at how you keep up with all of us as you continue teaching us more. I think it’s really great that you respond to so many questions. I wasn’t really clear with mine. So I’m taking another crack at it.

            I’m in a place right now where I can’t use corn products so am looking for substitutes. I have in the past used cornstarch and wheat flour in making roux, so am familiar with the textural difference. Cornstarch is definitely much smoother. I found some substitute conversion charts for using arrowroot or tapioca. I am hoping you might comment about which you think might work best if I’m going experiment

          4. hi sure thing! I love to help where I can! As for arrowroot in pastry cream (again I have not subbed it into many recipes) but what I know about it, is you dont want to really cook it for any length of time and I have been told it can get “weird” with milk products? With pastry cream being all milk, and a lengthy cooking process, I wonder how ti will react.
            it is worth a try, but do a small test batch to see. Let me know your findings! thanks!

            That being said, many people have used pastry cream recipes with flour (as you mentioned you have tried) and I agree to the cornstarch being smoother.

  3. Hello Gretchen, can I ask you to make honey layer cake? I’m in love with it and just made one with your pastry cream and waiting to try it. But it looks awesome already!)) I love backing and every time looking for your recepies because they work the best!!! Love you and waiting for new recepies!
    P.S. Sorry if I have mistakes, English isn’t my native language☺

    1. Hey! thanks!
      Sounds amazing!! Right now I just got moved to Florida, and I have to get settled and set up to start filming again, I have a mountain of work ahead of me! gaaaaah!
      I plan to rebuild the blog with the most popular and most requested vids/recipes first, and then I can start to make exclusive content from requests! I am so thrilled to have so much support so thankyou so much!

  4. Hi,
    Made dis today n it is very tasty compared to vanilla custard which I use to make from ready made packets for my fruit salad.I made Boston cream pie with the yellow butter cake as base n dis pastry cream.delicious. Two questions: can I leave out d butter if it’s not mandatory. And d second one is do u ship only tools? I need clear vanilla extract.dun get it in my country.n dat extract would really make a difference in many of d recipes.

  5. Hi,
    Got d answer abt butter in a reply to somebody’s qt… Dat I can leave it out..but if poss lemme abt vanilla extract ..If I dun get it allllll.. N if u ship dat too den it would b great..

    1. What language is this?? Gretchen you are a better person than me, I won’t even comment on posts where people are too lazy to even use spell check. Thanks for the hard work to refilm the videos. Don’t worry, our lady Karma will get those who caused you all those “legal” troubles.

  6. Hey Gretchen! I’ve been contemplating wether I should ask you these questions or not… But I’ll just ask it (or I’ll forever hold my peace)… Btw, I apologize in advance if this may offend you. So I have been visiting your blog for a long time now… To be honest, I like the old one better… This blog isn’t really organized and there’s so much more “complications” in it… Plus I was suddenly really shocked when I discovered one day when I searched ‘’ it directed me to ‘’… I just really want to ask…. Why did you have to delete the old blog? I get that you had to change the name… But at least you could have kept the old recipes online… :((( I also want to ask, when will you post ALL the old recipes? I’m really a big fan! I appreciate all the hard work… But could you a least post all your old recipes?

    1. HI Nicole, due to some major business issues since last February, I have been forced to shut down the blog. So, I’m very sorry you don’t like my current blog here at and find there are “complications”?
      Hmm..I’d like to know more about these “complications” since I am working very hard to make everyone’s visiting experience really stress free and enjoyable here.
      But- without going into all the gory details as to “WHY” I had to do this (since legally I cannot tell the details anyway) I would only hope that folks would be happy that I came back at all to share my recipes and passions, since after this horrific mess for the last 6 months many people would have packed it up and called it a day for good.
      As for your “shock” that the old WBB site was redirecting here to gretchensbakery? Again I apologize for upsetting you, however many many many people are so very grateful that they were at the very least even able to find me in the swirling world wide web once the old site was taken down.
      As for your last plea that I should have “at least kept the old recipes online” well my dear, No I could not have done that, as much as I would have liked to. Do you honestly think I wanted to create a mountain of work for myself AGAIN? No- I did not. But because I chose to come back to the web and share my little bit of knowledge I have gained over the years with my great recipes, I sadly DO have to start over.
      Please know that I am working as hard as possible to “at least post all my old recipes” while adding in some new things to mix at the same time. It is no small task to develop, prepare, execute, film, produce, edit and manage all of this stuff in a days work…but I DO LOVE IT and it is why I decided to continue. For those who appreciate my hard work (as you say you do and thank you so much) I am trying my best to get it all back to where it once was- only this time my hope is to make it better than ever. We shall see if I can actually pull that off, won’t we?
      Thanks for the support thus far.

