Spanish Pastry Cream: Easy Egg Custard

Easy egg custard recipe

The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Total: 18 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Yield: 2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
253 Calories
8g Fat
33g Carbs
11g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 253
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 11%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 242mg 81%
Sodium 131mg 6%
Total Carbohydrate 33g 12%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 31g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 1mg 6%
Calcium 185mg 14%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 250mg 5%
*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.)

Spaniards are quite fond of their daily merienda, an afternoon snack during which many people stop at their local pastry shop for a sweet and a coffee to brighten up their day. You'll notice that lots of traditional Spanish desserts are filled with rich, creamy custard. This Spanish-style egg custard (also known as Spanish pastry cream) is often flavored with citrus (lemon or orange mainly), and occasionally cinnamon. It is the most common filling (along with chocolate) in the popular napolitana pastry, which is a very popular pastry throughout Spain. 

As you pass the colorful pastelerias (pastry shops) in Spain, you will see beautiful cakes and pastries in the window displays, many of which have this rich Spanish style egg custard hidden between the cake layers, or inside the flakey pastry dough. Cooks at home also use this thick and easy egg custard recipe to fill pastries like classic buñuelos or the Basque pantxineta tort.

This traditional Spanish egg custard recipe is the perfect solution for almost any recipe that calls for pastry cream. Here it is aromatized with lemon zest, vanilla, and cinnamon, but you can really experiment with different flavors, depending on the pastry you are preparing.


  • 4 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 2 cups milk

  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • 1/2 lemon, zested and finely grated

  • 1 stick cinnamon

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for easy egg custard
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  2. First, separate the egg yolks from the whites.

    Separate eggs
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  3. Place the yolks and the 1/2 cup of sugar in medium saucepan and lightly whisk together.

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  4. Using a wooden spoon, continue stirring and add the flour. Set aside.

    Add flour
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  5. In a medium saucepan, pour the milk, vanilla extract, and grated lemon rind. Add a whole cinnamon stick and bring to a boil.

    Pour in milk
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  6. Remove from heat and strain the hot milk mixture gradually into the pan with the egg and sugar mixture, removing the cinnamon stick and stirring constantly while you pour.

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  7. Place the pan on the stove and heat to a simmer, careful not to boil. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes.

    Place pan on stove
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  8. Remove the custard from the heat and allow it to cool for a few minutes. As the custard cools, stir it occasionally to prevent a skin from forming on top.

    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel
  9. Once cooled to room temperature, chill in refrigerator until ready to use.

    Put custard in jar
    The Spruce Eats / Teena Agnel