Chocolaty, creamy, smooth, and rich this Chocolate Italian Pastry Cream is the best filling for crostata, pastries, cakes, and more! Easy and 100% delicious.

Crema pasticcera al ciocolato, chocolate Italian pastry cream, is one of the standard and most common ingredients used in Italian pastries and cakes. It’s the creamy, custardy filling in common Italian tarts, layer cakes, and pastries. Once you make this you will be hooked!

You can make this chocolate version, or the original vanilla recipe with a hint of lemon- Italian Pastry Cream

Simple Ingredients

  • 4 medium egg yolks
  • Granulated sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Dark chocolate, broken into chunks or small pieces 
  • Milk
  • Vanilla bean (scrape the inside of a vanilla bean pod) you can also use 1 tsp of good quality pure vanilla extract
Italian chocolate pastry cream in a bowl with ingredients displayed

What is Italian Pastry Cream (crema pasticcera)

Crema pasticcera, pastry cream, is one of the basic ingredients used in many Italian pastries and cakes. It’s the creamy, custardy filling in tarts, layer cakes, or pastries such as millefoglie; it’s also the cream filling you find in morning pastries such as cornetti (Italian-style croissants). Crema pasticcera is not difficult to make, though it does require care and attention so that it doesn’t curdle. 

Tips to create the perfect Italian Pastry Cream:

All it takes is a few fresh ingredients and the right method to make this delicious crema pasticcera. Crema pasticcera is not difficult to make, though it does require care and attention so that it doesn’t curdle. 

  • Room temperature eggs
  • High quality eggs and only use the egg yolk
  • Whip egg yolks and sugar until thick and creamy using electric mixer
  • Whole Milk
  • Corn starch instead of flour (makes it even lighter!)
  • Stir the cream constantly while it is cooking
  • Follow the instruction in the recipe exactly and you will achieve a great cream!

The result must be a smooth, shiny cream, with a balanced firmness and the flavor must not recall the cooked egg. Chocolate Italian Pastry Cream is flavored with vanilla and good quality chocolate to give it a rich chocolaty taste.

If you need a new electric mixer BUY THIS ONE

When making custard in a sauce pan I recommend using a FLAT WHISK. Use a flat whisk for whisking sauces, like roux or gravy. It’s also good for custards and dishes that require frequent stirring. BUY THIS ONE.

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Why Italian Cream is different than Custard…

The two are very similar with only a few differences. Pastry cream is thicker than custard because there’s more starch inside and it is better for tarts and fillings. Pastry cream can easily be enjoyed by the spoonful or with a side biscotti. Custard cream, which in Italy called “Crema Inglese”, is often served hot and it’s more runny than Italian Pastry Cream.

Ways to Enjoy this Chocolate Italian Pastry Cream:

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From my Table to your Cucina. Made with Amore, Elena

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Chocolate Italian Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera al ciocolato)

  • Author: Elena Davis
  • Prep Time: 5 min
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 46 servings 1x
  • Category: Sweet
  • Method: Italian
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Chocolaty, creamy, smooth, and rich this Chocolate Italian Pastry Cream is the best filling for crostata, pastries, cakes, and more! Easy and 100% delicious


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 4 medium egg yolks (yolks ONLY)
  • 80 g (2/3 Cup) of granulated sugar
  • 40 g (1/3 Cup) of cornstarch
  • 3.5 oz (100 gr) dark chocolate, broken into chunks or small pieces
  • 1/2 liter (2 Cups) of whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla bean (scrape the inside of a vanilla bean pod) you can also use 1 tsp of good quality pure vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. In a medium mixing bowl whip the egg yolks and sugar with an electric mixer until light and foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the corn starch and mix again for 1-2  minutes until smooth and combined.
  2.  In a sauce pan heat the milk on low heat. Add vanilla bean (or extract). Stir to combine. Now, turn heat to medium and heat milk until a soft boil (little bubbles on the sides and steam starts to form). When the milk is hot, remove from heat. Using a whisk- start adding the beaten egg, sugar, and cornstarch mixture, a little at a time into the milk. It’s very important to stir constantly until you achieve a unified mixture.
  3. Put the saucepan back on low heat and continue whisking. Simmer for about 3-4 minutes until the cream begins to thicken. It’s very important that the cream NEVER BOILS. In this way you have a smooth cream without lumps and without chunks of cooked egg. If you have a cooking thermometer you can check that the temperature never exceeds 85°C (185 F). Otherwise, as soon as you see that bubbles begin to form in the cream, lower the heat. You can even remove it from the heat for a few seconds and put it back. This step is the only difficult step in the Pastry Cream recipe.
  4. Keep cooking on very low heat until cream is thickened. When the cream is well thickened (it will stick to the back of a spoon and not drip off), remove from heat and add the chocolate. Stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth with the cream. Immediately pour it into a cold glass container. Important to remove the cream immediately from hot saucepan to prevent it from cooking longer.
  5. While cooling, cover the cream with plastic wrap. Keep it in contact with the cream. This step is to avoid forming a skin on the cream surface. Refrigerate at least 3 hours for it to set.

Notes

The chocolate pastry cream will keep in the fridge for up to one week in an air tight container.

Keywords: chocolate, pastry cream, cream, custard, Italian custard, crema