      1. Hey Gretchen–I absolutely love your new blog and don’t feel any confusion or “complications”. Your recipes are my “go to’s”. I’ve learned so much about baking even after 40 years of doing it on my own. Thank you for sharing all of your knowledge and thank you for your generosity. Most accomplished bakers would never share their recipes. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’. It’s fantastic!!!!

      2. Hi just wanted to let you know I think your the greatest . I appreciate your hard work and it shows. Keep going and showing recipes and I wish you the very best . I love every Re ipe iv seen on your site. God bless you for your special talent that you spread.

  7. Hi, if i want to put this pastry in a vanilla sponge cake, will my cake dry as this has to be fridged? How in advance should i take out the cake of the fridge before serving? I am afraid it wont be enough time for the cake to get moist again. Thanks

    1. The cake will not go “dry” from putting it in the refrigerator. It will get cold though sure and like any cake made with butter, will get slightly “hard” but not dry.
      The time to leave it out depends on the icing more than the filling, so as long as you are using buttercream or ganache, you can take it out about an hour or even 2 before you serve it.
      Whipped cream cannot be out of the refrigerator for very long, so…..
      If you want to try the yellow cake recipe it is really great, made with oil so no cold=hardness occurs in the fridge

  8. I love this Pastry Cream recipe. I used it as a base for a Coconut Cream Pie. It makes two, 9-inch pies, actually. I added 1 and 1/2 cups of coconut, and I toasted some coconut to sprinkle on top of the whipped cream topping on my pies. They were delicious.
    This is the best recipe I have found, especially if you want to make two cream pies or a cream pie and a Boston Cream or Cream Puffs, etc.
    The next time, I will divide the Pastry Cream in half: add chocolate to one half and coconut to the other half for a chocolate cream and a coconut cream. Or maybe a banana cream.
    What I liked: more “delicioso” than my usual recipe AND quicker and easier to prepare! It’s a no-fail recipe, and the method is great. I highly recommend this Pastry Cream recipe. Thanks!

  9. Hi, love your videos and your recipes. Every time I need one, you are the first person I check.

    I have to make birthday cake, and my filling was going to be custard mixed with whipped cream. My question is do I use stabilized or regular as it will be made the night before. And what ration of custard to cream do I use? thank you.

      1. Thank you, how much whipped cream do I put in my custard? 1/2 and 1/2?
        And also, the cake will be covered in fondant and made Friday for a party on Saturday. the cake will be consumed at night. So, is it better to use stabilized? sorry for the repetitive question, just want to make sure.

  10. I have to admit that I have always been a little intimidated about tackling pastry cream but this recipe was easy and tastes SO good. (Even with vanilla extract instead of the bean). Tomorrow I am putting together your strawberries and cream cake. That is, if the pastry cream lasts that long 😉

  11. I see that someone asked if you could freeze the extra pastry cream but for how long is it acceptable and what is the best way to store it? Thank You! Cynthia

    1. Not greta to freeze custard since it will weep and be very loose upon thawing, if you do it, it will freeze for up to 2 months in am airtight container, try to choose one that does not have alot of airspce in it- to avoid crystalization

