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Pastry Cream

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I am a girl that loves custards, puddings and pastry cream… probably more than chocolate!  Eggs, milk and sugar, blended and cooked until silky and thick, whisks me to my happy place.  Pastry cream is not that complicated to make, but can add time to assembling a dessert if it isn’t made before.  It can keep a week or so in the refrigerator, so do yourself a favor and make it before you need it, like, the night before.  The process is pretty much the same as the lemon curd, cook it over medium-high heat until it just boils and becomes thick.  It continues to thicken as it cools, so try not to over-cook it trying to achieve the super-thick curd texture.

Pastry Cream
Recipe type: Dessert
You can flavor the pastry cream with a vanilla bean or vanilla extract, or both. If you are using the extract, add it after the pastry cream has been removed from the heat. If you want an "eggier" cream, use 4 egg yolk rather than 2 whole eggs.
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbs corn starch
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2¼ cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (2 tsp if not using vanilla bean)
  • 2 Tbs butter
  1. In a small bowl combine sugar, corn starch, and salt.
  2. In a medium sauce-pot whisk together milk and eggs.
  3. Slice vanilla bean and scrape the seeds into the milk and eggs.
  4. Whisk in the dry ingredients.
  5. Heat on medium-high, whisking continuously, being very careful not to burn the milk.
  6. Whisk until the mixture just comes to a boil and is quite thick, this should take about 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat, run through a sieve if you would like, and transfer to a bowl.
  8. Whisk in the butter, and vanilla until mixture is smooth.
  9. As it cools, continue to whisk it every few minutes to help lower the temperature faster and to maintain the uniform texture.
  10. When cooler, place a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface (to prevent a skin from forming) and place in refrigerator.
  11. Use within a week.
One you have this recipe mastered, you can go on a cream-pie making rampage, or dive into French pastries like eclairs and Napoleons.  You can fold it into freshly whipped cream for a light and fluffy option, or fill an empty tart shell with the pastry cream and cover with fresh berries.  Turn it into coconut cream by mixing in about a Tbs of toasted coconut per cup of pastry cream.  You can also just stand in the fridge and lick it off your fingers, I won’t judge.

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