Basic Custards And Creams

The three preparations presented in this section are among the most basic and useful preparations in the bakeshop.All three can be classified as custards because they consist of a liquid thickened by the coagulation of eggs.

Crème anglaise, or vanilla custard sauce, is a stirred custard. It consists of milk, sugar, and egg yolks (and vanilla) stirred over very low heat until lightly thickened.

Pastry cream contains starch thickeners as well as eggs, resulting in a much thicker and more stable product. It is used as a cake and pastry filling, as a filling for cream pies, and as a pudding.With additional liquid, it is used as a custard sauce.

Baked custard,like vanilla custard sauce, consists of milk, sugar, eggs, and flavoring (usually whole eggs are used for greater thickening power). But, unlike the sauce, it is baked rather than stirred over heat so it sets and becomes firm. Baked custard is used as a pie filling, as a dessert by itself, and as a basis for many baked puddings.

All of these preparations are subject to a wide range of variations. Because they are based on eggs, it would be helpful for you to review the basic egg cooking principles discussed in Chapter 24.


The following recipe gives the method for preparing vanilla custard sauce, or crème anglaise. Special care is necessary in preparing this sauce because the eggs can curdle easily if overcooked.The following guidelines will help you succeed.

1. Use clean, sanitized equipment and follow strict sanitation procedures. Egg mixtures are good breeding grounds for bacteria that cause food poisoning.

2. When combining the egg yolks and sugar, whip the mixture as soon as the sugar is added. Letting sugar and egg yolks stand together without mixing creates lumps that cannot be beaten out. Using a stainless-steel bowl for this step makes the cooking and stirring easier in step 5.

3. Heat the milk to scalding (just below simmering) before combining with the egg yolks. This makes the final cooking much shorter. To avoid scorching the milk,you can set the pan of milk in a pan of boiling water. This takes longer than using direct heat, but the pan can be left unattended for a few minutes while you perform other tasks.

4. Slowly beat the hot milk into the beaten eggs and sugar.This raises the temperature of the eggs gradually and helps prevent curdling.

5. Set the bowl containing the egg mixture in a pan of simmering water and stir constantly to prevent curdling.

To test for doneness, two methods are available. Keep in mind that this is a very light sauce, so you can't expect a lot of thickening.

• Check the temperature with a thermometer. When it reaches 185°F (85°C), the sauce is cooked. Never let the temperature go above 190°F (87°C).

• When the mixture lightly coats the back of a spoon instead of running off like milk, the sauce is cooked.

Immediately cool the sauce by setting the pan or bowl in ice water. Stir occasionally to cool it evenly.

If the sauce curdles, it is sometimes possible to save it. Immediately stir in 1 to 2 ounces (30-60 mL) cold milk, transfer the sauce to a blender, and blend at high speed.

Crème Anglaise (Vanilla Custard Sauce)



8 oz

250 g

Egg yolks Sugar

1. Review the guidelines for preparing vanilla custard sauce preceding this recipe.

2. Combine the egg yolks and sugar in a stainless-steel bowl. Whip until thick and light.

1 qt


3. Scald the milk in a boiling-water bath or over direct heat.

4. Very gradually pour the scalded milk into the egg yolk mixture while stirring constantly with the whip.

5. Set the bowl over simmering water. Heat it slowly, stirring constantly, until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon (or until it reaches 185°F/85°C).

1 tbsp

15 mL


Per 1 ounce:

Calories, 60; Protein, 2 g; Fat, 2.5 g (38 % cal.); Cholesterol, 65 mg; Carbohydrates, 7 g; Fiber, 0 g; Sodium, 15 mg.

6. Immediately remove the bowl from the heat and set it in a pan of cool water. Stir in the vanilla. Stir the sauce occasionally as it cools.


Chocolate Crème Anglaise

Melt 6 oz (175 g) sweetened chocolate. Stir into the Crème Anglaise while it is still warm (not hot).


Although it requires more ingredients and steps, pastry cream is easier to make than custard because it is less likely to curdle. Pastry cream contains a starch thickening agent that stabilizes the eggs. It can actually be boiled without curdling. In fact,it must be brought to a boil, or the starch will not cook completely and the cream will have a raw, starchy taste.

Strict observance of all sanitation rules is essential when preparing pastry cream because of the danger of bacterial contamination. Use clean, sanitized equipment. Do not put your fingers in the cream, and do not taste it except with a clean spoon. Chill the finished cream rapidly in shallow pans. Keep the cream and all cream-filled products refrigerated at all times.

The procedure for preparing pastry cream is given in the following recipe. Note that the basic steps are similar to those for custard sauce.In this case,however,a starch is mixed with the eggs and half the sugar to make a smooth paste. (In some recipes with lower egg content, it is necessary to add a little cold milk to provide enough liquid to make a paste.) Meanwhile, the milk is scalded with the other half of the sugar (the sugar helps protect the milk from scorching on the bottom of the pan).

The egg mixture is then tempered with some of the hot milk, returned to the kettle, and brought to a boil. Some chefs prefer to add the cold paste gradually to the hot milk, but the tempering procedure given here seems to give better protection against lumping and curdling.

Pastry Cream Variations

Cream pie fillings and puddings are actually pastry cream flavored with various ingredients.

Cornstarch should be used as the thickening agent when the cream is to be used as a pie filling so the cut slices hold their shape. For other uses, either cornstarch or flour may be used. Remember that twice as much flour as cornstarch is required for the same thickening power. Other variations are possible, as you will see in the recipes. Sometimes whipped cream is folded into cold pastry cream to lighten it and make it creamier.

Lemon pie filling is also a variation of pastry cream. It is made with water instead of milk, and it is flavored with lemon juice and grated lemon rind.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

US_Metrik_Ingredients ■ Procedure_

8 oz 250 g Sugar in a heavy saucepan or trunnion kettle, dissolve the sugar in the milk

qt 2 L Milk and bring just to a boil.