  12. Hi gretchen….im a big fan of ur smile,ur cheerful face and ur recepies are always awesome…thanx for sharing ur wonderful recepies with us…i had one question. Can i use vanilla custard powder in this recepie? Nd if yes dan in what quantity? Plz do reply

      1. We get custard powder of many flavours here in india nd in dat list der is a flavour called vanilla custard dat gives exactly vanilla flavour,we just hav to mix d powder in milk nd pour d mixture in boiling milk nd custard gets ready. Im talking abt dat

          1. Ya actually its d real stuff…i nvr did this coz always had a readymade powder on my kitchen counter bt now im going to make custard this way as u did…i really feel this recepie is worth trying

  13. Hi Gretchen!
    Is there a substitute for the eggs in the recipe? My mom loves custard but she’s been using the instant pudding thingy Yasmeen talked about.
    But all of a sudden she has turned into a vegetarian (dairy products are okay ; she hates eggs and meat now)! So i need a substitute for the eggs in the recipe to make this awesome custard
    Please help!

    1. Yay Mom! Thats awesome! I have not tested a custard recipe with out eggs though- I know you can, I just havent tried it! (search around the net- there are so many great vegan blogs now!)

  14. Hi Gretchen, thank you so much for sharing your recipes with us all. I made your lemon squares last week for the teacher’s and they were a hit. I’m thrilled to have found you and love how you teach. I think I found you just before you moved and then you were gone…….then you were back! Yeah, what a God send even at my age. I love to cook and bake. May God continually bless you. Can’t wait to see all the recipes I’ve missed. Ciao Rosz

  15. HI Gretchen

    i just made this pastry cream and i had a bit of trouble with it. My custard became very thick and rubbery as soon as i poured my egg sugar mixture into the pot. I did tamper the eggs like you showed in the video. i also used a scale to weigh my ingredients so i didnt use too much corn starch.

    it was actually difficult to pass it through the sieve because the custard was so thick. Any idea where i messed up? im making the boston cream cake and the cake and ganache are ready waiting for the pastry cream.


    1. the only thing that would cause that is too much cornstarch, however cornstarch only activates once it has boiled, so if you sya it got thick and rubbery as soon as you poured in the eggs?
      Was the mixture rapidly boiling when you poured in the eggs to cause that instant thickening? AS you saw, in my video it took a few seconds to get the temperature back up to boiling once I poured in those eggs.
      But at any rate- I would suspect the cornstarch

  16. Hi Gretchen Im planning to bake a cake to a Jewish family who don’t eat cake with dairy if they will eat meat. is it ok to use soy milk in place of whole milk.Thanks a lot for sharing all your knowledge in baking and i’m a big fan of yours. Maria of Toronto

    1. Yes I have used soy milk here, you have to use the carton soy milk though, not the stuff that has to stay refrigerated (if you know what I mean?) the gums and stabilizers in the refridge stuff will curdle if you boil it
      I found that the color was a bit grayish too, so you may add a drop of yellow food color to get it to look a bit more appetizing! LOL

  17. Gretchen, I just made a banana pudding with the pastry cream & it is out of this world even while its still warm! I love all your recipes and you make them all so easy to understand! Thank you for all your hard work!

  18. Gretchen, I can’t tell you how much I love your recipes and videos! You have re inspired my love for baking with your passion. Thank you for sharing your gift! And don’t be discouraged by the critics – it’s always so easy to judge when you don’t have all the facts.

    1. That’s a different recipe called Sauce Anglaise. (Also known as vanilla sauce- also known as vanilla ice cream base -the liquid before we churn it into ice cream))
      I have a Basil Ice cream Recipe that you can use just leave out the basil- all the other steps are the same

  19. Hi Gretchen!

    I noticed you had used this pastry cream along with butter for the Boston cream pie cake. I believe this icing is known as German buttercream right? I didn’t see a recipe for German buttercream on your website..I had tried making another recipe and it tastes great but It doesn’t pipe well for cupcakes as it melts easily…can you pleeeease teach us your version of German buttercream using this pastry cream base, to pipe cupcakes that holds well??..thanks a lot! cheers!

