Orange Pastry Cream

Orange pastry cream

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Prep: 5 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Chill: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 16 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
50 Calories
2g Fat
6g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 50
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 2g 2%
Saturated Fat 1g 4%
Cholesterol 48mg 16%
Sodium 22mg 1%
Total Carbohydrate 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 29mg 2%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 40mg 1%
*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.)

Pastry cream, which is basically a smooth custard, can be used in so many ways, with pastries, cakes, crepes, tarts, doughnuts, and cream puffs, and any kind of choux pastry. But a floral, citrus-flavored pastry cream is more versatile than you might think. Orange pastry cream is thicker than a sauce, and is heavenly tucked into a chocolate crepe with fresh berries. Try it with anything chocolate, really; you might be surprised by how well chocolate and orange pair with each other.

You will need a digital thermometer for this recipe. Be sure to chill the pastry cream in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 hours before using.


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. In a small saucepan, warm the milk and orange 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 to 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 Grand Marnier (or orange extract), and chill before filling pastry.


If you want a thicker or sturdier pastry cream, add another tablespoon (or two) of cornstarch.


  • You can use a gluten-free all-purpose flour blend if you need to make this pastry cream suitable for those who can't have gluten, or use all cornstarch instead.
  • If you don't have Grand Marnier, you can use Cointreau or any type of triple sec you can find.
  • Increase the amount of orange zest by a teaspoon if you like a more pronounced orange flavor.

Raw Egg Warning

Consuming raw and lightly-cooked eggs poses a risk of foodborne illness.

How to Store Orange Pastry Cream

  • You can make this a day or two ahead of when you want to use it, or store any leftovers for up to 3 days. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container, preferably with a thin layer of plastic wrap over the top of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for at least 2 to 3 hours before using. You may need to re-whisk the cream before using, to reincorporate the ingredients and make it as smooth as possible.
  • Pastry cream does not freeze well.

What's the Difference Between Custard and Pastry Cream?

All pastry creams are custard, but not all custard are pastry creams. A custard is a liquid, usually a dairy product, that's been thickened with eggs. Pastry Cream is a custard, which is simply a liquid (often a dairy product) thickened with eggs, but pastry cream is thickened so that it holds its shape. Custards such as crème anglaise are a sauce, and lemon curd is simply a custard made with fruit juice.

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