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Crema Pasticcera (Italian Pastry Cream)

Crema pasticcera with a spoon in a serving bowl and a hand whisk in the background.

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Authentic crema pasticcera or Italian pastry cream makes an ultimate Italian custard dessert, easy and quick to prepare, and extremely versatile. Use it as a delicious filling for a variety of desserts.

Ingredients

Scale
  • 2/3 cup (155 g) whole milk
  • 1/3 cup (75 g) heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/3 cup (60 g) granulated sugar
  • 4 medium-sized egg yolks (60 g), room temperature (see note#1)
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (23 g) cornstarch

* With this amount of cream, you will be able to fill an 8-inch (20 cm) diameter cake, making two layers of cream.

Instructions

  1. Separate the egg yolk from the whites and place the yolks in a large bowl. Add sugar and cornstarch and mix with a balloon whisk for 10-20 seconds.

  2. Pour the cold milk and cream into a saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod vertically into two halves with a small sharp knife, scrape the vanilla seeds with the knife's tip, then add them to the liquids.

  3. Bring the milk and cream over medium heat. When the mixture is almost boiling, pour it into the yolk mixture and continue stirring with the whisk.

  4. Transfer the custard mixture back to low or very low heat and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring constantly until a thick and smooth cream. The cream is ready when it reaches 179°F (82°C), at a maximum of 185°F (85°C) if checked with a cooking thermometer.

  5. Pour the cream into a bowl, better on a shallow plate, and cover it in contact with plastic film. This will help prevent skin formation on top of the cream.

  6. Let it all cool down to room temperature, then use it or refrigerate. Before using, whisk the custard with the hand whisk to regain consistency.

Notes

  1. 60 g egg yolks equal to 4 raw fresh egg yolks from medium-sized size eggs or 3 1/2 egg yolks from large-sized size eggs.
  2. Cook the cream over low to medium heat, stirring it vigorously against the bottom of the pan.
  3. Cover the cream with plastic wrap in contact to prevent skin formation on the surface of the cream.
  4. Don't overcook the cream; otherwise, it may burn and/or taste eggy. Use a cooking thermometer to check the cream's temperature: do not exceed 179°F (82°C), at a maximum of 185°F (85°C).
  5. To cool the cream faster, use an ice bath. Place the bowl with cream over the bowl with ice and whisk the cream until it cools down.

Nutrition

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