Monday, January 10, 2011

Pastry Cream

Pastry cream... you've seen and tasted it... that rich creamy custard like cream thats inside cream puffs and eclairs, spread thinly across the bottom of a tart shell with fruit layered atop it.  Yes... pastry cream... so deliciously sinful yet surprisingly easy to make.  You can even flavor the cream with 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate, or with toasted grated coconut, or even toasted pulverized nuts.  This is one of the recipes that we loved making back in my high school culinary class because it was simple and so versatile.

Pastry Cream

Ingredients:
1c whole milk
1/4 c sugar
1 Tbsp, 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 egg yolks
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla


Directions:
  1. Bring the milk to a simmer in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, stir together the sugar, cornstarch and salt. Gradually add the hot milk to the sugar mixture, whisking constantly.
  2. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stirring constantly, until the mixture boils and thickens slightly, 7-10 minutes.  
  3. Temper the egg yolks, whisking constantly.  To temper the egg yolks, add the very hot milk, a little at a time, to the egg yolks, to raise their temperature gradually. If it is added all at once it would cook the eggs and there would be chunks of cooked egg in the pastry cream. 
  4. Continue cooking the pastry cream, stirring until slightly thicker, about 2 minutes longer. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter.

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