Want to be a Patisserie? Or shall I say, Pastry Chef?
Well, the first step is the natural ability. You can go to culinary school, read all the books, take classes at your local culinary supply store, but if you dont have it naturally, you will never have it. No offense. This was honestly a speech our Executive Chef in Culinary School said. He wasn't lying either.
Reason I bring this up? Pastry Creme is the natural ability tester. It's honestly an easy thing to make, but the ultimate ability tester. You are probably asking yourself how it can be so easy if it's testing your natural abilities? Well, if you are a natural-born cook, it's easy. How's that? Pastry Creme requires you to be able to "tell" when it's ready for the next step and when it's done. No recipe can tell you.
Orange-Scented Vanilla Pastry Creme
by Korilynn Shaw
2C. Whole Milk (You may use heavy whipping cream too if you would like)
1/4 C. White Sugar
2 Egg Yolks
1/4 C. Cornstarch
1/3 C. White Sugar
2 T. Butter
1 t. Vanilla Bean Paste (see previous entries about this)
2 T. Orange Zest
1. In a heavy saucepan, stir together the milk and a 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil over MEDIUM heat (Note: Medium please. Any higher and you will scorch your milk at the bottom before the rest is even bubbling)
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks and egg. Stir together remaining sugar and cornstarch. Add cornstarch and sugar to the egg and mix until smooth. Set aside to rest until milk is boiling.
3. Using a laddle, slowly pour boiling milk mixture into your egg mixture. Whisking the entire time. Continue to slowly add milk (while constantly whisking your egg mixture no matter what) until it is all gone.
4. When fully incorporated, return the mixture to the heat and bring to a boil. Whisk constantly (unless you want some fluffy eggs).
5. When the mixture comes to a boil and starts to thicken, remove from the heat. Stir in butter, vanilla paste, and orange zest.
6. Transfer to a heat proof container and set on top of an ice bath. Whisking constantly to cool.
7. After cooled, cover immediately with plastic wrap and place in fridge until ready for use. This will prevent a skin from forming over the top.
So how is this a tester? Well, let me tell you. Majority of first-time pastry creme makers will make scrambled eggs. Yup. It's hard to tell when that egg mixture is just right. If you make it spot-on the first time out the door...you are a natural! No joke.
What happens if it starts to curdle? Keep whisking! Remove it from the heat and whisk like you have never whisked before. You can save a pastry creme from being eggs. If you remove it from heat ASAP and whisk like a crazy person. However, once you have full on chunks, you are beyond saving it. Sorry to say.
Pastry Creme can be used for filling cakes, eclairs, eat it plain, fill tortes, fill tartlet shells....oh man it's endless. It's creamy, smooth, and so rich! It's pudding. Yes, it is. If you want a thicker pastry creme for filling eclairs or to hold up in a cake, use whipping creme and let thicken a titch longer on the stove. You will never buy Jell-O gelatin mixture again after you know how to make this decadent and amazing creme.
*Pastry Tip: Let sit overnight in the fridge. This makes all of the flavors come together and settle. It will taste twice as sweet and the orange will be twice as strong.
Now you are probably asking how you make chocolate pastry creme? That's another blog. Chocolate is a much more difficult one to make correctly. Let's start one thing at a time.
So go forth...make some pastry creme! If you fail the first time, dont think you suck and you will never be a pastry chef. Just means you have to keep going. Make note of what mistakes happened and go try again.