- 500ml (2 cups, plus 1T) Whole Milk
- 100g (½-cup) Granulated Sugar
- 5 large Egg Yolks
- 45g (about ¼-cup, plus 2T) Corn Starch
- 50g (about 3½T) Unsalted Butter, cut into small pieces
- Pour the milk and half of the sugar into a saucepan and heat it on a high flame.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk the corn starch with the other half of the sugar, then combine it with all of the yolks. Whisk thoroughly.
- When the milk comes to a boil, turn off the flame and pour a third of the milk into the yolk mixture, whisking as you go. Once the mixture has tempered, place the yolk mix back into the saucepan, and whisk together. Turn the flame to medium, and mix continuously.
- Once the mixture just begins to simmer, lower the flame, and whisk until the pastry cream thickens. Continue to cook and stir for another 1-2 minutes.
- Turn off the flame and throw in the butter. Stir the cream until the butter is fully combined.
- Place all of the pastry cream onto a small sheet pan or large dinner plate that has been lined with plastic wrap. Spread flat and then cover the cream with a piece of plastic wrap touching the surface of the cream.
- Cool the cream in the refrigerator, and keep it refrigerated until it is ready to be used. Use the pastry cream within 3-5 days.
- I mix the sugar and the corn starch, then combine with the yolks, to minimize the possibility of clumping. I also try to avoid mixing the sugar and yolks together too early, as the sugar can cause the yolks to turn lumpy if left alone for too long.
- Tempering the yolks helps bring the cold yolks come to a warm temperature without the yolks scrambling. The constant stirring also helps in preventing the yolks from getting lumpy.
- It's important to keep whisking the pastry cream, to make a smooth cream and to avoid burning.
- Cutting the butter into small cubes will allow the butter to melt faster, and mix into the cream thoroughly.
- Plastic wrap on the surface of the pastry cream prevents a skin from forming.
- When you're ready to fill your pastries with the cream, refresh the cold pastry cream inside a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, and mix until smooth.
- It takes roughly 3-4 hours for the cream to cool. Once it's cold, you can flavor it any way you like. Add extracts, melted chocolate, nut pastes, or spices to suit your project and palate.
- To make the black sesame version: There are two approaches to making black sesame pastry cream. The first method: you can take about 10% of the weight of pastry cream and weigh out your sesame seeds (e.g. If you start with 100g of pastry cream, you will need about 10g of sesame seeds.). Burr grind your seeds into a fine powder, and then mix it into your refreshed pastry cream. The second method: take 10% of the weight of pastry cream, and weigh out your sesame seed paste (nerigoma; again, if you begin with 100g of pastry cream, you would want to measure out about 10g of paste). Mix the paste into the refreshed pastry cream, and it's ready to use.
- To make the green tea (matcha) version: Take about 2% of the total weight of pastry cream and weigh out the powdered tea (e.g. 100g pastry cream = 2g of tea). Slowly sift and mix the cream until combined, trying to prevent clumping or pockets of tea unincorporated.
- To make the vanilla version: split and scrape one-half to one vanilla pod and place into the saucepan with milk. Make the pastry cream as instructed, and remove the pod before placing the cream into the fridge.