If you are in search of a rich frosting or filling but not too dense or heavy. Well a vanilla pastry cream is your go to! You can easily fluff it up even more by adding more whipped cream (this makes it into a diplomat cream) and add it into your tarts, cakes, donuts, coux buns, literally anything! But the regular old vanila pastry cream, is always best with some apple pie! Its super easy, and very tasty!
Here’s how you make it!
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise (or 2 tsp vanilla bean paste)
- 1/4 cup cornstarch (maizena)
- 4 large egg yolks
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup heavy cream, whipped to soft peaks – this is if you would like it fluffier for a substitute for buttercream frosting -it becomes a Diplomat cream)
- Take a medium-sized saucepan and stir together 2 1/2 cups of the milk, sugar, salt, and the vanilla bean ( or your vanilla bean paste). Over medium heat, bring it to a simmer, whilst stirring to make sure all the sugar has dissolved.
- In another medium bowl, whisk in the cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks with the remaining 1/2 cup milk.
- Whisk some of the hot milk mixture with the egg yolks to temper them. This keeps the yolks from turning to scrambled eggs when you add them to the simmering milk.
- Pour the egg/milk mixture back into the remaining simmering milk. Doing this through a strainer will help prevent lumps later. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly with a whisk, until the mixture thickens.
- Remove from the heat and strain through a fine strainer into a bowl set in an ice bath. Stir in the butter.
- Rub a piece of butter over the surface of the cream, top with a piece of plastic wrap (make sure it touches the top of the pastry cream so it doesn’t develop a skin), then refrigerate until cool.
- You can now use the vanilla pastry cream to fill tarts, pies, eclairs, choux buns, cakes and buns. However if you want a fluffier pastry cream then simply just fold in the optional whipped cream, just before using, for a smoother fluffier filling.
- Pastry cream will keep, covered in the refrigerator, for up to 3-5 days.