Custard cream or pastry cream in a round white dish with a spoon stick out wiht a bamboo tray of desserts behind on a grey cloth all on a wooden surface (with logo overlay)

Homemade Custard Cream or Pastry Cream Recipe

Whether you call it custard cream or pastry cream, this sweet vanilla filling is perfect for decadent desserts and treats.

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One of the things I miss from Florida that isn’t available in the Houston area is Boston Cream Doughnuts. They are my favorite and I can’t find them here. So we set out to make our own dessert with similar flavors. But first, I had to figure out the cream that was on the inside. When I looked it up online, many things said it’s filled with a “custard cream”. So, I started looking for a homemade vanilla custard recipe to get an idea then went from there.

The first thing I found was Bird’s Custard Powder. It’s a premade powder that you heat with whole milk to make the cream. While that seems easy, I wanted to make some from scratch. 

The custard cream is very smooth, with a sweet vanilla flavor. The yellow color comes from an egg yolk (instead of using whole eggs) and melted butter. There’s nothing artificial in it when you make it homemade. Pastry cream can also be made with lemon, lime, or chocolate flavors.

What’s the Difference between Custard Cream and Pastry Cream?

A custard is actually any tart with a crust. So the custard is the actual dessert in many cases. Pastry cream is the filling. We have actually made pastry cream here.

But, in America, the two terms are often mistaken. If you ask someone for custard cream in the US, they will be thinking of pastry cream. It can also be called Crème anglaise. 

Src: https://www.leaf.tv/articles/types-of-desserts/

Other Names for Custard Cream

Custard cream is known by many names due to the different ways it can be made.

  • Custard Creme
  • Pastry Cream
  • Custard Creme
  • Pastry Creme
  • Creme Anglaise
  • Bavarian Cream
  • Egg Custard
  • Creme Patissiere

Ways to Use Custard Cream

You can use this sweet custard for all types of desserts and pastries. We made some Boston Cream Puffs and used the custard cream for the filling. But you can use it in a variety of desserts.

  • Homemade Boston Cream Pastries
  • Custard Cream Biscuits
  • Bread Pudding
  • Custard Pie
  • Use a piping bag to pipe onto classic British biscuits
  • Pour over some vanilla ice cream

Simple Ingredients Suggestions

All of the main ingredients for custard cream can be found at your regular grocery store. 

  • Use vanilla bean paste in place of the vanilla extract for a deeper flavor
  • For a thick pastry cream add a small amount of corn starch with the dry ingredients 
  • Mix in some cocoa powder to make chocolate custard cream

Custard Cream Step by Step

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp hot milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp whiskey
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Preparation

In a large bowlwhisk the sugar, salt, and flour.

Dry ingredients for custard cream in a stainless steel bowl with a wire whisk on a wooden surface

Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time. You want to make sure it all is incorporated really well before adding more to the mix. Slowly adding the milk helps prevent lumps.

Dry ingredients for pastry cream with milk in a stainless steel bowl with a wire whisk on a wooden surface

Beat the egg yolk and add to the mixture. By beating the egg yolk first, you can make sure it is distributed throughout the pastry cream.

Pastry cream mixture in a stainless steel bowl with a wire whisk on a wooden surface

Transfer the egg mixture to a medium saucepan. Slowly bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often with a wooden spoon or nylon whisk, until thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Don’t rush this step as you don’t want the custard cream to seize up from being heated too quickly. Add the butter and stir until it melts.

Custard cream mixture cooked in a saucepan with a nylon whisk on a wooden surface

Remove from the heat and transfer to a heat-resistant bowl (I used the bowl of a stand mixer). Refrigerate for about 1 hour, until cooled.

Add the heavy cream, vanilla extract, and whiskey. Mix with an electric hand mixer on high for 1-2 minutes.

Cooled and mixed custard cream in a stainless steel bowl on a wooden surface

As it should be cool, use the custard cream or pastry cream immediately.

Custard cream or pastry cream in a round white dish with a spoon stick out wiht a bamboo tray of desserts behind on a grey cloth all on a wooden surface (vertical)

Leftovers

Storage: Refrigerate extra custard cream in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Make sure to put a piece of plastic wrap tight against the pastry cream before adding the lid. You want to keep as much air as possible off the top of the cream. If it starts to separate, whisk it really well before using.

Recipe

Originally Published On: January 27, 2021

Last Updated On: June 17, 2024

Custard cream or pastry cream in a round white dish with a spoon stick out wiht a bamboo tray of desserts behind on a grey cloth all on a wooden surface

Homemade Custard Cream or Pastry Cream

Whether you call it custard cream or pastry cream, this sweet vanilla filling is perfect for decadent desserts and treats.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Cooling Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course:
Homemade Staple
Cuisine:
American
Keyword:
cream
|
custard cream
|
homemade
|
pastry cream
|
vanilla extract
Dietary Needs:
Nut-Free
Servings: 16 tbsp
5 from 4 votes

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp plain flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 tbsp hot milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp whiskey
  • 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Instructions

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, salt, and flour
  • Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time
  • Beat the egg yolk and add to the mixture
  • Transfer to a small saucepan
  • Slowly bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring often, until thickened, about 8-10 minutes
  • Add the butter and stir until it melts
  • Remove from the heat and transfer to a heat-resistant bowl
  • Refrigerate for about 1 hour, until cooled
  • Add the heavy whipping cream, vanilla extract, and whiskey
  • Mix with an electric mixer on high for 1-2 minutes
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Nutrition Facts
Homemade Custard Cream or Pastry Cream
Amount Per Serving (1 tbsp)
Calories 36 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Cholesterol 16mg5%
Sodium 25mg1%
Potassium 7mg0%
Carbohydrates 4g1%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 3g3%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 64IU1%
Calcium 9mg1%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

All nutritional information is based on third-party calculations and should be considered estimates. Actual nutrition content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.

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22 thoughts on “Homemade Custard Cream or Pastry Cream Recipe”

  1. I have made homemade custard before and did not find it too difficult. I am good with pretty much anything that has directions.

  2. I don’t think I’ve ever had a boston cream donut but it sounds very tasty and the cream sounds quite easy to make x

  3. 5 stars
    Nothing beats homemade custard once you get the recipe down. I remember the first time I made my own…so delicious! Yours looks creamy and wonderful!

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