Vanilla Pastry Cream, or Creme Patissiere, can be used in so many ways. Cream puffs and chocolate eclairs are just the beginning. Purists might insist that, while eclairs are filled with pastry cream and topped with a chocolate glaze, cream puffs (choux chantilly) must be filled with whipped cream and dusted with powdered sugar.
That's how it was when I was growing up. But I lost my taste for chocolate quite a long time ago, so I do a mashup: round and dusted with powdered sugar like a puff, pastry cream like an eclair. I've always made medium size puffs (18 puffs per recipe), but I really should make some tiny ones for my next afternoon tea party.
It's such a breeze making custards, sauces and risottos in the Le Creuset stainless steel sauciers, the 3.5-quart for larger amounts and their new 2-quart for smaller amounts. You can't really whisk in a regular straight-sided saucepan; you have to keep putting the whisk down and using a spoon to "get into the corners."
Le Creuset stainless steel cookware is triple-ply from base to rim, so no hot spots. Each pan has a rim designed for drip-free pouring with either hand. And it's oven proof to 425F/220C/Gas7. This saucier is my new favorite pan. Since I got it, I haven't put it away! I've just left it on the stove because I'm using it for everything!
I'm so excited to be able to offer US readers the opportunity to win one! See below. And come back next week for the choux pastry, Pate a Choux, recipe and to see who won the pan! And, of course, I'd love it if you would share this post on your social media.
Update 04/14/16: The giveaway is now closed.
Vanilla Pastry Cream - Creme Patissiere
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 to 3/4 cup sugar (I like 1/2)
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
5 Just before using, whisk the pastry cream a few times. And, if you'd like to "lighten" it up with whipped cream as I did with the cream puff pictured, just whip 1 cup of cream to soft peaks and fold it into the whisked pastry cream.