Pastry cream is a traditional Italian dessert with a slightly old-fashioned flavor.
It is often used as a filling or as a base to be added to other preparations, but it is worth remembering that it is also an excellent dessert, to be served in small individual cups, with no need to add anything other than a decoration to make the presentation more attractive (fresh fruit, chopped biscuits, chocolate chips or hazelnuts, whipped cream or a sauce).
Pots, pastry cream and cooking memories
When I was a little child I played in a corner of the kitchen.
I thought I was a public office employee. Even though I was 4 years old and had never been in a public office. I drew, simulated writing, talked to imaginary people who came into my office and, of course, talked to nonna about my game and her cooking.
I couldn’t go near the table and the cooker. But still, every now and then, I could clear some bowls of leftover cream or dough, if you know what I mean.
As I grew up, I gradually began to approach first the table and then the heats.
I could follow some preparations, not many to be honest. Among them, I could mix the pastry cream.
Feeling invested with an important job, I did it with great care. I stirred with a spoon, slowly but not too much, passing well close to the edges of the pan.And I remember that every time the liquid turned solid becoming custard, I was so happy and proud.
Today, I no longer use a spoon but a hand whisk to mix.
But the recipe is the same I used to eat as a child, the one I learned to make and still prepare as I did then.
Never stop bringing the cuisine of memories to the table.
Cook with love, Monica
Find all my favorite dessert recipes into the blog section dedicated to the Desserts.
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- To make gluten free pastry cream, use cornstarch or rice flour instead of flour.
- If you’d like to make this recipe dairy free, substitute the milk with a neutral milk like rice milk.
- Flour vs Cornstarch: I did a Italian Dessert cooking lesson with one of the most famous Italian pastry chef, the Bolognese Gino Fabbri. About custard, he said that he use only flour to make cream. My grandma made the same and I still make what both teach me.
- Pastry cream can be flavored in a variety of ways: with lemon zest, vanilla, cocoa powder or chocolate.
- Diplomat cream: it is what you get when you add chantilly cream to pastry cream.
- Once the pastry cream is cooked, it needs to cool down completely but when is yet hot you need to prevent a skin from forming on the surface too. Usually I use two different tricks: 1) cover the surface of the hot custard with cling film in contact with the cream or 2) brush a piece of butter over the still warm surface of the cream.
Pastry Cream Recipe
100 g sugar
50 g gluten free white flour
½ l milk
pinch of salt
Aroma: organic lemon zest, to taste, or whatever flavor you prefer
In a saucepan, mix the egg yolks and sugar with a hand whisk.
Add the sifted flour to the eggs and sugar, stirring with a whisk and then slowly pour half a liter of whole milk – warm or room temperature – into the mixture (I never heat it, I always use room temperature milk and, sometimes, also cold).
Stirring constantly, bring mixture to a boil over medium-low heat.
Once mixture begins to separate from sides of pan, remove it from heat, cover the cream as suggested and let cool. It needs to cool down completely.