This Italian Pastry Cream, is an easy creamy and rich vanilla flavored recipe. Made from scratch with simple ingredients. It is perfect for filling your favorite desserts such as cake, cookies pies and tarts! Careful before tasting it with a spoon, you might not stop!
If you are a lover of Italian pastries or even cakes, then learning to make an Italian Vanilla Pastry cream is definitely a must. And not nearly as hard as you may think. And don’t stop at this classic, this Chocolate Pastry Cream and Coffee Pastry Cream are also must tries!
This Traditional Italian Pastry Cream Recipe, is easy but you must give it 100 percent of your attention. From start to finish you need approximately 20 minutes.
- Milk – 2% or whole milk, I would not recommend skim milk
- Cream – whole, whipping or heavy cream with at least 30% fat
- Egg yolks – room temperature
- Sugar – granulated or fine
- Flour – you can all purpose flour or corn starch, this is used as a thickener for the cream
- Vanilla – you can use vanilla extract or even vanilla bean paste, many Italians like to use the vanilla pods.
What is fine sugar?
Fine or Caster sugar is slightly finer and dissolves more easily than regular granulated sugar. You can substitute it at a 1 for 1 basis or you can make your own fine sugar just by blending granulated sugar until fine.
What are room temperature eggs?
Eggs should not be left at normal room temperature (68F- 70F/ 20C – 21C) for more than two hours or if your house is warmer no more than one hour. This is according to the FDA.
A quicker way to achieve room temperature eggs is to place the eggs in the shell in a bowl of warm or very warm water (not boiling or very hot) for 5 minutes, make sure the water is covering them, and then you will have room temperature eggs.
The difference between Custard and Pastry Cream
The difference is basically the eggs, whole eggs are used in custard and just egg yolks in pastry cream also known as crème patissière. Pastry cream is the perfect filling for pastries, pies and cakes, such as a Fresh Fruit Flan or Pumpkin Pastry Cream Crostata.
How to make the Perfect Pastry Cream
In a medium pot, heat over low the milk and cream, do not boil. Remove from heat and let cool to warm. In a medium pot add yolks and sugar, whisk together until combined, then add the flour and vanilla.
Place the pot over low / medium heat, slowly add the warm milk/cream mixture, whisking continuously until thickened, be sure to cook until thickened or you will have a runny pastry cream. It should have a silky texture.
With this recipe there is no need to strain it through a fine mesh strainer.
Pour the hot pastry cream into a heat resistant glass or ceramic bowl, cover the surface of the cream with a piece of plastic wrap (make sure wrap touches the cream mixture) and refrigerate at least 2-3 hours before using.
To bring the chilled cream back to a creamy consistency, it’s a good idea to either use a hand beater or strongly whisk it before using.
Tips for making the best Vanilla-Flavored Pastry Cream
- When adding your hot milk/cream mixture make sure to let it cool a bit so that you don’t end up cooking the eggs.
- The most important part? (the secret) Is to never stop stirring, this way you will have the perfect pastry cream without any lumps. Keep stirring until the pastry cream has thickened.
- I find using a good whisk is the best way to get my Italian Pastry Cream perfect.
- Then immediately place the hot cream in a glass or ceramic bowl, cover with plastic wrap, make sure the plastic is touching the pastry cream and refrigerate for at least a few hours before using.
Different ways to use Italian Pastry Cream
It makes a delicious filling for these Italian Cream Filled Pastries / Pasticiotti or even Layer Cakes, fresh fruit tarts or how about Bignè or cream puffs or even eclairs? Make sure you don’t start eating it with a spoon or you will end up having to make more!
How long will Pastry Cream last in the Refrigerator?
The pastry cream will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator. Be sure to use fresh milk that has a longer expiry date.
Can it be frozen?
Never freeze pastry cream because it will never have the same creamy texture once it is thawed.
And if you have never tasted Italian Pastry Cream you must give it a go. You won’t be disappointed. Whatever you decide to fill with this Traditional Pastry Cream I certainly hope you enjoy it.
More Recipes to make with Pastry Cream
- Summer Berry Trifle
- Chocolate Pastry Cream Tiramisu
- Sporcamuss – Italian cream filled pastries
- Easy Diplomatic Cake
Italian Pastry Cream Recipe
ITALIAN PASTRY CREAM WITH MILK AND CREAM (OUR FAVOURITE / PHOTOS/VIDEO)
- ¾ cup milk (whole or 2%)
- ¾ cup cream whipping/whole/heavy cream (at least 30% fat)
- 4 large egg yolks room temperature
- ½ cup granulated sugar or fine sugar
- 2½ tablespoons all purpose flour or corn starch
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
ITALIAN PASTRY CREAM WITH MILK
- 1 cup milk (divided)
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- 3 tablespoons flour (whisk in a small bowl)
ITALIAN PASTRY CREAM WITH MILK AND CREAM
- In a medium pot, heat over low the milk and cream to hot, do not boil. Remove from heat and let cool to warm.
- In a medium pot whisk together the yolks and sugar, add the flour and vanilla and whisk to combine.
- Place the pot over low / medium heat, slowly add the warm milk/cream mixture, whisking continuously until thickened, be sure to cook until thickened or you will have a runny pastry cream. It should have a silky texture.
