I actually have several recipes for pastry cream. I use one that’s thickened with flour and egg yolks only as a base for soufflés or even ice creams or other desserts where I want a stable but soft custard. I use one thickened with a mix of egg yolk, flour and cornstarch for a firmer custard that I might lighten with a bit of whipped cream as a filling for cream puffs.
The quantities on the first type of pastry cream are as follows:
The directions for mixing both are the same. Beat the egg yolks with half the sugar until thick and pale and ribbon consistency. Add the flour and or cornstarch (aka corn flour) and continue to mix until smooth and well combined.
Heat milk and remaining sugar until steaming. Temper the yolk mixture with some of the hot milk mixture, then add the yolk mixture back to the milk in the pan and cook until thick and smooth stirring constantly to prevent the egg from scrambling. (I use a piano whisk because I find it’s the best for making a perfectly smooth sauce). I also like to test the temperature of the custard made without cornstarch because if it goes above 180°F/82°C it will curdle, I usually cook it to about 170°F/76°C to 175°F/80°C. The one thickened with cornstarch must actually come to the boil in order to thicken properly, the cornstarch protects egg mixture from scrambling.
After I remove it from the heat I add the vanilla (or about 30g/1 oz of chocolate if I’m making a chocolate flavored cream). If I’m adding a liqueur I might add it earlier to allow the alcohol to cook off.
You can also make a pastry cream using only cornstarch as a thickener, it does tend to make the resultant custard a bit more translucent, and much firmer than a flour or flour / cornstarch mix custard. Never add cornstarch without first mixing it with a small amount of liquid into a paste because it’s nearly impossible to keep it from clumping if you just toss it straight into a larger quantity of liquid. That being said you can always strain the clumps out of a lumpy custard, but I’ve found that mixing the yolks first with the sugar and starch really prevents most of the trouble you might find with any clumping.
I don’t know whether this recipe is an entirely traditional key lime pie (I guess it can’t be if you’re using Tahitian Limes), but it’s still very tasty. If you want to be more true to tradition, find key limes (or Mexican limes), don’t add the beaten egg whites before cooking and reduce the cooking time to 15 – 18 minutes; that will give you a denser filling, but I find it a bit too sweet for my taste. This pie filling is lighter and some of the sweetness of the sweetened condensed milk is lifted by the whipped egg whites.
Key (or Tahitian) Lime Pie
4 tsp grated lime zest
1/2 c lime juice from 3 to 4 limes
5 large egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk (395g/14oz)
3 large egg whites Graham Cracker Crust
125g Graham Crackers/ Marie biscuits , processed to fine crumbs (1 1/4 cups)
3 tbsp sugar
5 tbsp unsalted butter , melted
Filling: Whisk zest and yolks in medium bowl for about 2 minutes, until pale green and ribbon consistency. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk, then the lime juice; set aside at room temperature and allow to thicken.
Crust: Adjust oven rack to center position and heat oven to 325°F/160°C. Mix the crumbs and sugar in medium bowl. Add butter and stir with fork until well blended. Spread the mixture into 9-inch pie pan and press over the bottom and up the sides of pan to form an even crust (or line a 9″ springform cake pan with parchment, and press evenly to the bottom of it). Bake for about 15 minutes, until lightly browned and fragrant. Transfer pan to wire rack, and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
While the crust cools, whip egg whites to stiff peaks, then fold through the lime filling. Pour the mixture onto the cooled crust and bake about 20 minutes, until center is just set; it should still be slightly wobbly when jiggled. Return pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature. Refrigerate until well chilled (about 3 hours). It can also be covered with plastic wrap sprayed with oil, laid directly on the filling and refrigerated for up to 1 day.
Garnish with freshly whipped cream and slices of sugared lime.
I really love the texture of a well made soufflé, and I really love vanilla, but until today I had not been able to come up with a recipe for a vanilla soufflé that really allowed the lusciousness of the vanilla to shine through the egg. It’s been over a year since I made my first soufflé, a chocolate affair made with some really delicious 70% cocoa solids callebaut chocolate, which to me has a slightly spicy note to the flavor that I just adore (I’ll post that recipe another day), but I’ve played repeatedly with different variations on the classic vanilla soufflé and had never come close to the sublime vanilla flavor that haunted my imagination, until today. I made the recipe as individual soufflés, but I’ve included a version for a 2 quart / 2 liter soufflé as well. Continue reading Vanilla Soufflé→
I’m posting this recipe specially for my mother who would like to know what to do with a zucchini.
2 green zucchini
1 yellow zucchini
quarter of an onion diced finely (1/4 inch dice)
half a red bell pepper (capsicum) diced fairly finely (1/4 inch dice)
1 small clove garlic (minced finely)
dash of salt & pepper
sprinkle of dried oregano
sprinkle of dried basil
sprinkle of dried parsley
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil Continue reading Zucchini en Papillote→
This makes a great light dinner with a dinner roll and a nice salad. This is even better if you have fresh corn available. Just substitute about 8 ears of corn for the creamed corn and frozen kernels. Remove the kernels from 3 ears using a chef’s knife. Grate the remaining 5 ears on the large holes of a box grater & scrape any remaining pulp off the cobs with the back of the chef’s knife. Add the grated kernels and pulp where you’d add the creamed corn and the whole kernels where you’d the frozen kernels. Continue reading Corn and Crab Chowder→
This is a really lovely dish; I generally serve it with a nice salad dressed with an Italian vinaigrette. If you don’t have pecans, hazelnuts are also very nice with this recipe. The measurements of ingredients can be a bit fluid, taste the filling and season to taste. The sage in the filling is optional as sometimes I prefer the delicacy of the pumpkin filling with no further accompaniment, and sometimes I prefer the tang of the sage to pump things up a bit. Continue reading Roasted Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Sage Butter and Toasted Pecans→
Orange sherbet is a special treat from home that I frequently miss and can’t find pre-packaged in any form here in Australia. In the US, orange sherbet is a frozen dessert made from cream or milk and orange syrup. I think here and in the UK sherbet is a type of fruit drink or fizzy powder, and maybe that’s why sherbet isn’t common here in Australia. However, with delicious oranges not far away, and having received an ice cream maker attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer from my husband for Christmas, sherbet is no longer beyond my reach. This is my favorite recipe for orange sherbet because the texture is so smooth and creamy.