Crema Pasticcera - Italian Pastry Cream Recipe

Crema Pasticcera - Italian Pastry Cream Recipe

This is the basic Italian pastry cream used for Zuppa Englese or St. Joseph Day pastries.

Crema Pasticcera
Italian Pastry Cream Recipe


  • 5 Tbs sugar
  • 5 egg yolks*
  • 5 Tbs flour
  • 2 3/4 cups milk (whole)
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh lemon zest
  • 1 1/4 tsp vanilla


  1. Place sugar, egg yolks, and flour in a sauce pan and mix together until the sugar is dissolved. (This is easier when the eggs are room temperature.)
  2. In a separate sauce pan, scald the milk (it will have formed a skin on top, but isn't yet boiling).
  3. Place the pot with the egg-sugar mixture over a medium heat.
  4. Very slowly pour milk over egg yolk mixture, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  5. Cooking until the mixture just reaches the boiling point.
  6. Add the vanilla and lemon zest.
  7. Lower the heat and continue cooking for about 4 minutes, stirring constantly.
  8. The crema should be thick and similar to pudding.
  9. Remove pan from heat.
  10. Place a piece of wax paper on the surface of the crema to prevent a skin from forming.
  11. Allow it to cool to room temperature. This will take at least 3-4 hours.

*--Save the egg whites to make meringues or souffl├ęs. I put a small, resealable bag in a cup and add the whites during the separation process. Use a permanent marker to indicate how many egg whites are in the bag. Freeze the whites for up to one year.

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