Folded chocolate crêpe on dollops of custard garnished with orange peel and powered sugar.

Pastry Custard


Surely every parent has resorted to food based bribery. Desperate times call for desperate measures: Ida’s parents discovered the most effective of these rewards, and those were the giant eclairs at Quack’s Bakery in Austin, TX (she’s certain they were as big as her face) filled with some unidentified delicious substance. In later years she discovered both that this substance is called pastry custard and that it is quite easy to make.

For future reference, pastry custard makes an excellent impression when hosting a brunch. Serve with crêpes - the watery pancakes that everyone thinks are oh so fancy because they are French. Ooh la la.



  1. Beat the eggs and sugar together.
  2. Mix in the cornstarch - put the dry cornstarch in a bowl and add the wet ingredient on top of it. This will help with avoiding lumpiness.
  3. Mix the milk into the egg mixture.
  4. Pour the mixture into a medium saucepan and cook over low heat, whisking constantly. It will seem to thicken slowly but then firm up very suddenly in the last few minutes (after about 7 to 10 minutes).
  5. Stir in the vanilla and heavy cream.


The pastry cream has one deceptive moment: it will thicken rather suddenly and a failure to beat the mixture continuously at the moment when it thickens will leave you with a weird lumpy custard.

This recipe can also produce lemon curd by just replacing the milk with concentrated lemon juice.