Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticceria)

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“This pastry cream will keep 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator or in the freezer up to 2 months. This recipe make 4 1/4 cups. You need not a double boiler, only a saucepan and a small metal bowl placed over the saucepan full of simmering water that doesn't touch the water.”

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Slowly heat the milk, 2 t of the sugar, and the lemon zest in the top of a double boiler over simmering water.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk the remaining sugar, egg yolks, egg, and salt until thick but still golden, 2 to 3 minute.
  3. Sift the flour, a little at a time, whisking briskly to mix thoroughly.
  4. Whisk 1/2 c of the boiling milk mixture, 2 T at a time, into the egg mixture; then pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk mixture (this is a technique known as tempering).
  5. Cook over medium-high heat, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.
  6. As it begins to reach a boil and look lumpy, whisk vigorously to smooth it.
  7. When the cream is as thick as mayonnaise, reduce the heat and whisk or stir for another minute.
  8. Remove from the heat and discard the lemon zest.
  9. Beat in the vanilla and then the butter, 1 T at a time.
  10. Cool the cream quickly by placing the pan in a bowl of cold water or by spreading the cream out on 2 baking sheets.
  11. Smear a little butter on top and cover tightly with plastic wrap so cream doesn't get a skin.
  12. Cool completely in refrigerator.
  13. You may want to thin it with a couple of T of milk before using it.

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