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How do you make really thick cream filling?

I'm trying to make a really thick cream filling to spread on top of lemon bars but I can't seem to figure it out. Is there an ingrediant I should be using to make it thick and dense? If I go into french pastry shops and they have layered fruit bars usually the cream layers are very dense and wonderful.

Right now, I use heavy whipping cream, 1/2 tbsp of vanilla and 3 tbls of powdered sugar... this is what my grandma did and I decided to just beat the heck out of it but what happens is even though it gets stiff, the next day in the frig, it starts to separate and water down.

I'm hoping someone here knows the trick... Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving.

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  1. What you want is a recipe for pastry cream. It is a cooked custard and often used in those French pasteries and cream puffs, eclairs etc. You can Google up a bunch of recipes and most extensive cookbooks will have a recipe too.

    1. Thanks Candy, however the pastry cream I am finding when I google is yellow because it involves egg yokes and it looks more like pudding. This is not what I am looking for.

      It's hard to describe I guess. It's white, just like whipped cream, it's dense but not quite as butter cream or frosting. And it doesn't separate. When I buy pastries with this cream on it it doesn't appear that it would ever be boiled or heated like the pastry creams I googled need.

      I'm just thinking there is a thickening agent to add that will NOT make the tenxture gritty. I tried using flour once and it made the whip cream gritty on the tongue. If you know what i am talking about and know of a link, please post it..

      Also, if you are aware if The Cheesecake Factory, their whip cream is dense and thick. How is that done?

      Thank you!

      1 Reply
      1. re: sweetface9999

        I agree with Candy. I did google "creme patisserie" (or "pastry cream") and the photos do make it look more yellow than it turns out when I make it. This really is what French pastry shops use in fruit tarts. It is related to Creme Anglaise which is the thinner version and creme brulee which is baked and finished with a caramelized topping. You can lighten Creme Patisserie with whipped cream for eclairs or profiteroles.
        Great thing to have in your repetoire because you can do so many things with it.
        Give this a try and see if it works.
        I hate to admit it, but in a pinch and when I've been in a super hurry, I've even used commercial vanilla pudding with a touch of flavoring or a little whipped cream.
        Cheesecake Factory probably uses chemical stabilizers. Could be half CoolWhip for all we know...

      2. There is a thickening agent for whipped cream, called Oketer's Whip-It, which is available in most grocery stores.

        You can also stablize with gelatin or corn starch.

        Here's a link to a couple of prior thread with more info:



        Good luck!

        2 Replies
        1. re: DanaB

          Whip-It does not thicken whipped cream. It stablizes it so it will hold longer. I'm going to be whipping my chream for this evening in a bit and will use Whip-It because it will have to hold for a few hours.

          1. re: Candy

            I used Whip-it for the first time yesterday. I whipped a lot of cream, planning to use half combined w/ pastry cream as a filling for eclairs, and the other half as a topping for angel food cake.

            Maybe I got distracted, but the cream whipped up to a super-whipped state in no time. Worked fine for the pastry cream (although it took a long time to fold in), but it was way past the nice creamy stage and could not be used for topping.

            So I'm thinking Whip-it possibly shortens the whip time. Beware.

        2. you could try cream cheese. i see it in some recipes for this purpose.

          1. I read a post here to add mascarpone cheese, or vanilla pudding mix.. The cheese, if not too strong of a cheese sounds like it will add density. If anyone has idea's, let me know. I'm thinking the really stiff, dense cream has chemicals to make it that way possibly...

            1. Usually some kind of sweet cheese is used to get a thick, creamy filling. Check Italian pastry recipes. Just using cream will give you a light filling.

              1. I personally prefer half pastry cream/half whipped cream. It has the creaminess of pc while having the taste, whiteness, and lightness of wc.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Becca Porter

                  Exactly what I was going to suggest. Here's my recipe for vanilla cream pie filling - which consists of half whipped cream and half vanilla custard. You may not need the full recipe - adjust accordingly.

