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Chocolate Crème Pâtisserie: Pastry Cream

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Decadent Indulge in our Decadent Chocolate Crème Pâtisserie: Pastry Cream, a velvety custard infused with rich chocolate. Perfect for desserts or elegant servings with vanilla whipped cream and berries., boasting a velvety custard infused with rich chocolate essence! Versatile for various desserts or served elegantly in glasses with a dollop of fresh vanilla whipped cream and berries. And the best part? It’s a breeze to prepare!

Pictured below, we’ve filled Paté a Choux Pastry with chocolate pastry cream, coated them with French Meringue, and delicately torched the tops, resulting in delightful Hot Cocoa Cream Puffs!

Cream Puffs filled with Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream.

Crème Pâtissière, commonly known as pastry cream, has a rich history deeply rooted in French culinary tradition. It is believed to have originated in the early 19th century, evolving from various custard-like recipes prevalent in European kitchens.

The French term “Crème Pâtissière” translates to “pastry cream,” highlighting its integral role in French pastry making. Initially, pastry cream was primarily used as a filling for elaborate pastries, such as éclairs, cream puffs, and fruit tarts. Its velvety texture and delicate flavor quickly made it a staple in French pastry shops.

Enduring Legacy of Pastry Cream in Dessert Making

Over time, pastry cream became a versatile component in both classic and contemporary desserts. Its popularity spread beyond France, influencing pastry making worldwide. Today, pastry cream is celebrated not only for its taste, but also for its ability to enhance a wide range of sweet treats.

While the exact origin of Crème Pâtissière remains unclear, its enduring presence in French cuisine underscores its importance as a fundamental element in the art of pastry making.

How to Use Pastry Cream

  • Filling for éclairs, cream puffs, and profiteroles
  • Layered between cake layers
  • Filling for fruit tarts
  • Piping into cream horns or cannoli
  • Topping for desserts like pies or cobblers
  • Filling for Danish pastries or croissants
  • Layered in trifles or parfaits
  • Swirled into ice cream or gelato
  • Mixed into custard-based desserts like bread pudding or trifle
  • Component in layered desserts like tiramisu
Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream piped into glasses and topped with whipped cream and blueberries.

Understanding the Importance of Tempering Eggs in Cooking

Tempering eggs is a crucial technique in cooking that involves gradually raising the temperature of eggs by adding a hot liquid, typically while stirring constantly. This process is essential for two main reasons:

  1. Preventing Curdling: Eggs contain proteins that coagulate and solidify when exposed to heat. If eggs are added directly to a hot liquid, such as a sauce or custard base, they can curdle and form lumps or strands, resulting in an undesirable texture. Tempering eggs allows them to gradually adjust to the heat, minimizing the risk of curdling and ensuring a smooth, creamy consistency.

  2. Ensuring Even Distribution: Tempering eggs helps distribute their proteins evenly throughout the mixture, ensuring uniform thickening and flavor incorporation. By gradually introducing the hot liquid, the eggs become more fluid and easier to blend into the mixture without clumping or separating.

Overall, tempering eggs is essential for achieving smooth, creamy textures and preventing curdling in various dishes, such as custards, sauces, and soups. Mastering this technique is key to creating delicious and visually appealing culinary creations.

Cream and chocolate for Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream.

How to Temper Eggs

  1. Begin by heating the liquid component of your recipe in a saucepan until it reaches the desired temperature specified in your recipe.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks until they are well combined.
  3. Gradually add a small amount of the hot liquid to the egg yolks while whisking continuously. This process helps raise the temperature of the eggs gradually without cooking them too quickly.
  4. Continue to slowly incorporate the hot liquid into the egg yolks until about half of the hot liquid has been added. Whisk continuously to prevent the eggs from curdling.
  5. Once the eggs have been tempered, pour the egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining hot liquid.
  6. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens to the desired consistency or until it reaches the temperature specified in your recipe.
  7. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps or bits of cooked egg.
  8. Your tempered egg mixture is now ready to be used in your recipe as directed.

Why Cornstarch is Essential in Pastry Cream

Cornstarch plays a crucial role in pastry cream for several reasons. Firstly, it acts as a thickening agent, helping to give the cream its desired consistency. This thickening property ensures that the pastry cream holds its shape when piped or layered in desserts. Additionally, cornstarch helps prevent the eggs in the cream from curdling during the cooking process by stabilizing them.

