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Vanilla Pastry Cream

Scott Phillips

Yield: Yields about 3 cups.

Vanilla pastry cream is the classic filling for chocolate éclairs.


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tbs. cornstarch
  • 1/8 tsp. table salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract


  • Warm the milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat until tiny bubbles appear. Meanwhile, in a medium heatproof bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow. Add the cornstarch and salt and whisk well. Pour the hot milk into the yolk mixture, 1/2 cup at a time, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it thickens to the consistency of thick pudding, about 2 minutes. (It will look lumpy as it starts to thicken but will smooth out as you continue to whisk.)
  • Remove from the heat and scrape the pastry cream into a large clean metal bowl. Whisk in the vanilla and then lay a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, about 1 hour.

Make Ahead Tips

The pastry cream needs to chill for at least 1 hour before use and may be made ahead and refrigerated for up to a day.


Rate or Review

Reviews (2 reviews)

  • dcr20854 | 09/20/2012

    This is an excellent recipe, just enough complexity that you'll get a good result but nothing extra. One caution that I would add is to watch the cream very carefully as it sets up, because if you overcook it, it'll be clumpy.

  • Dani22 | 01/04/2008

    Great pastry cream. Online recipe version omits the 1 cup milk in the ingredients list.

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