Pastry cream, also called Crème Pâtissière, is a rich and velvety classic custard that is complemented by a myriad of flavorings and quite versatile in its application. In this recipe, it is vanilla beans that take a bow at center stage, and do beautifully in the filling encasing sun ripened, farm fresh strawberries plucked in peak season.
5 large egg yolks, room temperature, preferably organic
½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour, preferably unbleached
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 cups (16 ounces/473 ml) whole milk, preferably organic
1 vanilla bean, preferably Nielsen-Massey
½ teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
How to Use Them:
Cut the vanilla bean pod in the middle to score the center without cutting all the way through and scrape out the vanilla seeds.
Heat the milk, vanilla seeds and vanilla bean pod on medium low heat until it just reaches boiling point.
While the milk is heating, vigorously whisk the egg yolks and sugar until blond in color, approximately three minutes.
Double sift the flour, cornstarch and salt and add it to egg mixture, whisking thoroughly until completely incorporate for another two minutes.
Once the milk reaches the boiling point, pour a slow, steady stream into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. When the milk is fully incorporated into the egg mixture, pour it back into the pot and heat for another 2 minutes, whisking constantly until you have a thick custard consistency. Add one tablespoon of butter at a time and whisk in until completely melted. Remove the pastry cream from the heat and empty it into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment or use a hand held mixer. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is cooled completely, approximately ten minutes.
If not using immediately, cover with plastic wrap directly on top the custard and refrigerate.