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Easy Crème Légère Recipe

Creme Legere in a serving bowl with a spatula and eggs in the background.

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Crème Légère, crème Madam, or Princess cream means the same French cream made with silky pastry cream and light and airy whipped cream.


  • 2/3 cup + 4 tablespoons (225 g) whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (115 g) heavy cream
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons (90 g) granulated sugar
  • 6 medium-sized egg yolks (90 g) see note #1
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons (33 g) cornstarch
  • 1/5 butter stick (20 g) cold unsalted butter (optional)
  • 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons (185 g) cold heavy cream

* This quantity of creme legere is enough to fill and coat an 8-inch (20 cm) three-layer cake.


  1. To make vanilla pastry cream, in a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks and sugar with a balloon whisk until they foam and whiten. Then add cornstarch and whisk again. Split the vanilla pod into two halves lengthwise and scrape the seeds using a sharp knife.  
  2. In a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan, bring milk, scraped vanilla seeds, and vanilla pod to a boil. Then remove the milk mixture from the heat, cover it with a lid, and leave it to infuse for 30 minutes. Remove the vanilla pod from the milk, and pour it gradually over the blanched egg mixture, constantly mixing with the whisk. 
  3. Transfer the preparation back into the saucepan, then heat it over low or low-medium heat, whisking constantly. The cream will gradually thicken (it usually takes about 30 seconds to 2 minutes). Look for "streaks" on the surface of the thickening cream: they are a sign of the cream's readiness.
  4. Pass the thickened cream through a fine-mesh sieve to remove possible lumps. Add butter in small cubes and mix well. Then pour the cream into a shallow dish to cool.
  5. Cover the dish with cling film against the surface of the cream (in contact) to prevent skin formation. Leave it to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate for a few hours, even overnight, if you plan to finish the creme legere later.  
  6. To make whipped cream, Place the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Pour very cold cream into the chilled bowl and whip cream at medium speed into soft peaks.
  7. To finish creme legere, using the hand whisk, whip the pastry cream for 20 seconds to loosen it. Add 1/4 of the whipped cream into the pastry cream and gently mix with a rubber spatula. Then add the remaining whipped cream and gently fold, working in the same direction and lifting the cream from the bottom up.
  8. Place the ready cream in a piping bag with a decorating tip and use it immediately. Or reserve it in the refrigerator until ready to use. 


  1. 90 g egg yolks are approximately equal to 6 raw egg yolks from medium-sized eggs or 1/3 US cup.
  2. Add a little sugar to the empty saucepan to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  3. Cook the pastry cream over low heat, stirring it constantly to prevent burning.
  4. Cover the pastry cream with a piece of plastic wrap in contact to prevent skin formation on the cream's surface.
  5. Use an electric mixer to whisk the heavy cream if a stand mixer is unavailable.
  6. For flavor variations, check the post above.
  7. Make ahead option: Prepare the pastry cream in the evening and refrigerate overnight. The next day, finish the creme legere.
  8. Nutritional information doesn't include butter, an optional ingredient.


Keywords: creme legere, lightened pastry cream




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