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Two Basic Pastry Cream Recipes

Pastry cream is a basic dessert component that can be used in hundreds of desserts. Eclairs are filled with pastry cream, as well as napoleons. Pastry Cream is also used in tarts, cakes, pies, and trifles.

Here are two versions of pastry cream. Cooked Pastry Cream made from scratch takes a little longer than the Shortcut Pastry Cream (below), but the following recipe is cooked in the microwave, which is not only very fast, it eliminates the possibility of scorching, eliminates the need for a double boiler, and eliminates the need for someone to stand over the stove, stirring, until the mixture finally comes to a boil. Since it contains butter, egg yolks, and cream, this filling is quite rich. You may mix it with plain unsweetened whipped heavy cream to lighten it if you like.

Basic Rich Pastry Cream


Makes about 3 cups

6 egg yolks
6 tablespoons sugar
1 pinch salt
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla

  1. Whisk yolks, sugar, and salt in microwaveable container until light in color.

  2. Gradually whisk in flour until smooth, then whisk the milk into the yolk mixture.

  3. Microwave, covered, for 3 minutes on high; whisk, then return the mixture to the microwave until it boils, stirring every minute.

  4. It should take only a minute or two.

  5. Whisk in butter and vanilla.

  6. Pour the mixture into a fine strainer set over a bowl, pressing it through.

  7. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the pastry cream and let cool thoroughly.

Amount Per Serving (about 1/2 cup)
Calories 134 Calories from Fat 82
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 61% Protein 8% Carb. 31%

Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 5 g
Cholesterol 123 mg
Sodium 40 mg
Total Carbohydrate 10 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 6 g
Protein 3 g

Vitamin A 8% Vitamin C 1% Calcium 0% Iron 2%


This no-cook pastry cream is surprisingly delicious. Instant pudding mix has improved significantly over the years, and when mixed with unsweetened heavy whipped cream, makes a quick and easy filling. This is actually my favorite filling for eclairs.

Shortcut Pastry Cream


Makes about 6 cups

1 6 oz. package instant vanilla pudding
3 cups milk

2 cups heavy whipping cream
  1. In the blender, mix the vanilla pudding and milk; blend on low, scrape the sides, then blend on high until smooth.

  2. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until set.

  3. Whip the cream until stiff; fold into the vanilla pudding.

Amount Per Serving (1/2 cup)
Calories 178 Calories from Fat 151
Percent Total Calories From: Fat 85% Protein 6% Carb. 9%

Nutrient Amount per Serving
Total Fat 17 g
Saturated Fat 10 g
Cholesterol 63 mg
Sodium 45 mg
Total Carbohydrate 4 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 0 g
Protein 3 g

Vitamin A 13% Vitamin C 1% Calcium 0% Iron 0%






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