Creme pat, Crème pâtissière, or Pastry cream is one of those things that once you master it, you’ll be everyone’s friend. However, to get it right takes a few attempts as there’s plenty to go wrong. That said, once you get it, it is hard not to make perfect creme pat every time.
In arriving at this recipe, I went through a few. There are several recipes out there, all different and all yield slightly different results. There are recipes that involve mixing all of the ingredients together and then heating for 20 minutes and it all comes together at the end when the mixture boils, there are others that involve the same steps, but in a different order. I’ve settled on the below recipe as it yields the most consistent results. Give it a go and let me know how it goes for you.
- 450ml whole milk
- 35g cornflour
- 200g caster sugar
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 large eggs
- 60g unsalted butter cut into cubes
- 2 teaspoons / 10ml vanilla essence
- Mix the cornflour with 125ml cup of milk and stir until all the cornflour is fully dissolved.
- Heat the remaining milk in a saucepan with the sugar, dissolving the sugar and bringing the milk to the boil. Remove from the heat as soon as the milk is boiling.
- Beat the whole eggs into the cornflour and milk mixture. Then beat in the egg yolks (if you have trouble separating eggs, I recently found a handy tool for sucking up the yolk, which you can pick up cheapily from most high street cookstores, or Amazon – picture in gallery below). For whisking, no food processor is required, the best results come from pure old elbow grease with a whisk. Once whisked, pour in ⅓ of the hot milk, stirring constantly to prevent the eggs from cooking!
- Now, bring the remaining milk back to the boil, and add the eggy mixture, whisking as your pour. Keep whisking all the time, as if you stop you run the risk of it all going wrong and solidifying into a sugary omelette. Keep on a medium heat until the mixture starts to thicken.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and thoroughly whisk the creme pat. At this stage the creme pat can look slightly lumpy, but a good whisking soon makes it smoother.
- Beat in the butter and vanilla until fully incorporated.
- For the best results and smoothest silky creme pat, pass the mixture through a sieve and into a glass or ceramic bowl. I was lucky enough recently to get a fancy chef’s sieve, which is great at creating really nice results (picture in gallery below);
- Place clingfilm over the surface of the creme pat to stop a skin forming. Refrigerate overnight to give the pastry cream time to further thicken.
- When you’re ready to use, I always tend to pop into a piping bag. It makes filling things like donuts and choux buns easy and anything where you need exacting detail and a clean finish, like mille feuilles effortless.