Classic Pastry Cream Recipe

Pastry chef William Isaiah, will take you on a journey through the history and infallible classic recipe of pastry cream. 

From tartlets to profiteroles in their original recipe, they are elevated to excellence when filled with this cream.

So, adjust your chef’s hat and get ready to discover the soul of pastry making.

History of Crème Pâtissière

Classic Pastry Cream Recipe William Isaías

Crème pâtissière, by its French name, has a fascinating history dating back to 17th century France. 

It was the famous French chef François Pierre de la Varenne who first mentioned it in his culinary writings. 

Since then, it has become an essential component of pastries all over the world. 

Its versatility and delicate flavor make it perfect for filling tarts, cakes, éclairs and much more.

Crema Pastelera Recipe

Now we share with you a recipe that has been polished over the years:


  • 2 cups of whole milk
  • 1 vanilla pod (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch (corn starch)
  • Pinch of salt


Pour the milk in a saucepan and heat it over medium heat with the vanilla until it comes to a boil. Then, remove the pod.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar and salt until the mixture is pale and smooth. Then add the cornstarch to the mixture and whisk until fully integrated.

Slowly pour the hot milk over the egg mixture while stirring constantly. Then pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan.

Classic Recipe William Isaías

Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the cream thickens, about 5-7 minutes.

Once the cream is thickened, remove it from the heat and continue stirring for a few minutes to cool.

Transfer the custard to a bowl and cover with cling film directly on the surface.

Versatile Uses for Pastry Cream

It’s a versatile ingredient that can elevate your desserts to a whole new level. 

Pastry chef William Isaías shares some ways to use it:

Pie and Cake Filling 

Make it the perfect filling for pies and cakes.

It adds a dimension of smoothness and flavor that perfectly complements a wide variety of fruits and cakes

Its creamy texture and delicate flavor make every bite an exquisite experience.

Profiteroles and Éclairs Fillings 

This cream brings an irresistibly rich softness that contrasts beautifully with the crunchy texture of the choux pastry.

Creating a balance of flavors and textures that is simply delicious.

Layered Desserts 

In layered desserts, such as the famous mille-feuille, this cream plays an essential role. 

With its softness and distinctive flavor, it joins layers of crispy puff pastry and becomes the glue that binds all the elements together.

Creating a layered dessert with exceptional depth of flavor.

Fruit Topping 

It serves not only as a filling, but also as an elegant topping for fresh fruit. 

Whether you’re topping juicy strawberries or exotic kiwis, this cream adds a touch of sweetness that enhances the freshness of the fruit, creating a fresh and flavorful dessert.

Pastry Cream William Isaías

Tartlets and Pies 

Whether in small tartlets or traditional pies, pastry cream can elevate these desserts to the category of exquisite. 

Fill tartlets with pastry cream and decorate them with fresh fruit for a delightful dessert.

You can use it as a base for your favorite pies, from the classic banana to the iconic lemon.


Soufflés are a showcase for the versatility of pastry cream. 

When incorporated into the soufflé batter, it provides a smooth texture and delicate flavor that transforms this dessert into an unforgettable culinary experience. 

Its richness perfectly balances the lightness of a soufflé.


Pastry cream is a pastry treasure with a rich history dating back centuries.

From William Isaiah’s article, we can draw the following conclusions:

  • the recipe is relatively simple and lends itself to a wide variety of creative uses;
  • its versatility makes it ideal for filling cakes and pies, elevating profiteroles and éclairs, and as a topping for fresh fruit;
  • is essential in layered desserts, such as mille-feuille, where its softness and flavor take center stage;
  • it can be used in tartlets and pies, from the smallest and most elegant to classic pies, adding a delicious dimension;
  • Even in soufflés, it demonstrates its versatility by providing texture and flavor.

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