    1. Hi again Gretchen…I came across your Swiss Meringue recipe. User friendly wise which among Swiss and German buttercream would be ideal for piping cupcakes and also for cake fillings? I’m so curious to know if Swiss buttercream also easily melts like German buttercream..thanks!

  20. Hi,
    Thank you soooooo much for giving us your videos and recipes, they are all wonderful. I have had nothing but success and compliments since I have been “playing” with your recipes. I do have a ? for you, though…I want to make a coconut custard pie using coconut milk and oil. Would I be able to substitute the regular milk and the butter for my intended ingredients ( I.e. coconut milk and oil) and still get the same custard consistency? And I’m going to add toasted shredded coconut too! Does that sound like a successful plan! TY.

    1. HI Thanks! and you are welcome too! Coconut custard for pies is different – this is a cooked custard whereas coconut custard for pies is a baked custard (I know it’s all semantics- but not really they are different)
      I have never heard of an oil pie before though, so perhaps we are talking about 2 different things?
      You can however use this recipe add the coconut milk and toasted coconut and extract and then pour into a pie shell sure.

  21. Gretchen ~ I can’t wait to make this pastry cream since the comments here are sooooooo positive and I’ve not tried a single one of your recipes yet and not loved it!! One question though. You say the vanilla bean is important to this recipe and I understand why however; it says the bean should be scraped of the seeds. Is there a way to store those seeds so they could be used for another recipe in the future? I thought of wrapping them in saran wrap, but not sure. Plus, how long is the vanilla bean you typically use here? Thank you!!

    I wish you the happiest of Thanksgiving holidays you’ve ever had!!

    1. **gasp** you haven’t tried a recipe yet!? LOL Well, the pastry cream will be a great one to start with!
      Sorry for the confusion with the way I wrote that part about the vanilla bean, you want to scrape the bean and use the seeds (you will see more clearly with the video tutorial attached here)
      (I use a bean that is about 4-5″ long)

      Thankyou for the wishes and the same for you!

      1. What I meant was that ANY of the recipes I’ve tried from you have been WONDERFUL and have become my ‘go-to’ favorites!! So, yes, I’ve tried some ~ not nearly enough ~ I teach ‘cake’ and with doing so, I don’t get much time for my own creations unless it’s an Icings Smiles cake where I can stretch my knowledge and build on what I know.

        Love your site (hate what has happened on the You Tube recipe robbing thing) and have bought an e-book or two already!! I recommend your site and your ebooks to all my students!!

  22. Hi Gretchen,
    I am doing a pastry tray and would like to include mini tarts with almond pastry cream. How would I alter your recipe for the best almond flavor?

  23. You are the only site I go to for my baking recipes and I always share you on facebook and pinterest.
    While doing some research on pricing I came across option for French cream filling. wondering what the difference is from pastry cream filling and if you have a recipe for it?
    Thank you for sharing all your wonderful recipes and tips !!

  24. Gretchen, Thanks so much for all your wonderful recipes and tips!!! I’m planning to make your strawberry chiffon cake covered in fondant for a birthday party. I’m not sure how to tackle the refrigeration problem. Fondant chilled in the fridge = hard fondant and yet, the pastry cream requires refrigeration.

    Please advise what other filling could i use that would go well with that recipe.


  25. Hi Gretchen,
    I love this recipe! Last time I made your eclair recipe, this pastry cream came out to be a little thicker than yours. This was not a problem, but I found that I could not run it through a sift. I want to make the eclairs again for a house party, so I would like to make sure there are not vanilla beans or bits of scrambled eggs in there. Could you please tell me how I could make the consistency of this custard a little thinner? Could it be because I used tapioca instead of cornstarch? Did I overcook it? Thank you so much Gretchen! I would really appreciate your feedback. Also, I read what you wrote at the end of the recipe. Would it be okay if I made the custard the night before filling the eclairs?

