Pastry Cream

I have recently become intrigued with different flavors of pastry cream. It is a very useful canvass for desserts. Once you make the base pastry cream, you can really add all sorts of things.

Possible desserts using pastry cream:
  • pipe into dessert cups or wine glasses with whipped cream, or between layers of flavored gelatin
  • pipe into choux pastry (like eclairs, cream puffs etc.)
  • use as filling for cake or cupcakes, or between layers of petit fours
  • as filling for roll cake
  • as dollops on top of other desserts, like pie
Possible add-ins to pastry cream (whisk into finished pastry cream):
  • crushed berries
  • pumpkin or sweet squash puree (like kabocha or butternut squash), with ground spices (cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg)
  • maple syrup
  • peanut butter, almond butter (?) probably use in small quantities. You could try tahini, but I'm not sure how that would taste.
  • cocoa powder
  • extracts (coconut, vanilla etc.)
  • grated coconut, coconut milk and coconut extract- grated coconut will affect the texture of the pastry cream, but in the right setting this would be good
  • matcha powder (high quality Japanese green tea powder- bright green)
  • citrus (lemon, orange or lime) zest with honey
  • ginger- either ground ginger, or finely grated fresh ginger (I like the microplane graters for this kind of work)
Experimental add-ins:
  • liquers like baileys irish cream, kahlua, grand marnier, brandy etc. (?) Not sure if this will work yet, sometimes alcohol will curdle milk products, so this is an experimental idea
  • juice concentrate (cranberry, pomegranite etc.) (?) also an experimental idea, need to check the acidity of the juice with milk products to avoid curdling the cream.
  • sweetened condensed milk- another experimental idea, perhaps reduce the amount of cream in the original recipe and replace with sweetened condensed milk (?)
Possible flavorings to infuse the cream (simmer half and half with these items, then strain and use for the recipe below):
  • chai tea spices (see chai tea recipe)
  • any sort of tea leaf- earl grey, sencha/green tea, black tea, or Japanese specialty teas like Houjicha, Genmaicha etc. This makes a "milk tea" kind of concept like my milk tea cupcakes, or earl grey puddings.
  • melted bittersweet chocolate
Pastry Cream
This goes fast, so be prepared to watch and stir this from start to end, no checking email while this is on the stove!

Warm over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally:
2 C half & half
6 TB sugar
pinch of salt

While that is warming, whisk 5 egg yolks in medium bowl until combined. Add 2TB sugar and whisk until sugar is dissolving, mixture will be creamy. Now whisk in 3 TB cornstarch, whisk until combined and thick.

When half and half is simmering, gradually whisk some half and half into the egg bowl and stir to temper the eggs (brings the temp of eggs up slowly, instead of cooking the eggs). Then pour from the egg bowl back into the cream pan on the stove. Return to a simmer over medium heat, whisk constantly for about 30 seconds. When the cream is glossy and thickened, remove from heat.

Whisk in:
4 TB cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1.5 tea vanilla

Strain the pastry cream. Cover with plastic wrap and either refrigerate until cold or stick in the freezer to speed up the process- just don't let it freeze.


What you can do with left over cooked potato

Had some ideas for what to do with leftover cooked potatoes:

Aloo Parathas: potato and spice stuffed paratha
potato popovers
Potato bread
Potato salad
Fry up with spices in a skillet


From the directions that came with my popover pan (or follow recipe on pg 631-632 in Joy Of Cooking 1975 edition).

Preheat over to 400 F.

Blend popover batter:
1.25 C flour (I use a blend of all purpose and whole wheat pastry flours, roughly half and half)
1/4 tea salt
3 eggs
1.25 C milk
1 TB butter, melted

Preheat popover pan in over for 2 minutes.

Use 2TB of butter pats to put in hot popover pan, then add popover batter. You could alternatively grease the pan .

Fill popover cups half-full with batter, bake at 400 F for 20 minutes. Then reduce oven temp to 300 F and bake another 20 minutes.


紅茶プリン Earl Grey Pudding

I didn't know I liked pudding/custard/flan until I traveled to Japan. This is about the only Mexican food readily available in Japan, and it is called "purin" (sorta sounds like pudding).

At a wonderful Japanese restaurant, I discovered Earl Grey Purin and fell in love. Silky milky texture, with a strong earl grey tea flavor. The restaurant floated a teaspoon of milk/cream on top, which was a really nice way to showcase the dessert, and hide any ugly skins that had formed.

I found a base recipe here, and didn't change much. You could really use any kind of tea, or even an infusion of spices (why not a chai tea pudding?).

Simmer over low for 5-10 minutes, until the milk turns the color of the tea:
1 C 2% milk 1 C half & half 3 TB loose tea leaves, earl grey and black tea or use other teas, you can cut open tea bags if need be

Dissolve 5.5 TB of sugar into the milk, stir.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 F. Set up 4 ramekins or oven proof containers into a large pan for the water bath. Set aside.

Crack open eggs and blend with hand mixer until homogenous in texture, but not very bubbly:
4 egg yolks* (use the 4 leftover whites for merengue, pavlova, quiche, omlettes etc.)
2 full eggs
*You could probably get away with only using 3 egg yolks, I'll try that next time.

Take the milk mixture off heat. Strain through fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. You may need to re-strain in order to remove more of the tea grits, or use a coffee filter in addition to the strainer.

Whisk a little bit of the milk into the eggs, mix to temper. Then pour the eggs into the rest of the milk and stir.

Pour pudding into ramekins. Carefully fill the pan with a little bit of water and put the pan in the preheated 325 oven. Once in the oven, pour a little more water into the outside container, up to around where the pudding sits inside the ramekins, close up oven. Let bake 40 - 45 minutes until pudding is set.

Cool and store pudding in fridge 1 hour or more. Serve with a teaspoon of cream on top!