                  2 cups milk
                  3 eggs
                  2/3 cup granulated sugar
                  3 tbsp. cornstarch
                  2 tbsp. all purpose flour
                  2 tbsp. butter
                  1 tsp. vanilla
                  1 cup whipping cream
                  2 tbsp. sugar

                  In the container of a blender combine the milk, eggs, 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Blend until smooth, then pour into a medium-size heavy saucepan. Cook, stirring almost constantly with a whisk, over medium-low heat until the mixture becomes thick and smooth - 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla, whisking until smooth. Cover the surface of the hot custard with a layer of plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour or two until completely cool.

                  With an electric mixer, beat the whipping cream with the 2 tbsp. of sugar until stiff. Peel off the plastic wrap off the custard and briefly beat it with the mixer so that it is smooth and creamy. Gently fold half of the whipped cream into the custard. Smooth the top with a spatula, then carefully spread the remaining whipped cream over the custard and use in any way you see fit.

                  Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving to allow the custard to set.

                  Makes enough to fill one 9-inch (23 cm) pie shell.

                2. sweetface9999-- please let us know if you figure this out, I'd be interested also. To me, and I'm just guessing, a lemon bar would have cream cheese in the topping as at least one of the ingredients. Maybe with sour cream too? This would be white, without the eggs that you said previously you don't want.

                  1. You can make your own stabilized whipped cream using unflavored gelatin. I think that's all you're looking for. I use this to frost sponge cakes with a layer of fruit and cream in the middle.

                    2 tsp unflavored gelatin
                    8 tsp cold water
                    2 c heavy whipping cream (very cold)
                    1/2 c confectioners' sugar
                    1 tsp clear vanilla extract

                    Combine gelatin and cold water in small saucepan. Let stand until thick. Place over low heat, stirring constantly just until gelatin dissolves.
                    Remove from heat and cool slightly. Whip cream, sugar and vanilla until slightly thickened. While beating slowly, gradually add gelatin to whipped cream mixture. Whip at high speed until stiff. Yield: 4 cups

                    Cakes iced with whipped cream must be kept refrigerated.
                    (This is the commercial recipe used by bakeries).

                    1. I found it... It was Mascarpone Cheese, which is really cream. It's better than cream fraise which I had also tried which was more like thick sour cream. The Mascarpone was it.

                      Thanks all!

                      1. I see this is years later, but my French friend told me that they mix heavy cream with mascarpone cheese( which is really not cheese it's triple cream) together. It stays white and doesn't separate. I had it in a macaroon (macaron) it was so exquisite I'll never forget the taste. I wonder if you'll see this bc it's been awhile.

                        1. yes mascarpone and whipped cream r my favourite topping, i normally use the same amount of cream and mascarpone (like 1 cup of each)

                          1. What I do, and I double checked as well. I whip the cream once and place it in the refrigerator.
                            After an hour some milk will separate out. I then skim the cream off this and whip it again with a little vanilla and sugar. This then thickens up nicely. I got this tip from a book written by Louis Diat, French Cooking for Americans. 1946.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: fhetheri

                              Interesting - I'll have to give this a try.

                            2. I also have been searching for this. Everyone tells me it's 'pastry cream' but every picture/recipe I've seen for pastry cream is MUCH too gelatinous and custardy and yellow.
                              I want the WHITE cream that is on top of the gorgeous french pastries sold at Zov's. It's usually swirled like whipped cream on top of their chocolate mousse, or their tarts, or their individual cakes. It tastes just like whipped cream and look likes it too but its thicker, denser, and a little dryer than whipped cream.
                              I dont want anything custard-y. I want something just like the white cream in the attached photo. Please let me know if you figure this out!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: maymcd

                                Try this... This is the white fluffy cream that fills whoopie pies. Not too sweet.
                                In a small saucepan, whisk together:
                                3 Tbsp flour
                                pinch of salt
                                1 cup milk
                                Heat on med hi and stir til thickened- about 5-7 mins.
                                Remove from heat. Transfer to shallow bowl- cover and chill til completely cooled.

                                Meanwhile, beat 1/2 cup Crisco with 1 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 2 tsp vanilla extract. beat in cooled milk mixture till fluffy.
                                This must be stored refrigerated.