    1. Yes sounds like the tapioca is making it much thicker, always use exactly what I am using here in the video to get the best results.
      yes to making the custard ahead of time

    2. Hello, You can also purchase vanilla bean paste from someplace like Olive Nation, online. It is really wonderful to work with. Hope that is helpful.

  26. Is it better to use corn syrup or flour in the receipe. (I see some recipes call for flour) I made your receipe for a coconut cream pie with the cornstarch but it turned out too runny. I do live in Colorado, so I don’t know if I need to make adjustments to the recipe for my 5280 elevation in Colorado. Do I need to use need to use a thermometer to better gauge the boiling of milk? Please help me because I am going to try making it again on Friday 2/5/16

    1. HI Shirley, yes some do use flour, I do not prefer the flour custards.
      Cornstarch must boil for it to work, so just be sure you get the entire mixture back to a rolling boil after the tempering of the eggs.
      Boiling is a visual so you shouldn’t need a thermometer .
      I do have some helpful tips here for High Altitude baking
      But as far as boiling temperatures interestingly water boils at a LOWER temperature in high altitudes CLICK HERE FOR MORE
      But again- you will actually see it bubbling away

      Another tip for making pies with this recipe is to pour the hot custard directly into the pie shell and let it cool (in the fridge of course) IN THE SHELL rather than in a bowl and then transferring it to the pie shell. This will help you to have a super strong custard that will cut and stay firm like a dream

    2. Hi Gretchen,

      Thank you so much for helping me with my elevation experience. I loved the cream, so delicious. I’m going to try again with pouring it directly into the pie shell as you recommended. I’m also trying the Key Lime Pie, it looks so delicious as all your recipes are so yummy. I love following you & gaining new ideas. My dream one day is to have a little bakery somewhere in Denver.

      YOU ARE THE BEST!!!!

      Thank You so very much!!

  27. You used to have mille fuille ( napoleon cake made with puff pastry)recipe but cannot find it. I thinks it was made with this pastry cream and whipped cream.
    how can I find this recipe please?

    1. HI Kamila I have had to start over from zero here at Gretchen’s Bakery so the recipes / videos from my old business are no longer available. I am working as hard as possible to get everything replaced, and you are in luck- Napoleons will be this Sunday!

    1. Hmm, well sure you can add champagne but not too much without watering it down, and the trouble with adding a little is there wont be enough champagne flavor to come through

  28. Hi again Gretchen,

    If I make half of this recipe and would add a bit of Nutella,how much do you think it could take?
    I would like to try it since I love both of them!
    thank you so much for existing!

  29. Hi Gretchen,
    First off I’m such a fan, I’ve followed you since the bakery, my question is can i use half 2% milk with half heavy cream? I wanted to make the custard tonight since i had some extra yolks but i don’t have whole milk, or should i wait till i get whole milk?

  30. Hi Gretchen. I am doing a wedding cake. 4. Tiers on March 5. Dilemma. Groom and bride want rum cream patisserie and rasberry between layers. I will be delivering at 4 which I am sure the cake will sit for at least four hours. Can I put gelatin in the cream to help stabilize it

  31. I love your recipes. However my question is about freezing….can I freeze cream puffs or Boston Cream Pie after filling them without ruining them?

  32. Gretchen, I just want you to know we love you, and love all that you do for all of us. I have been following you for almost two years now, I just keep on baking all these goodies and sharing you and your site with everyone I know that loves to cook and bake. Always excited over everything you do, and could watch your video’s all day and all night. Take care……………..

  33. Gretchen, Just made my first pastry cream! It’s chilling for tomorrow, “Eclair Day”. Your tutoring videos have given me confidence! Thank you for being such a blessing to me and many other non-professionals.

  34. Hi Gretchen

    Hope you are well,
    It’s a great turn and so beneficial for the change from where you first started,all your hard work and continuous effort is so great and most definitely paying off.

    A question regarding the pastry cream, if it wasn’t fridges and used as a filler for cream puffs/profiteroles could it be eaten with cake (as a cake and custard dessert)?