It also enhances the smooth texture of the pastry cream, providing a velvety mouthfeel when eaten. Overall, cornstarch is essential for achieving the perfect texture, stability, and consistency in pastry cream, making it an indispensable ingredient in pastry-making.

Overhead shot of Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream topped with whipped cream and blueberries.
Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream in cream puffs with Swiss Meringue and red raspberries on top.

How to Store Pastry Cream: Shelf Life and Refrigeration

To properly refrigerate pastry cream, first ensure it has cooled to room temperature. Transfer it to an airtight container, covering the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming. Seal the container tightly and place it in the refrigerator. Pastry cream can typically be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.

Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream in cream puffs with Swiss Meringue and red raspberries on top.

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Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream piped into glasses and topped with whipped cream and blueberries.

This recipe yields 8 cups (1.89 liters) of Pastry Cream. If you don’t need as much, you can easily halve the recipe.

How to Make Chocolate Crème Pâtisserie Pastry Cream

Overhead shot of Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream topped with whipped cream and blueberries.

Chocolate Crème Pâtisserie Pastry Cream

A rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream, perfectly creamy custard with intense chocolate flavor! Ideal for an array of desserts or even piped into glasses and topped with fresh vanilla whipped cream and berries. 
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Chill time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 8 cups
Author: Mean Green Chef

Ingredients

  • 4 1/2 cups (1,066 ml) whole milk or cream
  • 1 Tablespoon (15 ml) pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (200 grams) sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 large egg yolks, room temperature
  • 5 Tablespoons (50 grams) cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup (76 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) Pink Himalayan sea salt or Kosher sea salt finely ground
  • 12 oz (340 grams) bittersweet chocolate
  • 4 Tablespoons (60 grams) butter

Instructions

  • Pour the milk and vanilla into a large heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. 
    Blue pot with cream for Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream.
  • While the milk and vanilla are being heated, add the sugar, eggs, egg yolks, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl.
    Egg yolks, cocoa powder, sugar and corn starch for Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream.
  • Whisk until you have a thick, smooth mixture. Set aside until the milk and vanilla come to a boil.
    Bowl with melted chocolate for Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream.
  • Once the mixture starts to boil, remove it from the heat. Slowly pour about 1/2 of the hot milk in a thin stream into the egg mix, while whisking constantly to temper the egg mixture. When the eggs have been tempered add the egg mix back into the hot milk in the saucepan. Heat the custard over medium heat while whisking vigorously until it starts to thicken about 3-5 minutes depending on the heat level.
    Heavy cream and chocolate being cooked for Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream.
  • Let the custard come to a gentle boil and release some bubbles, as soon as this happens remove from the heat and add the bittersweet chocolate chips. Whisk until completely melted. If you need to slide the saucepan back over low heat to finish melting you can do so. 
    Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream being made on the stove top.
  • Once the chocolate is melted, add the butter and whisk until it's completely melted into the custard.
    Bowl of butter for Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream.
  • Immediately pour the pastry cream into a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the top. Allow it to cool off and come to room temperature and then chill in the fridge at least 4 hours or overnight. After chilled (stir if needed) and use liberally! 
    Rich Chocolate Creme Patissiere Pastry Cream covered with a layer of plastic wrap for chilling.

Notes

  • Prep time is approximate. 
  • Store Chocolate Pastry Cream with plastic wrap to seal the top for 5 days in the fridge. 
  • This makes 8 cups of Pastry Cream, halve the recipe if you don't need as much!
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Creative Recipe Inspiration

Our Bakery Style Chocolate Cupcakes are high-top cupcakes too! Moist, delicious and and perfect for any occasion. 

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Chocolate Storm Cake is taste bud revolution! Our most popular and pinned 5-Star cake!  Chocolate Cake.

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    1. I could eat that chocolate cream straight off a spoon. It looks amazing.

      1. Definitely great right off the spoon, Erika! 😛

    2. This reminds me of filled pastries we used to buy at an Italian bakery in the neighborhood where I grew up. They were a special treat then just as this looks now. I can imagine how silky this chocolate cream must be. I’ve made a special note to keep track of this recipe for a celebration coming up soon.

      1. My Nan used to make these for the family bakery, Beth! If you loved them growing up, I’m sure you’ll enjoy our recipe too. Please be sure to share your results when you do whip some up 🙂

    3. Elizabeth says:

      It was super easy to make and super yummy in eclairs.

      1. So glad that it was super easy to make and super yummy, thanks so much Elizabeth! 🙂

    5 from 3 votes

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