Friday, March 31, 2006

Basic Pastry Cream

Any dessert aficionado knows that pastry cream is essential in many desserts, especially in French pastries. Although I stink at making desserts, I was able to whip this pastry cream in no time. The key is to add the boiling milk slowly into the egg so that it doesn't scramble it. You can use pastry cream in ├ęclairs, tarts, and as a basis for your rice or tapioca pudding. Mmmmmm!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place a saucepan on medium-high heat. Add the milk with approximately half of the sugar. Heat stirring frequently until boiling.

In a separate bowl, blend together the remaining sugar and cornstarch, then add the egg and whisk with a fork.

With a ladle or big spoon, slowly add some of the boiling milk into the egg/corn starch bowl while whisking constantly. You don't want to cook and "scramble" the eggs. Add about 1/4 cup of the hot milk.

Next, return the warmed egg/starch mixture back into the boiling milk. Stir constantly until it thickens and it reaches the consistency of pudding.

Place pasty cream in a glass container and cover the surface of the pastry cream with plastic wrap. Press the plastic wrap tightly onto the surface of the cooked pastry cream. This prevents it from forming a "skin". Put in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 hours.

When cold, remove wrap, add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat until very smooth and creamy and use it on any recipe asking for pastry cream, or on this Pineapple Tart recipe.

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