8 8 Egg yolks 2. With a whip, beat the egg yolks and whole eggs in a stainless-steel bowl.

4 4 Whole eggs 3. Sift the starch and sugar into the eggs. Beat with the whip until perfectly

5 oz 150 g Cornstarch smooth.

8 oz 250 g Sugar 4. Temper the egg mixture by slowly beating in the hot milk in a thin stream.

5. Return the mixture to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

125 g 30 mL

Butter Vanilla

Per 1 ounce:

Calories, 70; Protein, 2 g; Fat, 3 g (38% cal.); Cholesterol, 45 mg; Carbohydrates, 9 g; Fiber, 0 g; Sodium 30 mg.

When the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, remove from the heat. Stir in the butter and vanilla. Mix until the butter is melted and completely blended in.

Pour into a clean, sanitized hotel pan or other shallow pan. Dust lightly with sugar and cover with waxed paper to keep a crust from forming. Cool and chill as quickly as possible.

For filling pastries such as éclairs and napoleons, whip the chilled pastry cream until smooth before using.


For a lighter pastry cream filling, fold whipped heavy cream into the chilled pastry cream. Quantities may be varied to taste. For every 2 qt (2 L) pastry cream, whip 1-2 cups (250-500 mL) heavy cream.

Chocolate Pastry Cream

Melt together 4 oz (125 g) sweetened chocolate and 4 oz (125 g) unsweetened chocolate. Stir into the hot pastry cream. Coffee Pastry Cream

Add 4 tbsp (60 mL) instant coffee powder to the milk in step 1.


Quantities for four 8-inch (20-cm) pies Vanilla Cream Pie Filling

This is the same as Vanilla Pastry Cream. Fill prebaked pie shells with cooled but not chilled filling. Coconut Cream Pie Filling

Add 8 oz (250 g) toasted unsweetened coconut to Vanilla Pastry Cream. Banana Cream Pie Filling

Using Vanilla Cream Pie Filling, pour half of the filling into the pie shells, cover with sliced bananas, and fill with remaining filling. (Bananas may be dipped in lemon juice to help prevent browning.)

Chocolate Cream Pie Filling I

This is the same as Chocolate Pastry Cream, above.

Chocolate Cream Pie Filling II

In step 1, use only 3V2 pt (1.75 L) milk. Add 3 oz (90 g) cocoa to dry ingredients (sugar and cornstarch) in basic Vanilla Pastry Cream recipe.

Butterscotch Cream Pie Filling

Combine 2 lb (900 g) brown sugar and 10 oz (300 g) butter in a saucepan over low heat. Heat and stir until butter is melted and ingredients are blended. Omit all the sugar from the basic Vanilla Pastry Cream recipe (steps 1 and 3). Increase the starch to 6 oz (175 g). As the mixture is nearing a boil in step 5, gradually stir in the brown sugar mixture. Finish as in basic recipe. Lemon Pie Filling

Follow the procedure for Vanilla Pastry Cream, but make the following ingredient adjustments:

1. Use water instead of milk.

3. Increase the cornstarch to 6 oz (175 g).

4. Add the grated zest of 2 lemons to the egg mixture.

5. Add 8 fl oz (250 mL) lemon juice to the finished, hot cream instead of the vanilla.


Vanilla Pudding Coconut Pudding Banana Cream Pudding Chocolate Pudding I and II Butterscotch Pudding

For each of these puddings, prepare the corresponding pie filling but use only half the cornstarch.


Baked custard is a mixture of eggs,milk, sugar, and flavorings that is baked until the eggs coagulate and the custard is set. A good custard holds a clean, sharp edge when cut. The following recipe gives the procedure for making baked custard. Note these points in particular:

1. Scald the milk before beating it slowly into the eggs.This reduces cooking time and helps the product cook more evenly.

2. Remove any foam, which would mar the appearance of the finished product.

3. Bake at 325°F (165°C). High temperatures increase the risk of overcooking and curdling.

4. Bake in a water bath so the outside edges are not overcooked before the inside is set.

5. To test for doneness, insert a thin-bladed knife about 1 to 2 inches (3-5 cm) from the center. If it comes out clean, the custard is done.The center may not be completely set, but the custard will continue to cook in its own heat after removal from the oven.

Baked Custard

Portions: 12 U.S.

Portion size: 5 oz (150 g) Metric


1 lb

8 oz 12 tsp 12 fl oz




212 pt 1.25 L Milk 2.

Per serving: 4

Calories, 190; Protein, 8 g; Fat, 7 g ( 33% cal.); Cholesterol, 175 mg; Carbohydrates, 24 g; Fiber, 0 g; Sodium, 190 mg. 5.


Cook 12 oz (375 g) sugar and 2 fl oz (60 mL) water until it caramelizes (see the section on sugar cooking at the beginning of this chapter). Line the bottoms of the custard cups with 8. the hot caramel. (Be sure the cups are clean and dry.) Fill with 9 custard and bake as in basic recipe.

Scald the milk in a double boiler or in a saucepan over low heat. Gradually pour the milk into the egg mixture, stirring constantly. Skim off all foam from the surface of the liquid.

Arrange custard cups in a shallow baking pan. (Butter the insides of the cups if the custards are to be unmolded.) Carefully pour the custard mixture into the cups. If any bubbles form during this step, skim them off.

Set the baking pan on the oven shelf. Pour enough hot water into the pan around the cups so that the level of the water is about as high as the level of the custard mixture.

Bake at 325°F (165°C) until set, about 45 minutes.

Carefully remove from the oven and cool. Store, covered, in refrigerator.

Continue reading here: Puddings

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