Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)

Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)
Quite similar to crème anglaise but much thicker. It is used in many pastries like choux pastry (pâte à choux) or millefeuille.
718K 31 123 4.1
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Last modified on: January 27th 2017

Keywords for this recipe:
For 720 g, you will need:

Change these quantities to make: 240 g 360 g 720 g 1 kg 440 g 2 kg 160 g
How long does it take?
Time required for this recipe:
PreparationCookingStart to finish
29 min.7 min.36 min.
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Step by step recipe

Stage 1 - 20 min.
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)
Pour 500 ml milk into a pan, and add the inside of 1 vanilla pod (the little black seeds) after carefully scraping them out with the tip a knife.

Bring to the boil on medium heat. As soon as it boils, take off the heat, cover and leave vanilla to infuse 10 minutes.

Stage 2 - 2 min.
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)
Meanwhile, put 6 egg yolks in a bowl and add 100 g caster sugar, and without delay beat to mix thoroughly.

It is not necessary to beat for a long time to whiten, so it can be done by hand with a whisk in 1 minute.

Stage 3 - 3 min.
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)
Add then 40 g cornflour, and beat again with the whisk.

Stage 4 - 2 min.
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)
Then slowly pour the hot milk onto the mixture while beating continuously until thoroughly mixed.

Stage 5 - 2 min.
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)
Transfer the mixture back into the pan.

Stage 6
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)
Unlike for crème anglaise or crème brûlée, it is not essential to remove the froth, it will get mixed in during cooking.

But it's better...

Stage 7 - 7 min.
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)
Put the pan on low-medium heat, and cook gently while beating continuously.

It's important to scrape the whisk over the bottom of the pan to avoid custard sticking.

Stage 8
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)
Cooking is complete when custard is of a good consistency, in other words like a thickish purée, but not too firm..

The custard thickens quite quickly, especially if the heat is high, so do not to hesitate to take pan off heat, while continuing to stir, if this happens.

Also, remember that your custard will continue cooking for a little while after being removed from the heat, so bear this in mind when deciding at what point to stop...

Stage 9
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)
Once custard is finished, cover the pan to avoid a skin forming.

Later, if you use the custard cold and it is too stiff, beat one or two tablespoonsful of cream into it vigorously.

Stage 10
Confectioner's custard (Crème pâtissière, or French pastry cream)
When finished, cream is very hot, if you want to use it immediately you should cool it.

The easier solution is to put it in the fridge, but it's quite long.

The best way is to proceed as chefs, and spread it on a plastic film (to protect from the air) then put it in the fridge.

Stage 11
This short video show you how to proceed.
It's possible to flavour confectioner's custurd with other things rather than vanilla: coffee, alcohols, etc... You can also make a chocolate custard by folding about 100 g of chocolate, broken in small pieces into the custard with the whisk while it is still hot.
Several days in the fridge, in a closed jar.
After Gaston Lenôtre.
Nutritional information
Whole recipe
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
1,356 Kcal or 5,677 Kj48 gr146 gr64 gr
68 %19 %14 %10 %
Per 100 g
Energetic valueProteins CarbohydratesFats
178 Kcal or 745 Kj6 gr19 gr8 gr
9 %2 %2 %1 %
% are calculated relative to a Recommended Dietary Intake or RDI of 2000 k-calories or 8400 k-joules by day for a woman (change to a man).
Possible allergens in this recipe: Egg, Milk
How much will it cost?
  • For 720 g : 3.74 €

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Note: Be careful, these prices are only an estimate, you can consult the table of prices by ingredients used for this estimate.

