If you enjoy making desserts at home, this is something you should know how to do – especially if you like impressing people. That includes yourself.
The uses are so numerous, it’s one of the first recipes you learn in a professional baking class. From the filling for cakes, fruit tarts or even as the second layer sandwiched between a nice pastry shell and whatever fruit grabs yer fancy on top. To really look like a pro, jazz up cupcakes by hollowing out a small ‘cone’ shape, add some pastry cream, top with the cut out cone & dust with icing sugar.
For the most effortless dessert for a dinner party, serve it simply and elegantly in some pretty glass goblets. Add a nice biscotti on the side. Perhaps a decadent piece of rich, dark chocolate. Simple is usually best~
Using a vanilla bean or vanilla bean taste will give you best flavour, and those gorgeous vanilla specks throughout. If you don’t have either, use vanilla extract – but make sure it’s the real thing~
Vanilla Bean tip: even if looks dry, there’s still some goodness inside. Heat it with the milk, then cut it open and scrape out the seeds.
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
1 cup 2% milk
½ vanilla bean, cut open, seeds scraped out (or 1 tsp vanilla bean paste)
3 large egg yolks
3 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
Heat the milk with the scraped seeds form the vanilla bean (or use vanilla bean paste) to just below a simmer. If using extract, add with the butter at the end.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch. Ready a bowl with the butter, placing a strainer on top of it.
Gradually whisk the hot milk into egg mixture and then return it all to the pot. Whisk this constantly (switching to a spatula now and again, to get into the corners) over medium heat until thickened and glossy, about 2 minutes. Test by dipping a spoon and then tracing your finger along the back; if a line forms, it is ready. Pour this immediately through the strainer, whisking it through if needed, and stir in the butter.
Place a piece of plastic wrap directly over the surface of the custard, cool to room temperature and then chill completely until ready to use. The pastry cream will keep up to 4 days refrigerated.