A rich and thick lightly scented lemon-infused pastry cream recipe made with eggs, milk, sugar, cornstarch and a pinch of salt. This gluten-free pastry cream is referred to as crema pasticcera in Italian and is an essential component in many Italian desserts.
In a medium, heavy saucepan, over medium heat, combine the milk and lemon peel.
When the milk starts to steam, remove from heat (do not allow milk to boil). Let stand for at least 10 minutes allowing the lemon peel to infuse the milk.
Meanwhile, whisk eggs with sugar for one minute.
Sift cornstarch and salt together.
Add these dry ingredients to egg mixture.
Whisk continuously for about 5 minutes or until the mixture becomes light-colored.
Remove lemon peel from the milk.
While whisking continuously, add a ladle of hot milk to the egg mixture.
Gradually add all the hot milk while whisking.
Transfer mixture to saucepan and over medium heat, whisk continuously for about 5 minutes. Mixture will thicken. Do not allow mixture to come to a boil.
Once the mixture has thickened, remove from heat.
Allow the mixture to cool down for a few minutes.
Add about two tablespoons of cut up butter and whisk into the mixture until fully incorporated,
Transfer mixture to a ceramic or glass dish.
Place a piece of plastic wrap in direct contact with the pastry cream.
Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.
Refrigerate until ready to use (should be used within 3 days).
Allow ingredients to come to room temperature before beginning the recipe.
Use a saucepan with a heavy bottom. Avoid using aluminum as this will create a grayish-looking cream.
If your bowl is spinning away from you when combining the warm milk with the eggs, simply place a humid tea towel under your mixing bowl.
Use medium-low to medium heat to prevent the eggs from curdling.
Strain warm pastry cream through a strainer if ever the mixture forms any lumps.
Constant stirring! Yes, I said this already but it really is important -no distractions so put away that cell phone.
The consistency is perfect for cream puffs and eclairs.
If making a layered cake (for example Boston Cream Pie) the addition of 1 teaspoon of cornstarch will create a thicker cream.
If using whole milk, the addition of butter is not necessary.
Each serving is equivalent to 2 tablespoons.Please keep in mind that the nutritional information provided below is just a rough estimate and variations can occur depending on the specific ingredients used.