    Your advise would be much appreciated

    Many thanks


  35. Hi,
    I love your pastry cream. I make home made Connolly’s and cream with this. My questions is: Can you freeze any left over made cream to use in cream puffs etc. later?

  36. Hi Gretchen,

    I used this pastry cream for filling the cake and covered completely with ganache. Problem: it was beginning to slide.

    Would adding more cornstarch make the pastry cream more stable? Or maybe add gelatin? would that be a Bavarian cream?


    1. Hmm, did yo unotice when the pastry cream was set and cold it was really firm? If not, then I would say you didnt cook it enough (to rapid boil) in the first place, BUT if it was super firm, then maybe you mixed it up too much before filling your cake? Breaking the starch strands that wer keeping it firm in the first place. When I use pastry cream to fill cakes, I barely mix it, this way it stays firm inside the cake too

  37. Hello, I want to make eclairs for a fund raiser at a winery. I need to transport them for 30 minutes. Then it will be about 2-3 hours prior to serving. What is the best way to transport them?

    1. If you can get them in coolers that would be the best- or better yet bring the components separate (the pastry cream the shells, ganache etc) and fill them and finish there unless that is impossible? The thing is the pastry cream must stay COLD –

  38. Hey Gretchen is there away I could mix this with cream cheese for the filling for the blueberry tart. Thanks Dawn

  39. Crap! I forgot the butter! Lol! It still taste good. Letting it cool now. We’ll see if usable later….. crap, crap, crap!

    For some people you got to draw them a picture…oh wait you did & I still forgot something! Lol

    1. yes, just be careful what you get since some of them have stabilizers in them that when boiled will curdle (I din the boxed milks are the best for cooking)

  40. Hello,
    Firstly wanted to say I absolutely love your blog. Thank you for your wonderful recipes.
    Secondly, I cook totally by weight measures. It really is the best for accuracy.
    I live in Australia though, and our cup measures etc. are different to yours. Anyway just a query about the cornstarch weight….it seems a lot compared to my usual half-cup weight. So the weight of 80 grams is essential to the recipe? I know that too much or too small a weight impacts greatly. I want to do your recipe justice..and it to be a gorgeous custard.
    Looking forward to cooking more of your recipes.
    Regards from Australia,

    1. Hey there thanks for he message~ you know at the time I wrote out this recipe, I was following a weights guide for cornstarch being 10g per Tbs.
      I did not check that with my own Tbs, but did just now and got 8g. Hmmm.
      I have adjusted the recipe! thanks!

    1. It “can” but not great a idea, it can form crystalization which may promote “leakage” or seepage of moisture. So I try to only do it if there are leftovers, not as a plan from the start- if that makes sense

  41. Hi Gretchen,
    I made this tastes delicious but it was a little thick n it does’nt look as runny and shiny as you showed in the vid. What did I do wrong?

  42. Hi gretchen! Can i store my pastry cream in the freezer? If yes, how long is the shelf life in the freezer? Thanks! Btw your pastry cream recipe is for the win.

    1. Great thanks, not a great idea to freeze custard as it can get sort of “icy” for lack of a better word, and soggy on the thaw. I would only do it to avoid throwing it out (like in the case of having an excessive amount) but not to try to get ahead, fresh is always better

  43. hi Gretchen.can u please tell me if I can fill a cake with this as is.will it be too thick or I should light it up with some whipped cream?what else can I use to mix it with pastry cream for cake filling?also do you have a vanilla and chocolate mousse for filling and frosting?thank you

  44. Hi Gretchen..first I just want to say that I absolutely love u…u have been an amazing inspiration to me in starting my own baking business from home and I hope u get the chance to check out the work I’ve done so far ☺️
    My question to u is for your pastry cream recipe that makes 6 cups..can I cut this recipe in half? And also, if I don’t have the vanilla bean on hand, how much vanilla extract do I put in this recipe?
    Thank you.
    I’m following u on Instagram, on fb & subscribed to your YouTube channel.

