Friday, December 2, 2016

My Dream Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

And by dream, I mean nightmare. I don’t test recipes. There is nothing in my contract that requires me to only post successful videos, and as you longtime viewers know, I do enjoy sharing the occasional flop, but this new and improved, vanilla bean pastry cream was not a one-take affair.

I’ve wanted to update our old crème patisserie recipe for a while, and long story short, I became obsessed, and ended up suffering through seven non-perfect versions before I was finally satisfied. The key to a great pastry cream is using the minimum of starch. You need enough so the cream holds a shape, but not so much it interferes with the flavor.

I found flour-based pastry creams easy to work with, but they have more of a pasty mouthfeel that gets in the way of the vanilla. That’s why this version is all corn starch, which we need less of to do the same job. Just be careful not to keep cooking it once it has thickened, otherwise you may compromise its thickening powers.

With the holidays, and their associated fancy desserts, right around the corner, what better time to work on your pastry cream game? So whether it’s for Napoleons, pies, tarts, or cakes, I really hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 3 cups:
1 large whole egg
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon kosher salt (1/2 teaspoon fine table salt)
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
2 cups whole milk
1 vanilla bean, seeded, plus pure vanilla extract if needed
Tip: Save the scraped pods, and stick them in your sugar container for lovely, vanilla-scented sugar!
4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed

35 comments:

Mitchell Mayo said...

So,

What do you do with a scraped vanilla bean pod?

Mitchell Mayo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EvenMoreBass said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julia Bari said...

You didn't tell us what to do with the rest of the vanilla bean...

ev w said...

Can this be made a day or two in advance?

Thank you for years of wonderful recipes ... and giggles!

std_dncr said...

"Tip: Save the scraped pods, and stick them in your sugar container for lovely, vanilla-scented sugar!" - it's right there at the end of the recipe, folks!

john balogna said...

Read the recipe don't just watch the video. The tip on what to do with the vanilla Bean Pod in in the text of the recipe.

Seer said...

See TIP at end of recipe. Vanilla sugar.

Daniel Brandenburg said...

It seems, that nobody is able to read till the end of the page... He says it in the ingredients list.

inchrisin said...

Are we tincturing Vanilla extract with vodka?

Carpe Diem said...

He does tell you what to do with the scrapped pod...

JM dL said...

I put the scraped vanilla bean in a pot of sugar to give the sugar a smell of vanilla...

Lisa from Indiana said...

Make vanilla sugar! Cover the bean with 2-3 cups of sugar in a mason jar. Close the jar and put it in the back of the cupboard for a few weeks. Great for coffee. Or make vanilla syrup. Boil the bean with a cup of sugar and a cup of water. Use the syrup in lemonade. Don't ever waste a vanilla bean!

Jason Smith said...

Guys.......Look at the word "Tip" after the list of ingredients. (Sigh!!!)

No WONDER CJ doesn't comment anymore....:P

rekshaw said...

guys it's in the ingredient description:
Tip: Save the scraped pods, and stick them in your sugar container for lovely, vanilla-scented sugar!

Chris K. said...

I put scraped vanilla bean pods in a small container filled with sugar. The sugar gets infused with an intense vanilla flavor. Excellent in coffee, but you can do all kinds of things with it.

funny bunny said...

chef, thank you for making it about the food!! i always come back for more!! thank you thank you

Salli Gillespie said...

Oh. Man.
Thank you Chef John.
I've always wanted to be the Cuba Gooding of my vanilla pudding.
I will be the Graham Greene of my pastry cream.
The Cher of my eclair,
The Hillary Duff of my pastry puff,
The George McFly of my cream pie,
The Colonel Mustard of my pastry custard.
Ha, ha!

Thomeyis said...

Great recipe! Would adding a few drops of some fruit extract work for a fruity flavor? What about substituting cocoa for some of the cornstarch to get chocolate cream?

RevRobHolley said...

Chef John, I've been a fan of yours forever! Love your channel! Just curious, could you use powdered sugar to substitute for both the white sugar and cornstarch?

Sol s said...

How much butter?

Beth said...

Crème pâtissière is an ace up the sleeve.Thanks for sharing this with us!

Bob Beattie said...

Stop smoking pot and pay attention to what CJ is teaching us. Welcome to washington state! My G*d

Thanks Chef.

PS
Lived in SF from 77-88 Know this stuff...

thisizk8 said...

I would love to see a consommé video!

Tarjei T. Jensen said...

Can the corn starch be substituted with potato starch?

CG said...

I had to unsubscribe to your youtube channel because it was making so many dessert and food videos show up in my feed! And I have been eating unhealthier since I started watching them all.

I will visit your channel on my own every now and again :p

CutieJRT said...

The cubed butter? Salted or unsalted?

Cherry Maim'her said...

Could you possibly use Eggnog instead of the Whole Milk? That way you can add the cream mixture to a pie tart.

Thank you for the wonderful videos!

Alex said...
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Alex said...

If you use this to make something like cream puffs or eclairs, will leftovers hold up or will the pastry get soggy? Should I only fill as many as we will eat in a sitting?

P.S. LOVE all of your videos. You are the first place we search for recipes and we have never tried one of yours that we didn't love. Thanks and keep up the good work!

Lillia said...

I just made this and it is AMAZING!!!! way easier than Julia Child's version. It will be the filling for my doughnuts. This is the second recipe I've tried from chef John and I'm very content. Keep it up chef!!!

emjayay said...

Eggnog has eggs (duh) and sugar (usually a lot) in it so I think you would have to reduce those components to substitute it for whole milk. Since this has eggs (with extra yolks) and sugar in it anyway, isn't it practically egg nog already? Maybe just add some nutmeg and a little rum.

Rasheeda said...

You stick the rest of the Vanilla pod up your ass! Yall didnt read that at the end of the recipe. :)

Mom said...

Chef John! THANK-YOU for being as good a teacher as you are a cook. I've never understood why my vanilla pudding would turn runny sometimes. Now I know that corn starch is actually tempermental! I can deal with attitude as long as I'm forewarned. I FINALLY turned out a perfect pastry cream! I didn't know I good make it that good (or is it "well"--I think both in this case!)

Lunar Smoothie said...

I have to say, Chef John, I just recently discovered you and I can say in all honesty, YOU are my FAVORITE chef! ♥ Thank you for all you do. My family and I love your creations!