Almond Pastry Cream

Almond pastry cream
William Reavell / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 6 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
165 Calories
5g Fat
25g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 165
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 129mg 43%
Sodium 59mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 25g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 76mg 6%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 109mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Delicious and creamy creme patisserie is a classic recipe in which milk, eggs, sugar, and cornstarch are thickened by heat, and then added slowly to beaten egg yolks to make a silky custard that is used to fill cream puffs, eclairs, or other baked goods. Though the mixing stages require skill, it's not difficult to achieve if you carefully follow the instructions. The key is to temper the eggs by adding half of the milk mixture first, constantly whisking before adding the rest. If they're added all at the same time, you risk the mixture curdling and becoming sweet scrambled eggs. So add and whisk, add and whisk! This cream is flavored with almond extract and can be made ahead of time and chilled in the fridge until it's time to use it.

Creme patisserie is known in English as pastry cream and it has a variety of uses. Eclairs, tarts, cream pies, mille-feuille—they're all filled or layered with this preparation. Vanilla pastry cream is the most common, but chocolate, tea, honey, or fruit-flavored are all possible to make following this standard recipe and adding other flavorings or ingredients such as powdered cocoa, fruit extract, and food coloring. Some recipes for pastry cream use flour instead of cornstarch as the thickening agent, and they are both delicious, but our take makes it gluten free. A similar preparation, creme mousseline, is based on pastry cream, adding butter, which makes the cream very rich and very silky to taste.

The almond extract makes this cream absolutely delicious and ideal for recipes featuring cherries, apricots, berries, apples, or cinnamon. Make fruit tarts, fill them with this cream, top with berries, and add some chocolate shaves on top to present a beautiful and decadent dessert. This preparation keeps well in the fridge. Simply cover with a piece of plastic wrap that touches the surface of the cream to prevent the formation of a skin.


  • 1 1/4 cups whole milk

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/8 cup all-purpose flour

  • 8 teaspoons cornstarch

  • 1 teaspoon almond extract

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small saucepan, warm the milk over low heat until it is just hot enough to steam.

  3. While the milk is warming, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, flour, and cornstarch until the mixture is completely smooth.

  4. Once the milk is steaming, add half of it, whisking constantly, to the egg mixture.

  5. Add the milk and eggs back into the hot milk, continue stirring, and heat it for 1 to 2 minutes, until the custard reaches 170 F on a digital thermometer and is very thick.

  6. Remove it from the heat.

  7. Stir in the almond extract.

  8. Chill the pastry cream completely before filling the pastry of choice.