    1. YAY! thankyou!! Im sorry if I didnt answer this question sooner? or someplace else? (I feel like I did though?) Im confused! LOL
      Yes to half and add vanilla extract last about 2 teaspoons is great

  45. Hi Gretchen,

    Firstly, I just wanna say that your swiss meringue buttercream is’s now my go to buttercream every single time..thank you. Now coming back to the pastry cream..I am not sure whether you’re familiar with “Durian”..the king of the fruit they call it…anyways, is it possible to add durian in this recipe? I am planning to make a durian coconut custard using this recipe..perhaps instead of using entirely whole milk maybe i could use half coconut cream (blended with durian) and half whole milk..and proceed with the rest of your steps, ..what do you think? Appreciate your feedback. Thanks a lot!

    1. Hi Thanks! I have not had Durian myself, but you can make a puree with it just as any other fruit, so yes to incorporate this into the custard. I am not sure how potent it is though, as far as flavor and how much you would need, but Id start with what you said and go from there

  46. Hey Gretchen!

    I would like to fill your yellow cake recipe with creme patisserie, flavoured with strawberry and then ice the cake with Italian meringue buttercream? Should I add more cornflour to accomodate for this change and when should I add the strawberry puree and how much should I add?

    Thanks, Joseph

    1. This pastry cream recipe is quite stiff already (you will find you have to re mix it after setting before filling your cake to break up those starches for a smooth custard)
      The best thing to add to this though would be a fruit compound, not really puree, however most home bakers cannot get this. So the puree will be OK Id use about 1 cup and you can actually replace some of the milk with the puree (it wont be a very pretty color though so you may want to add a drop of red color to brighten it)

      1. Thanks for the quick response. I ended up replacing some of the milk with puree and it worked brilliantly with a really nice strawberry flavour! I used some pink and red americolor gel paste food colouring to get a nice colour. Do you know what brands of fruit compounds there are?

  47. Hi Gretchen,

    I’ve made many pies using this recipe & the listed variations for chocolate and mocha and all have been huge hits! Thank you so much!

    Question: I am interested in doing a butterscotch variation, and I was wondering if you had any tips for doing so?


  48. Hi Gritchen,

    I just want to say that your recipes are amazing.
    Can I know how to turn this receipe into chocolate?

    1. thank you! Yes add 4-6ounces of chocolate to the hot pastry cream at the last stage (before or after straining not important)

  49. Hi Gretchen, If all my eggs are only yolks will this make a big difference in the pastry cream. Thank you for your help 🙂

    1. yes it will make it a bit tighter, but that’s not a terrible thing. You will have to paddle it out a little after it cools to cold, before using it to get it to a creamier consistency

  50. Hey Gretchen! This recipe is amazing! When you owned your bakery, what did you use the leftover egg whites for after making pastry cream? Was it just for swiss meringue buttercream? If so, what would be the safe temperature to kill off any bacteria in the egg whites? I now have a lot of egg whites to use up and i need something more practical than macarons lol. Thanks!

  51. Hi Gretchen… is there any way to turn this into an eggnog flavored pastry cream? I’ve searched the net for a few hours but I’m not too comfortable using the recipes I did come across. I’ve baked many of your recipes and I trust you. If there is a way can you please help me out? Thanks!!

    1. Hi Tammie, sure, the only thing that really makes egg nog – egg nog is the nutmeg addition to the custard. SO you can of course buy some Egg Nog and replace some (half or all) of the milk in the recipe with that, and add about ½ teaspoon more nutmeg

      1. Hi Gretchen. Sorry for the delayed Thanks. Still haven’t made it (Christmas this past year was a bust for my little family, thanks to the horrid flu) but I do plan on making it, actually both the vanilla and egg nog custards tomorrow. I’ll come back to let you know how they came out. Thanks again for the reply as well as for the explanation RE the egg nog. I hope you and yours had a great Holiday season. Wishing you and yours a safe/wonderful New Year ahead…

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