- Pour the hot pastry cream into a heat resistant glass or ceramic bowl, cover the surface of the cream with a piece of plastic wrap (make sure wrap touches the cream mixture) and refrigerate at least 2-3 hours before using.
- To bring the chilled cream back to a creamy consistency, it’s a good idea to either use a hand beater or strongly whisk it before using.
ITALIAN PASTRY CREAM WITH MILK
- In a medium pot add 3/4 cup milk and vanilla, heat on medium until milk just starts to boil, then remove from heat and let cool.
- In a medium bowl add egg yolks and sugar, beat at medium-high speed until thick and creamy (approximately 5 minutes) slowly add 1/3 of the boiled cooled milk and continue beating, then slowly add the flour and continue beating until smooth.
- Add egg mixture to the medium pot with remaining milk and cook over medium heat, continuously whisking briskly until mixture starts to boil, lower heat to medium/low and continue whisking while you slowly add the remaining 1/4 cup milk, once all the milk has been added remove from heat, transfer to a glass bowl and let cool completely. If not using immediately cover with plastic (make sure plastic touches the cream and refrigerate) Enjoy!
Updated from January 8, 2016.
I want to insert an icing tip in my lamb cake for Easter with the cream what do you think?
Hi Kathy, yes it should work, this is very thick, maybe make the cream the day before so it has time to really thicken up and be sure to cook it until thick. Let me know how it goes. Take care!
Edwin J Calderon says
I love the recipe it was easy& delicious.I made crepes and use the cream as a filler ,drizzle chocolate over the crepe with confectionery sugar.
Hi Edwin, thanks so much, so glad you liked it. The crepes sound delicious. Take care and have a great week!
I’ve made pastry cream without the cream but with butter added. Can you please explain the difference between an Italian pastry cream vs the ones I’ve made? Besides the added cream and no butter in your recipe every other ingredient I used was the same. I’m just really curious as to what makes it a Italian pastry cream. Thanks. Oh, one more question. I would love to flavor your pastry cream raspberry. Can you tell me what I need to do in order to achieve that flavor? Again, thanks…
Hi Tammie, well for what I have seen the difference between Italian and some other pastry creams is as you said they add butter and sometimes even gelatine, where as there are neither in Italian pastry cream, also Italians use flour for thickening (usually) rather than cornstarch. They are all probably similar, the difference also being I learned this in Italy from an Italian. 🙂 Another curious thing is that Chantilly cream in France is basically sweetened whipped cream whereas in Italy it is sweetened whipped cream mixed with pastry cream. So after you add the warm cream/milk to the egg yolk mixture add the raspberries (which have been pureed and put through a sieve, to remove the seeds) I would think 1/3 cup would be enough. Then continue with the recipe until thick. Let me know how it goes. Hope this helps. Take care!
Thanks so much for answering. Much appreciated. I can’t tell you how difficult it has been to find a raspberry flavored pastry cream or to get any instructions from pastry chef on how to achieve one. Again, thank you!! I’ll definitely follow your recipe then come back to let you know how it went.
Hi Tammie, you’re welcome. Take care and let me know. Have a great weekend.
Judy Miron says
I’m using your pastry cream to fill Peaches for a family reunion but need to prepare a few days ahead and assemble the day of the reunion ( 5 days after making it). Do you think it will stay thick for that length of time.
Hi Judy, pastry cream should last about 4 days in the fridge and yes it has always stayed thick for me. Let me know how it goes. Take care.
I normally make it with coco but I like the melted chocolate better
Hi Lou, thanks, so glad you liked it. Take care.
Great recipe. I recommend it.
Can the pastry cream be made a day ahead of time?
Hi Nanad, yes it can, just keep it covered well with plastic wrap (make sure the plastic touches the pastry cream). And stir it well before using. Let me know how it goes.
I made this pastry cream to fill a cake. It turned out great but when I took it out of the fridge to use it, it had a grittiness to it. The texture was not smooth. Is it supposed to turn out with a texture similar to custard? Not sure if I did something wrong.
Hi Cristina, it should be smooth even after being refrigerated, did you continue to whisk it while it was cooking, not a soft whisking but a quick one? It should be quite thick but smooth. Let me know.
Cristina Fernandez says
Hi. Thanks for your response. I whisked the entire time, quickly. It became one big lump after cooling too. Not sure what I did wrong. I’ll try making it again though. I’m determined to make it smooth. LOL!
Hi Christina if it became a big lump then you cooked it too long. Check the video, that might help you. Let me know.
Donica Smith says
I plan on making your dessert with your Italian pastry cream. When I do is it best to have the eggs at room temperature or should they be cold?
Hi Donica, either works, sometimes I remember to take them out and sometimes I make it with cold eggs. Room temperature is probably best. Let me know how it goes.
I made your pastry cream with room temperature eggs. It turned out great. I will be making your sporcamuss recipe. I can’t wait to taste the completed dessert
Hi Donica, thanks so much, I hope you enjoy the sporcamuss also. Have a great weekend.
Dorothy Finocchiaro says
Just made this easy, to pipe them in the cannoli yum yum
Hi Dorothy, thanks very much and thanks for letting me know. Happy New Year.