Country Cleaver

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How To Tuesday :: Make Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

Here is another thing to add to the list of “Things Not to Leave Alone with Megan” and this vanilla pastry cream is it. Just couple it with, a jar of Nutella, all the seasons of Downton Abbey on DVD, and a room full of puppies. I will lose my ISH. Hide all the spoons, because if it’s awfully likely that I will be spoon deep in my jar of itAnd since I’m a nursing school widow right now, it’s a constant struggle to keep my time occupied while Ben is hitting the books, or his clinicals and having a jar of pastry cream around is d.a.n.g.e.r.o.u.s. It’s especially dangerous because it’s so dang easy to make! And versatile. It’s amazing in these Boston Cream Pie Pancakes, or in between layers of cake in this Rose Ombre Cake – which also has a step-by-step tutorial in cake decorating!

Check out the step-by-step photos below to learn how!How to make perfect pastry cream 1

First, split a half vanilla bean and using the back side of a knife, scrape the seeds or “caviar” out. In a large sauce pan over medium heat whisk together the half and half and milk together. Add the vanilla caviar and pod to the milk mixture to infuse the vanilla flavor. Once steaming and hot remove from the heat and let the mixture rest to finish infusing. As it is sitting, move onto the next step.

How to Make Pastry Cream 2Crack and separate five eggs. If you’re sick of getting egg shells into your eggs, try my tried and true How to Crack and Separate Eggs How-to!  To the eggs, whisk in the sugar until the egg yolks have turned a nice, light butter yellow color. Then add in the corn starch, whisking until smooth.

Slowly, I mean slowly, whisk in the heated vanilla milk infusion into the eggs, whisking as you go bringing the eggs to a warm temperature gradually. If you just pour all the hot milk at once the eggs will curdle and you will have to start all over. And that’s a bummer. Once the milk and eggs are whisked together pour them all back into the saucepan and bring to a light boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Once the mixture has thickened, remove from the heat. With a strainer set over a large bowl, pour the whole mixture through and use a spoon to push it through and remove any curdled bits.

Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap by pressing the plastic directly onto the cream and place in the fridge until set and cool.

How to make pastry cream 3

And that’s all there is to it! Give it a try as soon as possible. I can’t make any promises that you won’t be eating it out of the jar with a spoon. There are no heroes here. Just go for it.

Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream

Yield: 2 cups

Prep Time: 10 Minutes

Cook Time: 5 Minutes

Total Time: 15 Minutes + Cooling

PrintPrint Recipe


1/3 cup Sugar
5 Egg Yolks
1 1/2 Tbsp Cornstarch
1 cup Milk
1 cup Half-n-Half
1 Vanilla Bean, split and seeds scraped (or 2 1/2 Tbsp Vanilla Extract)
1 Tbsp Butter


Make up to 24 hours in advance and refrigerate until 1 hour prior to use.

In a medium saucepan, heat the milk, heavy cream and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain. Temper the eggs by whisking in 1/4 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk slowly.

Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Let cool slightly. Press through a fine mesh strainer to remove any curdled bits and remove husk of vanilla bean. Cover strained pastry cream with plastic wrap, and press the plastic wrap on top of the pastry cream to make sure it doesn’t form a skin. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve

How to Make Pastry Cream -


17 Responses to “How To Tuesday :: Make Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream”

  1. #
    Erika — January 14, 2014 @ 6:45 am

    I love all of your how to’s lady..Now excuse me while I go make me some vanilla bean pastry cream…

  2. #
    Jennie @themessybakerblog — January 14, 2014 @ 7:43 am

    My pastry cream never seems to get thick enough. I like to think that you had me in mind when you came up with this post. Great tutorial!

  3. #
    Dobermom — January 14, 2014 @ 10:07 am

    Who needs ANY utensils when you have pastry cream OR Nutella? I’d just use my “original” utensils – my fingers. And then I wouldn’t have to share the yummy, nummy tasty treats 🙂

  4. #
    Nicole @ Young, Broke and Hungry — January 14, 2014 @ 10:26 am

    I feel like this dangerous territory for me because I would devour that pastry cream within an inch of it’s life and I am trying to go dairy free! Gah, problems.

  5. #
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — January 14, 2014 @ 11:34 am

    My boys would happily eat this every day of their entire lives. I don’t make it near often enough. As always, great tutorial, you do inspire me!

  6. #
    Karly — January 14, 2014 @ 3:13 pm

    I’m going to take a bath in this stuff, k?

    • Megan replied: — January 14th, 2014 @ 3:14 pm

      It’s better than Oil of Olay ANYDAY!!

  7. #
    Paula – bell’alimento — January 14, 2014 @ 3:19 pm

    Great How-To! Hiding all the spoons is not going to help! Yum!

  8. #
    Haley @ The Girly Girl Cooks — January 15, 2014 @ 6:56 am

    Love this How-To! I would be in hog-heaven with all seasons Downton Abbey, puppies, this pastry cream and nutella. I wonder if that is what heaven would be like?!? I hope!

  9. #
    Danae @ RecipeRunner — January 15, 2014 @ 9:01 am

    I could eat the whole dish of that pastry cream, one my favorite things!

  10. #
    Nutmeg Nanny — January 15, 2014 @ 7:52 pm

    I would eat that whole bowl. I would probably eat it warm too because I’m a sucker for warm pastry cream. Also, never leave me alone with puppies. I will find a reason that I need to take them ALL home.

  11. #
    Shaina — January 16, 2014 @ 11:35 am

    Perfect timing. I’m making doughnuts for the kids, and now I’m making pastry cream to fill them with.

  12. #
    Paula – bell’alimento — March 8, 2014 @ 4:39 pm

    I am drooling all over my keyboard! Must try this very soon!

  13. #
    laura — September 24, 2014 @ 5:20 pm

    Hi All,
    Just came across this recipe and will NOT be using my school pastry cream recipe again! When I whisk my eggs, sugar and corn starch; I use my kitchen aid mixer and keep it on low speed and slowly pour in the milk mixture because I always curdle my eggs and this seems to help me out. 🙂

  14. #
    Diane — July 17, 2016 @ 5:27 pm

    Thank you for the recipe.😊…2 1/2 Tablespoons of vanilla extract (which is 7 1/2 teaspoons) seems quite a lot.  Did you mean to type 2 1/2 teaspoons if replacing one vanilla bean? 😊

  15. #
    Visiedieni — September 27, 2016 @ 6:26 am

    It definitely works with caviar. Did something similar and added caviar on top – great result.


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