Crema pasticcera, Italian pastry cream, is smooth, rich, and irresistible! Only 6 ingredients and easy to make! It is one of the most common ingredients used in Italian pastries, donuts, crostata' s, and cakes.
- Egg yolks
- Granulated sugar
- Whole milk
- Vanilla bean (scrape the inside of a vanilla bean pod) you can also use 1 teaspoon of good quality pure vanilla extract
- Lemon zest
Variation: add orange zest
What is Italian Pastry Cream (crema pasticcera)?
This cream is the well known and loved creamy smooth custard cream filling used in bakeries and homes across Italy. Bring a taste of Italy in your kitchen with this authentic Italian cream recipe. You can use this recipe for a variety of delicious dessert options!
You will find this Italian pastry cream recipe in morning pastries such as cornetti (Italian-style croissants- my absolute favorite!).
Here is one of my favorite recipes with this delectable cream filling: Italian Crumble Cake Pastry Cream Filling (this would make a great Mother's Day, or any other day, dessert ).
Tips to Make 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
- Cover with plastic to touch the cream so it doesn't develop a "skin" on top
- 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. Italian Pastry Cream is flavored with vanilla, often with lemon or orange zest, depending on your taste or the dessert recipe you want to make.
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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.
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.
Italian Cream Love Story
I eat this cream by the spoonful. It is light, creamy, and not too sweet. Whenever I taste it I am transported to the Italian bakeries and coffee shops where there is a variety of pastries (doughnuts, puff pastry, and tarts) filled with this delicate creamy filling. It’s a nostalgic taste since I’ve yet to taste a similar custard in an American dessert. Once you try this cream you will find it easy to LOVE and addictive to EAT.
Ways to Enjoy this Italian Pastry Cream:
- Put it in these Puff Pastries
- Serve with berries and a dollop of whipped cream
- As a topping for crepes, waffles, or pancakes
- Serve with Brioche Bun Recipe (Italian Style)
- Blind bake a pie crust and make chocolate pie: Ultimate All Butter Pie Crust or Easy Tried and True Crisco Pie Crust
- Use as a filling for cake such as: Italian Crumble Cake Pastry Cream Filling
Or, if you are like me, you will just eat it by the spoonful :).
The Crema Pasticcera will keep well in the fridge for up to 4-5 days.
t's important to keep it covered either in a bowl with plastic wrap or in a sealed container so a skin doesn't form on top.
If you notice a skin has formed simply scrape it off the top to remove it, if you mix it in you'll end up with lumps.
Pastry cream can easily split and curdle when frozen so I don't recommend freezing.
Mangia! Mangia! (Eat!)
Made with Amore,
More Delicious SWEET Recipes for YOU
Enjoy a taste of Italy in your kitchen with this Italian Pastry Cream (Crema Pasticcera Recipe)Print
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, and pastries; it's also the cream filling you find in morning pastries such as cornetti (Italian-style croissants- my absolute favorite!). Here is one of my favorite recipes to enjoy this crema:
Italian Crumble Cake Pastry Cream Filling (this would make a great Mother's Day dessert or Sunday dessert)
- 4 medium egg yolks
- 80 g (⅔ Cup) of granulated sugar
- 40 g (⅓ Cup) of cornstarch
- ½ liter (2 Cups) of whole milk
- ½ teaspoon of vanilla bean (scrape the inside of a vanilla bean pod) you can also use 1 teaspoon of good quality pure vanilla extract
- zest of half lemon
- 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.
- In a sauce pan heat the milk on low heat. Add lemon zest and 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.
- 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.
- 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), immediately pour it into a cold glass container. Important to remove the cream immediately from hot saucepan to prevent it from cooking longer. 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.
Crema will keep in the fridge for up to one week in an air tight container.
Keywords: pastry cream, Italian dessert, crema pasticcera, Italian custard, custard, cream recipe, dessert recipe, sweet recipe, Italian crema