Crème pâtissière

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    1 kg

    , enough for a big pudding

Appears in

An essential part of French pastry work, this versatile filling for tart cases is easy to make. The use of potato flour to stabilise it and thicken it means that it isn’t as heat-sensitive as other custards. It also keeps well in the fridge for several days. I have not tried to freeze it, and my feeling would be that it will suffer unduly from the process.


  • 500 ml milk
  • 1 vanilla pod, split in two lengthways
  • 130 g caster sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 40 g potato flour
  • 40 g butter


Scald the milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with the vanilla pod and 50 g of the sugar. While the milk is heating, whisk the egg yolks, remaining sugar and the potato flour in a bowl until amalgamated and smooth. Remove the milk from the flame just before it boils and whisk it into the bowl. Wash out the milk pan and dry, then return the mixture to it. Place over a brisk heat and, stirring continuously, bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk vigorously until cool and thickening. Still off the heat, add the butter in small pieces, stirring all the while to incorporate it. Transfer to a clean bowl, cover with clingfilm, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, when the cream will firm up considerably.