Pastry Cream II

triplevanillacupcakesAs I mentioned in my last post, there are lots of recipes for pastry cream out there. I made this one as a backup, in case this recipe for pastry cream didn’t work out. Fortunately, they both turned out very well, and this one went into the triple vanilla cupcakes you see at left.

Again, timing is very important with pastry cream, and you’ll be surprised how quickly that foamy mixture thickens, becomes glossy, and teeters on the brink of being overdone. Go with your gut – if you think it’s done, it probably is, so stop stirring for just a second and see if there are large bubbles bursting on the surface – if so, it’s done!

Pastry Cream II

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preparation

Place a heatproof bowl and fine mesh sieve next to your stove.

In a medium saucepan, heat milk over medium heat until warmed and wisps of steam appear; do not allow to simmer or boil.

In a 4-cup glass measuring cup, combine sugar, flour, and salt. Add egg yolks and mix well; mixture will form a thick paste, and it can be crumbly or smooth – the most important thing is for your ingredients to be well-mixed.

Slowly pour heavy cream into egg mixture, whisking constantly, then return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat for 1-2 minutes; mixture will look foamy at first, then will become thick and glossy. Once the mixture becomes thick and glossy, remove it from the heat and whisk in vanilla extract.

Pour the pastry cream through the sieve; you’ll need to stir and press firmly to get it to pass through. Press plastic wrap on the surface and allow to set up overnight.

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Pastry Cream I

bostoncreamcupcakesPastry Cream I

Another food blogger referred to pastry cream as “the most delicious pudding you’ll ever eat.” This is quite true, I think.

There are many recipes for pastry cream, and I used this one for the Boston cream cupcakes featured in this photo. It’s very important to pay close attention while making pastry cream, because you can go from done to overdone in a matter of seconds. I find it helpful to set out all of my ingredients beforehand to avoid any delays; you’ll be very grateful that your vanilla extract is already measured out and waiting in a small prep bowl when it comes time to stir it into your pastry cream mixture, believe me.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 2 pieces
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preparation

In a medium saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally.

In a large, 4-cup glass measuring cup, mix egg yolks, sugar, and salt until well-combined. Add cornstarch and mix very well, until mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 15 seconds.

When the cream reaches a full simmer, slowly whisk it into the egg mixture, then return the mixture to the pan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, for 1-2 minutes until thick and glossy.

Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla until butter is completely melted; your mixture may look like it’s starting to separate a bit, but it will be fine.

Transfer to a bowl and press plastic wrap on the top, covering completely. Refrigerate until set; I let mine sit overnight.

Chocolate Pudding

chocolate trifleBaking sometimes takes you down a path from one treat to another because you have leftover ingredients. In most cases, you can find another use for your leftovers – those egg yolks left over from your coconut macaroons can be made into lemon curd, and the rest of the evaporated milk from your pumpkin pie can become fudge. These triple vanilla cupcakes left me with a bowl full of cupcake cores, and I immediately thought: trifle, with chocolate pudding and whipped cream.

This chocolate pudding recipe, which came from Hershey’s Kitchens, is incredibly easy to make. I chose to make miniature chocolate trifles and placed them in footed dessert bowls, which were just the perfect serving size.

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 cups milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • whipped cream and cupcake cores, if making trifles

Preparation

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt. Mix well with a fork to combine.

Slowly pour in milk, stirring constantly to combine and taking care to break up any lumps of dry ingredients.

Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture boils. Be sure to scrape the bottom of your pan regularly to prevent scorching – I use a small rubber spatula when stirring mixtures like this to really scrape the bottom well.

Once the mixture comes to a boil, continue boiling and stirring for 1 minute, then remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla until butter completely melts.

Pour into a medium-sized heatproof bowl and press plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until set and completely cold, about 4 hours.

To make the trifles, place cupcake cores in the bottom of your serving dish. Top with chocolate pudding, then whipped cream. If you’re making one large trifle, repeat for several layers to fill your dish; if you’re making single-serving trifles, just use one layer of each.

Serve immediately.