Crème pâtissière

Crème pâtissière

Leiths How to Cook
300 ml
Peter Cassidy

Crème pâtissière is essentially a crème anglaise thickened with flour and cornflour, which makes it more stable and means it can be boiled. It is much thicker than a crème anglaise and is used in pâtisserie as a sweet filling, such as in éclairs and millefeuille, rather than as a sauce.


Quantity Ingredient
300ml whole milk
3 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
15g plain flour
15g cornflour
1/2 vanilla pod
or a few drops vanilla extract


  1. Put the milk in a saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod, if using, down one side, then scrape out all the seeds. Add the pod and seeds to the milk and place the pan over a medium heat. Scald, by gently heating it until steaming. Just before it bubbles, take off the heat and remove the vanilla pod and any skin that has formed.
  2. Put the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl and mix well. Add a splash of the scalded milk, then the flours. Mix well to combine and ensure there are no lumps. Gradually stir in the remaining milk.
  3. Return the mixture to a clean saucepan and place over a low to medium heat. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon. It will go lumpy, but persevere and stir vigorously and it will become smooth. Turn the heat down and simmer for 2 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract, if using. Transfer the crème pâtissière to a bowl and place a disc of greaseproof paper on top, in contact with the surface of the custard, to prevent a skin forming. Set aside to cool.
  5. Once cool, transfer the crème pâtissière to a food processor fitted with the metal blade and blend until soft and smooth. It is now ready for use.


  • Almond crème pâtissière: Stir 2 tablespoons ground almonds and ½–1 teaspoon Amaretto, to taste, into the finished mixture.

    Chocolate crème pâtissière: Reduce the flour and cornflour to 10 g each and melt 30 g good quality dark chocolate in the milk when scalding. You may need to use a whisk to encourage the chocolate to melt fully into the milk.

    Coffee crème pâtissière: Replace 30–50 ml of the milk with strong espresso coffee, depending on the intensity of flavour required.

    Orange crème pâtissière: Stir the finely grated zest of ½ orange and ½–1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or Triple Sec, to taste, into the finished crème pâtissière.

For a lighter crème pâtissière...

  • If you need or prefer a lighter version, whip 100 ml double cream until soft peaks form and fold into the finished, blended crème pâtissière.
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