Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Caramel Pastry Cream

It’s a basic every cook should know.

Caramel Pastry Cream
Printable Recipe

6 ounces sugar
¼ cup water
2 cups milk
1 ¼ ounces cornstarch
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
½ ounce unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine 5 ounces of the sugar and the water in a small, heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, brush down the sides of the pan with water, and boil for 8 to 10 minutes, or until caramelized. The sugar will be fragrant and a deep amber color when it is caramelized. Remove the pan from the heat and dip the bottom into an ice water bath for a second or two. Slowly stir in the milk. Return the pan to low heat and stir until smooth. Increase the heat to medium and heat to a simmer.

Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and remaining 1 ounce of sugar in a medium bowl. Whisk in the egg and yolks. Continue whisking while adding the hot caramel mixture in a thin stream. Transfer the mixture back to the saucepan and cook, whisking constantly, over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until it thickens and just comes to a boil. Immediately strain through a fine mesh sieve into a clean bowl and stir in the butter and vanilla. Press plastic wrap directly onto the surface and refrigerate.

Makes about 2 ½ cups. A delicious alternative to the usual vanilla pastry cream—try it in cream puffs, éclairs, Napoleons, tarts, or between cake layers. For a light-as-air filling, fold in some whipped cream. Keeps for several days in the refrigerator. The plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface of the pastry cream will prevent a skin from forming.


Kelly said...

Oh my goodness gracious. I'd like to dive head first into that bowl of caramel-y goodness. I NEED to put this on my To Bake list. I'm seeing cupcakes with a surprise inside... or a decadent layer cake... or... ah, the possibilities.

Thank you! p.s. found this on Foodgawker and have bookmarked your site. :)

Jennifer said...

I am saving this! How wonderful to put between a cake or cookie sandwich! YUM!

Thank you :)

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Oh, yum, I'm with Kelly. Initially I thought I'd love to stick my spoon in and take a taste but forget that diving in sounds about right! LOL!

Thanks for the recipe!

Suzy said...

What a bowl of yumminess! I'm certainly going to file this one away. I can think of several excellent uses for your beautiful creation.

test it comm said...

Caramel pastry cream sounds so good!

Gaia said...

That looks fabulous! I'm making caramel eclairs with this recipe!

The Quirky Bakehouse said...

Absolutely fabulous......im so thrilled about this recipe! Very scrumptious x x

The Quirky Bakehouse said...

What a fabulous recipe!! Im giving this a whirl as i type! Thank you x x

Camille said...

Tried this recipe and couldn't get my creme near that dark, did you add dye (the french chefs I worked with sometimes did)? Or maybe browned the butter? Or maybe your caramel was just really dark? Or possibly something got lost when I converted ounces to grams....(highest posibility) anyways, it was delicious!

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

I didn't use any coloring, I just cooked my caramel until it was quite dark.

plasterers bristol said...

these sound amazing! And quite simple to make, thanks for sharing this recipe.


Anonymous said...

Great recipe, made it, came out perfect, used it to fill macarons. Also lightened it up with whipped cream for a cake filling. Thanks!

Julie said...

This recipe turned to candy the Both times I tried, and I followed your directions, exactly. Very disappointing.

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

Did the caramel solidify when the milk was added? If so, you’re probably cooling the pan of caramel in the ice water bath too much. Just touch the bottom of the pan to the surface of the ice bath for no longer than a moment. You can also try using warm milk. I hope this helps, but if the caramel seizes up again the solution is to simply stir the milk and caramel together over medium-low heat for a few minutes until the caramel melts.

Indraja said...

how many ml is in 1 cup?

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

A cup is approximately 237 milliliters.

Unknown said...

I tried this and the sugar went n from white, to Amber... I immediately took it off, but smelled burnt... I'm not sure what went wrong. Any tips?

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

The sugar is ready when it is a deep amber color, or a candy thermometer registers about 335˚F. Keep in mind that caramel can go from perfect to burned in a matter of seconds. So when it is done, you must be ready to stop the cooking immediately. Dip the bottom of the saucepan into an ice water bath for a moment to avoid carry-over cooking. I hope this helps. For more tips on cooking caramel, please see my first cookbook.

Unknown said...

I tried this twice last night. Failed both times! It's tricky! The first time, it was a nice feel color like shown (boiled sugar on highest heat setting for about 7 minutes). But it was definitely burned. Finished the recipe to make sure, but tasted awful. Second time I boiled the sugar for 5 minutes, at which time the sugar was a chunky sticky mess solid with liquid. The end result was ivory in color, and tasted similar to regular pastry cream. I must need to find a happy medium for cook time. I used a dark color (non-stick Analon) pan so it's hard to see color. I'll maybe try using a thermometer to 335° as you suggested.

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

You can test the caramel for doneness by periodically putting a drop on a white plate. That will help you see the color clearly.

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