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Fruit Tart Filling: Pastry Cream

Dominique Ansel

Lesson time 09:54 min

Pastry cream is an indispensable part of a baker’s arsenal. Learn to make Chef Dominique's classic version, and how to apply the infusion technique to create complementary flavors.

Dominique Ansel
Teaches French Pastry Fundamentals
James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Dominique Ansel teaches his essential techniques for making delicious pastries and desserts in his first-ever online class.
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What makes a pastry cream really good and tasty to me is this light flavor of eggs. It's not too pronounced. It's not too eggy, but you can still definitely taste it. The butter adds a lot to it, as well, the creamy texture. There's many, many different ways you can use this pastry cream. It can be a filling for a cream puff. You can also eat it by itself with some fresh fruits. This one will be used for a fruit tart that we're going to assemble together. So for this recipe, just a few ingredients. We're going to start with our milk that we're going to put in the pot and bring to a simmer. For the heat of the milk, always keep it on medium, medium high. So the milk is a very important part of the recipe here because you can flavor the pastry cream with pretty much anything you want. If you want add some spice, you can always add a stick of cinnamon and infuse it in the milk. So you can always bring it to a simmer, infuse your spice, or anything like hazelnut, or basil, lavender. You can always put it inside the milk, cover it up with just plastic wrap, let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes, strain it out, and then go back to the full process of the recipe. The next step will be to combine together the yolks, half of the sugar, and the other half will go with the milk. One important step here-- when you mix sugar with yolks, always mix it right away. It's what we call burning the eggs. If you don't mix it right away, the eggs will turn all white and start crystallizing, and you'll have pieces of egg yolk, so mix it immediately. And then we'll add the corn starch to the yolks and sugar. So you want to have the texture right here that is very smooth. We shouldn't see any lump, any pieces. This is why you incorporate the cornstarch with the yolks-- to make sure it's fully dissolved before cooking the pastry cream. Our milk is pretty hot here. It's not to a simmer yet, but I always like to take a little bit of the milk and add it to the egg yolks. The reason why is that we don't cook the egg yolks too fast. So this mixture is going to be just warm, and then I'll go back to my simmering milk and add everything together so it doesn't seize, so it doesn't cook too fast. So you want to do it in two steps. Take about 50% of the milk that is warm, hot. Mix it to the egg yolks, and then go back to the pot. So if try to go too fast, if the milk is boiling and you try to add the yolks, it's going to turn instantly into scrambled eggs, and we don't want this to happen. So what we do here is what we call tempering. We're tempering the egg yolks. So our milk here is almost to a boil. We're going to add this mix with egg yolks and sugar, and make sure you stir right away. So we start mixing before we start pouring and make sure this doesn't turn into scrambled eggs. Here we can mix pretty fast in the beginning. But what we're looking for here is to thicken this mix. It's going to cook, and we want to make sure we get every side of the...

The Art of French Pastry

Celebrated for his innovative twists on classic desserts, Cronut® creator and James Beard Award-winner Dominique Ansel has been called the “world’s best pastry chef.” In his MasterClass, Dominique teaches his essential techniques for perfect pastries. Learn baking and more with his precise methods, add classic recipes to your repertoire, and explore texture and flavor inspirations to delight friends and family with your own decadent desserts.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

I always measure my ingredients as I go along. This always leads to panic, and frustration. I can see from Dominique, that the forward preparation leads to a cooler, calmer cooking experience. This is my first lesson...

Great broad base of useful and inspirational knowledge.

This Masterclass helped me to realize that cooking is not always hard.

love this guy! A true professional and a creative genius. His class opened my eyes and excited me to start exploring French Pastry. Bring on more classes with Dominique!!!


Clarisa P.

Love it!!! Very important to review and go through the basics of pastry. Sometimes we don't practice enough and forget about techniques.

A fellow student

What happens if you don't add the butter to the pastry cream? It tastes so good on its own!

A fellow student

Thank you very much for this well presented course. Thank you chef Dominique you are such an inspiring person. I cannot wait to make my perfect croissant and chocolate bonbon.

i enjoyed the class. i just have one question, how can i download cookbook and ingredient list

A fellow student

Great, thanks I enjoyed this lesson. I hope that the recipe book includes the other pastry cream suggestions, e.g. mixing it with meringues; almond cream, etc. I'd like to know how long the pastry cream can be kept for? Also, can it be frozen?

Mary S.

Wonderful class. Dominic provides easy simple instructions that even a novice baker such as myself can follow. I will be doing his fruit tart for my staff.

Monica G.

thank you Dominic, is a great recipe, I really like all your recipes Monique


If you want to flavor the pastry cream with alcohol (e.g.: elderflower or nut liqueurs, etc), would it be best to add it to the milk or at the end with the butter?

Colleen N.

Love this class. Any recommendations on making this with an alternate milk (cannot have cow’s milk)?

Marcia J.

Wow! I did and it is the best pastry Cream I have done! Tastes wonderful and very light! I took away the skin of the egg yolk so that helped to be lighter and soft. Thank you so much for this class! :-)