Once you have experienced fresh, homemade pastry cream, there is simply no going back to the box.
Not long ago, I discovered an old forgotten box of Jello vanilla pudding in the back of my pantry. It brought up fond memories from my childhood, and so I pulled it out and mixed it up. After the first spoonful, it was impossible to consume a second. The texture felt unnaturally thick and grainy, and the flavor spoke of ingredients one can barely pronounce. I knew right then and there that my “boxing” days were over!
|WHAT YOU NEED||WHAT TO DO||WHY|
|3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups whole milk
|Whisk together in a small bowl until the cornstarch is no longer visible. Add to the egg mixture; whisk to incorporate (15-20 seconds). Heat in the microwave starting on high power, moving down to half power as the custard approaches 180°F (it will thicken and coat a spoon). Remove frequently to gently whisk, scrape down sides, redistribute heat and test with an instant-read thermometer||Sugar and cornstarch both inhibit curdling. At 160°F eggs are sterilized, but above 180°F risks loss of smoothness and curdling.|
|1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
|Whisk into custard. Push through a mesh strainer into a small bowl. Promptly seal the surface with a square of plastic wrap. Refrigerate 4-8 hours to age before serving.
Serve topped, or in layers with the fruit of your choice, such as pomegranate seed
|Straining assures a perfectly smooth custard. Sealing surface with plastic prevents a skin from forming. Aging promotes smoothness in custards.|
Testing Notes: For an extra rich version, use 5 yolks and 3/4 cup sugar, then add 1 tablespoon softened unsalted butter before whisking in the cream.