Lemon Pastry Cream

Lemon tartlet
Ivana Jurcic / Getty Images
Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 15 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
272 Calories
10g Fat
36g Carbs
10g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 272
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g 12%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 164mg 55%
Sodium 446mg 19%
Total Carbohydrate 36g 13%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 10g
Calcium 158mg 12%
*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.)

Fresh lemon zest gives this lemon pastry cream recipe a sweet, invigorating vibe. If you can’t find lemon liquor to complete the recipe, use 1/2 teaspoon of lemon extract as a substitute. For a traditional flavor, pair the lemon cream with fresh berries. For a classic European combination, simply glaze the filled pastry with a bittersweet chocolate frosting.


  • 1 1/4 cups milk (whole)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar (granulated)
  • 1 tablespoon flour (all-purpose)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons lemon liquor (or 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small saucepan, warm the milk and lemon zest 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 1-2 minutes, until the custard reaches 170 F on a digital thermometer and is very thick.

  6. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract and lemon liquor (or extract), and chill before filling the pastry.

  7. Serve and enjoy!

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