Culinary Arts

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.

This class made me think out of the box. Creativity is now a must! thank you Chef Ansel

Chef Dominique Ansel is a spectacular teacher and a gifted pastry artist. And yet in spite of all his successes and fame, Chef Dominique's humility shines through! What an inspiration he is! Please, could MasterClass make available downloadable versions of its classes! Thank you!

The chef did a nice presentation, but it's not likely I would be making or doing what he did for the foods.

It feels awesome learning from the best Pastry Chef ever. I'm so happy to have received this for Christmas. Now I can enhance my pastry techniques .


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! :-)

Domingo G.

Anybody know why you wait til the custard gets to room temp? Why not add the butter when the custard is hot?

A fellow student

I’m having trouble finding weights and measures on the mobile app. Please help. Great lessons so far, feels like being at school again!

A fellow student

The pastry cream was delicious, although I found the amount of butter was too much for my taste. If this is “ creme patisserie “ I cant imagine using this particular recipe for other deserts like cream puffs, or to eat plain like pudding. You really need the acidity of the intense amount of fruit in the tart to balance the richness of this version of creme patisserie with the amount of butter it contains. I wish I had realized that before I added the butter. The cream holds its own without it. It was so rich I can’t see myself making this again for at least a year. I’m curious if people from the Nirth of France have an acquired taste for food rich in butter. I love French food but what I ate in France was not this rich with butter (although I do realize it adds flavor and is important to French cuisine, I’ve never eaten anything this rich with butter before). I should mention that we ate it plain without fruit as a “pudding” (it seems that there are many articles online suggesting this was a desert that could be eaten like pudding, I completely disagree to that now!) I was wondering if this recipe could be used to make a cream pie with, and now that I have tried it, I would definitely say no. At least not with the butter.

A fellow student

Thanks Chef. Amazing Instructions. Incorporating the butter would make this Creme Mousselline, no?

Jennifer T.

I appreciate the clear instructions for this recipe and all of the suggestions on how to use this pastry cream. I must get to his bakery!!!

Zuze W.

The baker ratio of corn starch in this recipe is 9%(Let whole milk be 100%). In the book" Dominique Ansel, the secret recipe", page 1680, recipe for Purple Tart, the corn starch ratio is 41%( Let whole milk+Black berry puree be 100%) in black berry pastry cream. Why there is huge difference? Will it be better to use flour instead of corn starch?

A fellow student

Loved the step-by-step video. I like knowing the subtleties of how the mixture changes as the process continues. All the other recipes I've tried have not said to cool the cream before whisking in the butter, so I'm looking forward to making and tasting this version. It's almost more like a buttercream... I would like to know how to make CHOCOLATE pastry cream - obviously you can't just add cocoa...

Debra M.

I made this pastry cream today, and used it to fill my first attempt at cream puffs and eclairs. It was so exciting to watch my cream go through the exact stages shown. He’s right. It’s amazing.