Cornstarch vs. flour for baked pastry cream?

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by azenjoys, Sep 23, 2017.

  1. azenjoys

    azenjoys

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    I'm making a torta della nonna (italian tart filled with pastry cream then baked). Most of the recipes I've come across use flour to thicken the pastry cream, but my go-to pastry cream is thickened with cornstarch. I know cornstarch tends to destabilize as a thickener for sauces when frozen or boiled for too long - so does anyone know if it will it make a difference in the final product of this tart?
     
  2. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

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    I wondered the same thing a few years back and found I could sub out half and half .
    Halved the flour but cannot recall the formula on the corn starch.
    A lemon tart ... or was it bars?
    Think I added an extra yolk as well.
    Could maybe dig up the altered recipe unless it grew legs and walked when the DD was last here.
    Check the MS site as am fairly certain I got the idea from her.

    mimi
     
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  3. Pat Pat

    Pat Pat

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    Both flour and cornstarch will weep if frozen and I don't know why you would boil the pastry cream so long that it breaks down...

    Most European recipes, especially the older ones, use flour to thicken stuff. Cornstarch is used more stateside. I've never found them to be different usage-wise other than the ones made with cornstarch are a tad clearer looking.

    Remember though, that you can't just take a recipe that uses flour and then substitute in cornstarch one-to-one.
     
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  4. dectra

    dectra

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    Okay, so I ran across this article yesterday in the NYT about the ultimate compendium for Bread by Nathan Myhrvold. Four book set, that covers every historical and institutional bit of knowledge about making and baking bread. Sadly, on Amazon, it cost a whopping $560.00. In the times article, it referenced one of his associates in this endeavor, Jun Lacida.

    Seems Juan had / has a blog called the Quenelle; it has an interesting take on making a (his words) Perfect Pastry Cream. using cornstarch. For those who'd like to see his view on the subject: http://www.thequenelle.com/2009/12/perfect-pastry-cream/
     
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  5. azenjoys

    azenjoys

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    Ok, and now my afternoon is occupied... that blog is great! Thank you @dectra for the recommendation. I ended up using the Martha Stewart flour-cornstarch hybrid recipe recommended by @flipflopgirl and was pleased with the result - no weeping, good texture etc. Some day I may do a side by side flour vs. cornstarch comparison of pastry cream in a baked application, but not today :). Thank you all.
     
    dectra likes this.