The crema pastelera is a classic Spanish dessert that has delighted generations of Spaniards and visitors alike.
It is a creamy custard-like pastry cream made with egg yolks, milk, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. It is thick enough to spread on cakes or tarts, yet light enough to be the perfect accompaniment to any sweet treat.
Whether you’re making an individual tart or layering a cake, the crema pastelera is sure to make any dessert stand out.
Crema pastelera is a traditional Spanish dessert that consists of a creamy custard-like pastry cream made with egg yolks, milk, sugar, cornstarch and vanilla. It has a thick texture that makes it ideal for spreading on cakes or tarts, while also being light enough to be the perfect accompaniment to any sweet treat. The crema pastelera is an integral part of Spanish cuisine and remains a favorite among Spaniards and visitors alike.
History of crema pastelera
The origin of crema pastelera can be traced back to the Middle Ages in Spain when it was popularly referred to as “pastel de leche” or “milk cake”. It was traditionally made with egg yolks, milk, and sugar, and sometimes included spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The recipe evolved over time to include cornstarch to give it a thicker texture, and eventually, vanilla was added as well.
Milk is a key ingredient in crema pastelera. It provides the creamy texture that makes this pastry cream so unique and delicious. Whole milk, or leche entera, is often used when making crema pastelera as it gives the final product a rich flavor and smooth texture. However, other types of milk can also be used depending on desired results. For example, skim or low-fat milk can be used to make a lighter, less calorie-dense version of the pastry cream.
Sugar is an important ingredient in the crema pastelera and plays a big role in giving it its classic sweetness. It also helps to thicken the custard, creating a creamy and luxurious texture. To make the crema pastelera, it is important to use granulated sugar for best results.
Cornstarch is an essential ingredient in the crema pastelera and helps to create a thick and creamy texture. Cornstarch acts as a binding agent, absorbing moisture and creating a stable mixture that won’t break down when cooked. To make the crema pastelera, mix cornstarch into the egg yolk mixture until completely blended. Then, while stirring constantly, slowly add the heated milk to create a thick, creamy custard.
Vanilla extract is an important ingredient in the crema pastelera as it gives it a pleasant and classic flavor. It also helps to soften the sweetness of the sugar, creating a more balanced flavor. To make the crema pastelera, add some pure vanilla extract to the egg yolk mixture and mix until blended.
Heating milk and sugar
To make the crema pastelera, begin by heating the milk and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook until the mixture comes to a simmer, stirring occasionally to ensure that the sugar is fully dissolved. Then, turn off the heat and set aside.
Mixing cornstarch and egg yolks
In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add the cornstarch to the egg yolk mixture and mix until completely blended. Then, while stirring constantly, slowly pour in the heated milk to create a thick custard. Once all of the ingredients are combined, transfer to a pot and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes until the custard has thickened.
Combining milk and cornstarch mixture
To combine the milk and cornstarch mixture, pour the heated milk into the egg yolk and cornstarch mixture while stirring constantly. Once all of the ingredients are combined, transfer to a pot and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes until the custard has thickened. Take care not to overheat or boil the custard as this will cause it to curdle.
Cooking and stirring until thickened
Once all the ingredients are combined, transfer to a pot and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes until the custard has thickened. During this process it is important to stir constantly to ensure that the custard does not stick to the bottom of the pot and burn. To prevent burning, use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon when stirring. Once the custard has reached its desired thickness, remove from heat and let cool before serving.
Adding vanilla extract
Adding vanilla extract is an important step in making crema pastelera. Vanilla extract adds a delightful flavor to the custard and helps to soften the sweetness of the sugar. To add vanilla extract, simply mix a teaspoon of pure vanilla extract into the egg yolk mixture and stir until blended completely. This will ensure that you get a rich, creamy custard with plenty of delicious vanilla flavor.
Chocolate crema pastelera
To make a chocolate version of the crema pastelera, simply add 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder to the egg yolk and cornstarch mixture before adding the heated milk. This will give your custard a pleasant chocolate flavor and a rich, dark color.
Lemon crema pastelera
Instructions: To make a lemon version of the crema pastelera, first add 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice to the egg yolk and cornstarch mixture. Then, add 1 teaspoon of pure lemon extract for additional flavor. This will give your custard a tart and tangy flavor that is sure to please.
Coffee crema pastelera
Coffee crema pastelera is a delicious variation of the classic custard dessert. To make this version, first add 2 tablespoons of instant coffee granules into the egg yolk and cornstarch mixture before adding the heated milk. This will give your custard a rich and robust flavor and turn it a light shade of brown. Additionally, you can also add 1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract for an even more decadent flavor.
Filling for cakes and pastries
Crema pastelera is a versatile and delicious dessert filling that can be used in a wide variety of cakes and pastries. It is especially popular for use in tarts, pies, flans, éclairs, crepes, and other sweet treats. To use crema pastelera as a cake or pastry filling, simply spread it on top of the bottom crust and bake according to the recipe directions.
Topping for desserts
Crema pastelera also makes a delicious topping for desserts such as ice cream, cheesecake, and fruit tarts. To use crema pastelera as a topping, simply spread it over the dessert of choice and allow to cool before serving. For an extra special treat, top with fresh whipped cream or sprinkle with cocoa powder or cinnamon sugar. Crema pastelera is sure to be a hit with all your guests!
Filling for cannolis and eclairs
Crema pastelera is a perfect filling for cannolis and eclairs. To use crema pastelera as a filling, transfer the custard to a pastry bag and pipe into the shells or choux pastry of your choice. For an extra special treat, top with whipped cream, chocolate shavings, chopped nuts, or other decorations. Crema pastelera makes a wonderful, creamy filling for all your favorite desserts.
Crema pastelera is a classic custard dessert that is loved for its creamy, delicious flavor. To make crema pastelera, you will need to combine eggs yolks, cornstarch, sugar, and milk in a pot and cook over low heat until the custard has thickened. Vanilla extract can be added for extra flavor. Additionally, you can also make variations of this custard dessert such as chocolate, lemon, or coffee. Crema pastelera is a perfect filling for cakes and pastries, and can also be used as a topping for desserts. Try making crema pastelera today and enjoy its delightful flavor!
This classic custard dessert is the perfect base for a wide variety of cakes, pies, tarts, flans, éclairs, and other sweet treats. Its creamy texture and delicious flavor make it a favorite among pastry chefs and home bakers alike. In addition to its use as a filling or topping for desserts, crema pastelera can also be used to create a variety of other delicacies such as ice cream and puddings. Whether you are an experienced pastry chef or a novice home baker, crema pastelera is sure to become one of your go-to recipes!