The classic lemon and vanilla pastry cream (creme pattisiere, crema pasticcera) is a sweet, delicate and velvety traditional Italian or French custard cream. To prepare it soft and with the sublime aftertaste of lemon and vanilla, you need a few ingredients and some simple tricks and tips to have it become perfect and without lumps. You can eat it like a dessert, just by putting it in the cups and decorating it with some fresh fruit. It is perfect for pies and tarts with fruit, as the filling for donuts, éclairs, cupcakes, crepes and pastries. Use it to fill sponge cake, create millefeuille dessert or decorate a cream tart.
Like most of traditional recipes, there are many versions and numerous variations such as chocolate or cinnamon pastry cream, cream with the addition of mascarpone cheese or with few egg yolks to make it suitable for baking. Today’s recipe is my favorite version of pastry cream which is the classic, yellow, shiny and silky one. The recipe is really quick and easy. Below you will find all the tricks and explanations to make it always perfect.
Instructions classic lemon and vanilla pastry cream
*The first trick to use is to prepare a container, in my case a simple bowl, which was previously placed in the freezer for 5 or more minutes. We will need this bowl to quickly lower the temperature of the cream and prevent the creation of any lumps.
Pour the milk into a saucepan. Add the seeds and diced vanilla bean or a teaspoon of vanilla extract. Add lemon peel from half a lemon using only the yellow part as the white part would make the cream bitter.
Turn on the flame and bring slowly to a boilin point.
While the milk is heating up take a second pot and pour in your sugar and corn or rice starch. Add room temperature egg yolks.
*Having the egg yolks at room temperature is another important step. Too cold yolks taken directly from the fridge undergo thermal shock upon contact with hot milk and alter the consistency of the cream.
Mix everything quickly with a hand whisk. At first the yolks will create a batter but gradually they will become softer until they create a thick liquid.
*To obtain a perfect cream you need to continue stirring and never let the egg yolks rest mixed with starch and sugar as they could separate.
Remove the boiling milk from the heat and pour it through a colander in three times to our mix of yolks. Stir each time with the whisk to mix the ingredients well. Discard the lemon peel and any vanilla bean.
*Using pre-heated milk helps to maintain the fresh and delicate taste of the cream. The yolks do not undergo the too strong or fast temperature change by using prolonged cooking over the flame when we use cold milk.
Note from the author of this recipe
I just want to tell you that I really appreciate that you have decided to prepare my recipe. If you like it, I would be very happy and it could be a huge help for me if you follow me on my official social channel such as instagram where I publish every time a new recipe comes out. To become my follower just search for foodohfood in your instagram or click on this link: https://www.instagram.com/foodohfood/ and press Follow. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Barbara. ^_^
Lemon creme patissiere without lumps – cooking time
Place the pan on medium-low heat and continue cooking, stirring constantly. The cream will thicken in a few moments. Turn off the heat as soon as you reach the desired consistency.
*Do not cook the cream for too long as the too high temperature causes the aftertaste of cooked egg. If the cream appears too little structured, remove it from the heat, mix quickly and put it back on the heat for a few seconds.
Take your container from the freezer. Pour the thick cream into the container and mix with a whisk to quickly lower the temperature.
*This step ensures that the cream does not continue to thicken and create lumps as it is still at a high temperature when it is removed from the heat, meaning it continues to cook.
You realize that your cream is perfect when it remains smooth, shiny and velvety with a delicate lemon and vanilla aftertaste.
In order not to create a dense layer on the surface, cover it with the plastic wrap in contact with the cream. Store in the refrigerator and use as needed.
lot of love. B.
p.s. If you are looking for a delicious recipe where you can use this custard cream, check out my Soft cake for breakfast with ricotta and vanilla (photo below).