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This Chocolate Pastry Cream is silky, creamy goodness! Perfect consistency, taste, and texture. Super creamy but light, not overly sweet, but just the right amount. And the chocolate flavor is the perfect option to switch from the Classic Vanilla Pastry Cream.
What is Pastry Cream?
Pastry Cream or also called Creme Patissiere, is a custard type of cream made of milk, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, and butter. There can be different flavors made with it, but Vanilla is the most popular. The way you make a pastry cream is by combining eggs, sugar, and cornstarch. Tempering them with hot milk, and cook it over the stovetop till it thickens. Finishing it by mixing in some butter for extra creaminess, flavor, and luster.
Where to Use Pastry Cream?
Pastry Cream can be used in many desserts. From eclairs, profiteroles/cream puffs to different types of cakes, tarts, doughnut filling, and puddings. The options are endless.
As a chocolate lover, I had to make Chocolate Pastry Cream. But there are few more flavors that I also really like, Coffee Pastry Cream, Dulce De Leche Pastry Cream, Citrus Pastry Cream, just to name a few.
Making a Pastry Cream is pretty easy, you just have to be careful not to cook the eggs when adding the hot liquid. The rest is straightforward and easy to do. Ok, let me walk you through the process.
Why tempering is important and how to do it?
Tempering is needed when you have two ingredients with different temperatures, hot and cold. In this case, we have eggs, although it doesn’t matter if the eggs are cold or room temperature, we still need to temper them because of the nature of the eggs. They will cook or curdle when hot is added to them.
How can we temper eggs? It’s easy. In the bowl with the eggs add a little bit of the hot liquid, while whisking vigorously. This way by whisking the eggs the temperature is risen slowly preventing them from cooking. Once this is done and the eggs haven’t curdled you can add the rest of the hot liquid, at this point the eggs are at a safe temperature level.
How to Make Chocolate Pastry Cream?
The only difference in this recipe from the Classic Vanilla Pastry Cream is the addition of chocolate. You can use cacao powder or chocolate pieces. If using cacao powder you will add it with the egg mixture, but if you are using chocolate, then you will add it at the end when adding the butter.
- First, add the milk and the seeds of a vanilla bean or both (seeds and pod) to a saucepan. Let it cook on medium heat.
*Note: I usually add only the seeds, because I like to use the vanilla pod to make vanilla extract. If you don’t have a fresh vanilla pod, you can substitute vanilla powder, vanilla paste, or vanilla extract. And, if you are using vanilla extract don’t add it to the milk, but rather add it after you combine the milk with the egg mixture.
- Meanwhile combine the sugar, egg yolks, corn starch, salt, and cacao powder in a separate bowl. The consistency will be thick but don’t worry once you add the milk it will all mix nicely. I suggest sifting the cacao powder since it tends to have clumps, which can affect the texture of the pastry cream.
- As soon as the milk starts to boil take it off the stove and temper the eggs by pouring just a little bit into the egg mixture as you whisk at the same time. Make sure the bowl with the eggs has a towel underneath or something to prevent it from sliding while you are whisking and pouring the milk at the same time. It takes just a few seconds, if you don’t see any eggs curdling then you are good to go.
- Add the rest of the milk and transfer it back to the stovetop. Whisk constantly for 2-5min, till the mixture has thickened.
- Take it off the stove, add the chocolate pieces if using instead of cacao powder, mix them till melted, and add the butter. Mix till smooth.
- Cover with plastic by touching directly the surface of the cream. This will prevent it from developing skin. Refrigerate until cool. As it cools it will thicken even more.
And here you have it, delicious, creamy, chocolaty pastry cream! You can use it to make this super amazing Eclairs Recipe for example.
Chocolate Pastry Cream
- Mixing Bowls
- Silicone Spatula
- 480 g Whole Milk 2 cups
- 1 Vanilla bean seeds (pod is optional) or 1 t – vanilla powder, vanilla paste, vanilla extract
- 3 Egg Yolks
- 90 g Sugar 6 tbsp
- 2 tbsp Corn starch 20g
- 25 g Cacao Powder 1/4 cup
- 1/4 t Salt
- 2-3 tbsp Butter 30-40g
- In a saucepan heat up the milk and vanilla seeds, powder, or paste. If using vanilla extract add it at the end when adding the butter.
- Meanwhile combine egg yolks, sugar, corn starch, salt, and cacao powder. Mix it all together. It will be pretty thick, but that's ok, ones you add the milk it will be easier to stir.
- As soon as the milk comes to a boil, remove it from the stove and add just a bit to the egg mixture, while whisking at the same time. Keep the bowl sturdy on a towel or surface where it won't move while you pouring and whisking at the same time.
- Once the eggs are tempered (read the notes above for more info), add the rest of the milk. Transfer back to the stovetop and whisk constantly on medium heat for about 2-5min. It will thicken pretty fast, so don't leave it and walk away!
- When the mixture has thickened take it off the stove and add chocolate pieces if using insted of cacao powder. Mix till melted. Add the vanilla extract if using.
- And finally, add the butter. Mix well till creamy and smooth.
- Cover with plastic by placing it right at the surface of the cream. This way the cream won't develop skin when cooling.
- Transfer to the fridge to chill. Use as needed.