Be sure always to cook pastry cream over medium low heat so that it doesn’t become overcooked or grainy.
Note the variations for other flavored pastry creams.
Place the egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and whisk until well blended. Stir in the cornstarch.
Put the milk and vanilla bean in a heavy-bottomed nonreactive pot. Scald the milk and then by hand whisk it slowly into the egg and sugar mixture, removing the vanilla bean.
Transfer the milk-egg mixture back to the pot and cook it over medium low heat, stirring constantly, for 3 to 5 minutes, until thick. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cream and butter. Strain, and place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.
Refrigerate the pastry cream for an hour or two until cold.
Pastry cream will keep for several days in the refrigerator.
© 1993 Emily Luchetti. All rights reserved.