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Your 31 comments or questions on this recipe
  • Brilliant recipe, really well explained. Thank you!
    Posted by Anonymous february 20th 2022 at 09:53 (n° 31)
  • If you keep it in a closed jar in the fridge, several days.
    Posted by jh april 3rd 2018 at 18:34 (n° 30)
  • How far in advance can i make this?
    Posted by Alison april 1st 2018 at 13:20 (n° 29)
  • Just made this, and it's way too sweet. Next time will reduce sugar to half.
    Posted by Pam june 3rd 2017 at 17:33 (n° 28)
  • Hi 😄 Thank you for this wonderful recipe. I thought you might like to know that I made it with coconut cream instead of milk and it worked great. Thanx again
    Posted by Fiona march 14th 2017 at 06:19 (n° 27)
  • Yes it is.
    Posted by jh february 24th 2017 at 14:47 (n° 26)
  • Hi, I like to make custard tart and use confectionery custard as the filling. Is this recipe suitable for me? Janine
    Posted by Anonymous february 23th 2017 at 01:58 (n° 25)
  • Yes, absolutely.
    Posted by Anonymous april 28th 2016 at 08:38 (n° 24)
  • I had a wonderful eclair filled with a pistachio cream, it was kind of thick, could I use this for a base to make it.
    Posted by Anonymous april 28th 2016 at 00:16 (n° 23)
  • I don't think so.
    Posted by jh may 7th 2013 at 08:31 (n° 22)
  • Is this the pudding made for Pearl tapioca? If not is there a tapioca. Recipe?
    Posted by Nicola may 7th 2013 at 02:42 (n° 21)
  • Good,but I need to know the equipment needed for it
    Posted by Akiza Directioner february 6th 2013 at 18:17 (n° 20)
  • Yes
    Posted by jh january 25th 2013 at 09:09 (n° 19)
  • Is this recipe suitable to use in Danish pastries>
    Posted by Sheanne Carr january 24th 2013 at 20:26 (n° 18)
  • Make 360g of the recipe, take your 2 cups, and use the (small) remaining for something else.
    Posted by jh december 24th 2012 at 14:50 (n° 17)
  • Could you please list the exact amounts of all the ingredients for making less. I need to use this custard in a cake and that recipe says 2 cups of CREMA PASTICCERA - it's an Italian recipe, so I am guessing this is what they mean... How much of each ingredient will I need to end up with 2 cups of this creme? thanks a lot.
    Posted by kiska december 23th 2012 at 14:42 (n° 16)
  • I always prefer whole milk, but you can use skimmed if you prefer.
    Posted by jh november 28th 2012 at 21:34 (n° 15)
  • What kind of milk does this recipe use? Whole, 2%, skim, etc...
    Posted by Ashley november 18th 2012 at 04:17 (n° 14)
  • Yes
    Posted by lindo november 1st 2012 at 10:43 (n° 13)
  • Could you use this in a Manchester Tart
    Posted by casm october 30th 2012 at 19:52 (n° 12)
  • Increase volume of cornflour.
    Posted by jh august 10th 2012 at 14:50 (n° 11)
  • Need to make a thick version which will hold well between the puff pastry top and bottom in a classic 'english' vanilla slice and noy quickly soak and toughen the pastry = ant suggestions
    Posted by DROSCAR august 10th 2012 at 11:32 (n° 10)
  • I confirm: yes you can! The cream will be a bit less smooth but it's ok.
    In the past, when corn flour was not existing, that how pastry chef does.
    Posted by jh january 21th 2012 at 10:26 (n° 9)
  • No you cant!
    Posted by LOWONIAN january 20th 2012 at 23:16 (n° 8)
  • Yes you can.
    Posted by jh october 17th 2011 at 13:33 (n° 7)
  • Can i replace corn flour for plain flour?
    Posted by Anonymous october 15th 2011 at 20:03 (n° 6)
  • Yes it could be, I use vanilla beans because it's very common in grocery here (France).

    You can also reduce caster sugar of one teaspoon and add a teaspoon of vanilla sugar instead.
    Posted by jh june 2nd 2011 at 09:34 (n° 5)
  • Does it have to be a vanilla bean? Can it be vanilla extract, as the beans are difficult to find in the everyday grocery store...
    Posted by Adam june 1st 2011 at 22:51 (n° 4)
  • Hello,Not more than one or two days in the fridge I'm afraid, because with time confectioners custard will finally wet the cake too much.Yes, in the fridge absolutely because there is egg yolks in.
    Posted by jh february 1st 2011 at 12:25 (n° 3)
  • Helloi have been asked to make a sponge cake with confectioners custard and fresh strawberries as the filling. How long will this recipe keep for? Also does it have to be kept in fridge? As lady would like the cake iced which can't be kept in fridge.thanks in advance for any advice
    Posted by Rebecca january 31th 2011 at 18:37 (n° 2)
  • This recipe turned out very well in the chinois I made but I added apricot brandy instead of eau de vie de mirabelle. Big mistake. It was terrible. No fault to the pastry cream recipe though the flavor and texture on the remake without the brandy was fantastic!
    Posted by Iowonian june 18th 2009 at 17:40 (n° 1)
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