Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 25, 2009 08:21 AM

Pastry Cream Help!

Hi All, I decided to try and make a fruit tart for a little get together among friends last night. First time ever trying this out and I ended up following:

The pastry cream turned out great while it was in the pot...until I got to the "cool and refrigerate" step. I didn't have an ice bath ready so I stuck it in the freezer for ~5mins before putting it into the fridge. When I took it out about 1.5hrs later to apply to the tart crust, the cream had become almost like a thick pudding - and chunky! Any ideas why this is the case or ways that I can improve? How do you guys make pastry cream?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Did you both strain the pastry cream before chilling, and then beat it before using?

    1. Most sauces and puddings like this thicken when cooled. If you start with more liquid, it won't be as thick. While pastry cream could be made thin and pourable, it is often used in ways where a thick, pudding like consistency is desired. For example it is used as filling for pastry (as suggested by the name), such as in the layers of a Napoleon, or filling of a cream puff or éclair. I think it is also preferable to serve pastry cream just slightly chilled, below room temperature, but not at fridge temperatures.

      1. My pastry cream always comes out with pudding-like texture, and is often lumpy. Now, I'm lazy, so if I'm using it for fruit tarts, I don't strain it. I *always* whip it like crazy during the making of the cream, and after it's chilled, before use.

        1. If you want something more sauce like, consider Crème anglaise. It's a stove top egg custard, using some of the same ingredients as pastry cream, except for the starch.

          1. Hrm. I didn't strain before chilling, but I did try to beat before using but by that time it was a bit too tough (almost jello like). I guess I was expecting to make something that's easier to pour into the tart crust or at least easier to spread. In addition, I was hoping that the cream would be liquid enough so that my fruit would press into the cream as opposed to sitting loosely on top?

            Are you guys letting it come to room temp prior to beating and usage?

            Thanks for the tip about Creme anglaise - it looks a little too fluid for a tart filling, though?

            1 Reply
            1. re: dafrabbit

              Creme anglaise is definitely too fluid for a tart filling.

              If you want to lighten the pastry cream after cooling and beating it, you could fold in some whipped cream.