Pastry Cream


jill stilson

I need help with my pastry cream, everytime I make it, it breaks!  Thickness is fine, taste is good, texture is the pits.  I used a heavy pot on med to med-low heat, brought the milk, sugar, & flour to a bubbly roll to slightly thicken, (not scourched) added the milk to the yolks s-l-o-w-l-y, returned to heat again med to med-low, and as it's thickening it's breaking. 

Does anyone have something I can use.

jill stilson

This is what I used,

3/4 c sugar

3T  flour

3 c milk

4 egg yolks

1 T butter

1 1/2 t vanilla

In heavy sauce pan heat sugar, flour, & milk over med heat until bubbly.  Stir and cook 2 more minutes. Remove from heat, cool slightly.

Mix 1 c milk mixture slowly with beaten egg yolks than slowly add to remaining milk mixture mixing all the while. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat continue cooking 2 minutes, remove from heat.

Add butter and vanilla to egg mixture pour into bowl, cover with plastic wrap and chill 4 hours or overnight.
Joined Sep 18, 2008
For me, your ratios are a little bit off from what I'm used to and I mix the flour into the yolk/sugar mixture rather than the milk/cream. Here's how I do it:

I use a little higher ratio of yolks to milk/cream, right at four large yolks per cup of milk/cream, about 1/4 cup of sugar per cup of milk/cream, and 1/4 cup of flour per cup of milk/cream

I heat the milk/cream to 180°F or so, generally with a vanilla bean, and meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until pale yellow and thickened, then whisk the flour into the yolk/sugar mixture. Also, 1-2 tablespoons of soft butter per cup of milk/cream

While whisking, temper with about 1/2 of the milk/cream drizzled into the yolk/sugar/flour mixture, then whisk that mixture into the remaining milk/cream in the saucepan and bring to a boil when it will thicken, whisking continuously to avoid scorching. When thick, remove from heat and, after cooling slightly, whisk in the butter and vanilla if you didn't use the vanilla bean.
Joined Oct 9, 2008
I've never heard of this milk/flour/sugar mixture. I've always seen it egg/sugar on the one hand, everything else on the other. Exactly as Pete says, in fact. So I wonder whether it's the ratios at all: the technique looks very weird to me.
Joined Aug 13, 2006
I'd guess the problem is the technique.  Some techniques are just asking for trouble, like adding hot liquid to eggs, or adding flour or polenta or any other form of flour to hot liquid. 

Try beating egg with the flour and sugar, heat the milk separately, beat the milk into the egg mixture and heat slowly, stirring, or to be even more certain, beat the cold milk into the egg mixture. The sugar kind of stretches out the egg (i don't have the science but this is my impression) so it doesn't immediately cook into scrambled eggs or egg-lemon soup.  However, i find that if i put cold  milk in, i'm less likely to stand there stirring the darn thing till it cooks since i just don't have the patience and if i'm making a desert it's likely i have a whole dinner going on the fire - and leaving it is inviting disaster.  So i heat the milk, saving me time later.  I beat it into the egg/sugar/flour mixture slowly. Cook it stirring, and stop when it's thick enough - easy to let it cook too much.  The flour should prevent any splitting. 
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Joined Sep 10, 2010
I stumbled upon while looking for some hints regarding making fruit tartlets.  I'm still struggling with the shells, but the pastry cream came out amazing.  Thank you Jill for raising the question and thank you Chef Pete for delivering the answer.

jill stilson

Thank-you for your answer, I will try your suggestions in the morning. It sounds like it will work much better than what I was using. Again Thank-you very meuch
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