Pâtisserie / Recipe

Mastering crème pâtissière, step by step

It was a day at the end of September. A couple of years ago. I put on my pied-de-poule trousers for the first time since the internship I had done the summer before at Pierre Hermé.

I walked up the stairs, to the biggest, most beautiful kitchen I had ever seen, with the aim to make my biggest, most beautiful dream come true.

A dream that apparently involved cooking 12L of crème pâtissière. And when I say 12L, I really mean 12L of milk. So if you had up the other ingredients, it makes around 16kg of silky smooth vanilla goodness.

As a matter of fact, by seven am, the hair, that took me an hour to tame at three in the morning, was wild again. And my cheeks were the colour of bike rides in the wind.

I don’t want anyone to get hurt by making crème pâtissière, so I’ll just give you the half-a-litre recipe. Which happens to be just enough to fill a tart or a handful of choux, plus a couple of tablespoons for personal consumption.

This recipe is a basic crème pâtissière. A very simple cream made of milk, vanilla, egg yolks, cornflour, and caster sugar.

As usual, I can only advise you have all of the ingredients ready and measured before you start. Along with the equipment.

500g milk
one vanilla pod
3 egg yolks
60g caster sugar
40g cornflour

one medium saucepan
two small whisks
a fine chinois or sieve
two maryses
a small bowl
a shallow plastic container


Place the milk and split vanilla pod into a medium saucepan and bring to the boil, whisking every now and then.


In a small bowl, mix the egg yolks and sugar with a whisk, until fully combined. This prevents the caster sugar from reacting with the thin skin of the yolks, which would create some small lumps.
Add the cornflour and incorporate.


Temper the egg yolk mixture with the strained milk (to get rid of the vanilla pod). Whisking as you do so.


Pour back into the pan – off the heat – whisking continuously. Then over soft heat, bring to the boil, whisking at all time.


As soon as the mixture reaches the boiling point and starts to thicken, keep on cooking and whisking for a minute or two.


Pour and scrape into a plastic container.
And clingfilm to the touch to avoid the formation of a skin. Chill for an hour.


  • ilaria
    September 5, 2011 at 9:55 AM


  • Delphine
    September 5, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Moi j’adore faire et manger la crème pâtissière, c’est terriblement bon ! Belle journée à toi, bises ! 🙂

  • Y
    September 5, 2011 at 2:56 PM

    Love pastry cream, and love this post even more 🙂

  • Lucia
    September 5, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    J’ai essayeé une fois, mais la créme était si epaisse qu’elle ressemblait aux puddings. Peut-etre que, avec tes conseilles et tes photos merveilleuses, cette fois je vais réussir un peu mieux 🙂

  • sara
    September 5, 2011 at 7:14 PM

    Wow, what a very cool post! Love all those photos. 🙂

  • Marion
    September 5, 2011 at 9:37 PM

    Ca a l’air délicieux et ta mise en scène est choupi tout plein !

  • Sharon Ní Chonchúir
    September 6, 2011 at 2:39 PM

    Wow! I am going to make this at the weekend. Je ne peux pas attendre!

  • christelle is flabbergasting
    September 6, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    Tu masterize trop le setp-by-step et tes gifs animés me font sautiller sur ma chaise !

  • qmmf
    September 7, 2011 at 10:51 PM

    Magnifique post!

  • christell
    September 8, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    belle présentation ! c’est un classique que j’aime beaucoup aussi

    • fanny
      February 26, 2019 at 1:53 PM

      Yes, this is what I usually do when I’m making 1 to 4 litres of milk. For under 1 litre, it doesn’t bring enough heat to cook the pastry cream correctly.

  • jj
    September 9, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    yes i know it doesn’t work for less than 1L

    would it be possible to give a chocolate cake recipe that will be on par with the incredibly perfect lemon loaf cake (with cream) that you had on the old site

  • Veronique
    September 26, 2011 at 8:09 AM

    I love this animated and “interactive” recipes… I love your photos and the way you write… Fanny youu were gifted…
    where are you right now? London?

  • Bart
    October 11, 2011 at 1:30 PM

    Awesome blog, it as been a while since I’ve read it. Awesome pics and very interesting as usual! Keep it up, you rule!

    “…plus a couple of tablespoons for personal consumption” Best quote of the day!!!

    I <3 pastry cream!

  • sarah
    January 26, 2012 at 2:12 AM

    could this be used for millefeille?

    Yes, although I would probably fold in a bit of whipped cream for added creaminess. Perhaps a sheet or two of gelatine too.

  • Gabriella
    February 26, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    What are ” two maryses ” ?

  • La tarte tropézienne – Fanny Zanotti
    March 16, 2019 at 8:46 AM

    […] very soon. – For a detailed step-by-step how to make crème pâtissière, please check this article. – When making crème mousseline, start by creaming the butter using the paddle attachment of […]


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