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Apr 27, 2012 10:58 AM

How to thicken pastry cream?

I made pastry cream to fill Eclairs last night and its a bit more pourable then pudding like. How do i thicken it? I really don't want to start all over. Should i just put it on the stove again? or in the freezer?

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  1. 1 qt milk
    4 oz.sugar
    4 egg yolks
    2 whole eggs
    2.5 oz. cornstarch
    4 oz. sugar
    2 oz. . butter
    1 T. vanilla

    1. Most people use corn starch. about 2 tablespoons per cup of liquid. If you want it thick enough to slice like with a French tart, you will need more.

      Some people even use more than 1 kind of starch. Here is a recipe from a well known pastry chef for Pastry cream. He has a lot of thickener.

      French Pastry Cream (Crème Patissiere)

      Makes 1 pound 8 ounces or 2 2/3 cups

      1 ½ Cups Milk
      1 ¼ ounces (1/4 Cup) Flour
      1 ¼ ounces (3 Tablespoons) Potato Starch
      2 Large Egg Yolks
      2 Large Eggs
      5 ¼ ounces (3/4 Cup) Sugar
      2 ½ ounces (1/4 Cup + 1 Tablespoon) Unsalted Butter, softened
      ½ Vanilla Bean

      8 Teaspoons (2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons) Flour/Cup of Milk
      6 Teaspoons (2 Tablespoons) Potato Starch/Cup of Milk
      1 1/3 Ounces (2) Egg Yolks/Cup of Milk
      1 ½ Ounces (1 1/3) Egg Whites/Cup of Milk
      3.5 Ounces (1/2 Cup Sugar/Cup of Milk
      1 2/3 Ounces (2 Tablespoons + 2 Teaspoons) Butter/Cup of Milk

      Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds into the milk. Add the pod to the milk as well. Bring to a simmer.
      Sift the flour and the potato starch together onto a sheet of wax paper. Combine the eggs, yolks and sugar in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth and pale yellow. Whisk in the flour and starch. Pour in about half of the hot milk, whisking constantly. Pour this mixture back into the pan and stir until blended and smooth (Tempering).
      Bring the pastry cream to a boil, stirring constantly, over medium high heat. Reduce the heat to low and stir constantly for about 3 minutes until very thick and smooth and the flour taste has been cooked out.
      Strain the pastry cream through a fine sieve and stir in ¼ cup of the butter. Rub the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter over the surface of the cream to prevent skin formation. Let cool to room temperature.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Hank Hanover

        The question isn't how to make it, but whether a batch that is already made can be thickened further. If it was just a sauce thickened with a starch, reheating, and adding the appropriate slurry should work. But this is an egg custard that is stabilized with starch. If the choice is between fixing this, and making a new batch, you might try reheating it and adding a cornstarch slurry. But that might also ruin it. Or just keep it cold (but not frozen).

      2. Any starch, corn starch, flour, etc. will act as a thickening agent but, for desserts, your best choice for a thickening agent would be egg yolks. Depending on the quantity you have made, add egg yolks and mix thoroughly, then heat over medium/low heat with constant stirring. You could have an extra egg yolk or two standing by which you could add a little at a time (tempering first, of course) until you achieve the consistency you're wanting.

        1. Whip cream thick and carefully fold it together.

          1. You can put it on the stove again, but be careful bringing back up to temp. Stir with a Rubber or wooden spatula making sure that it does not scorch. Also mix what ever starch you are using into the cold Crème thoroughly before heating or diluted with cold milk or water to add when it reaches a bare simmer.
            Remember if you are using flour or cornstarch it must reach a simmer to thicken.