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I have just finished my first term with a new intake of trainees. After six weeks of completing generic modules like first aid, kitchen safety, fire safety, computing, etc they finally got into the kitchen a few weeks ago. As you can imagine they were chomping at the bit (as one put it) to don their whites and get into the kitchen.

Crème PatisserieThey have just completed their first end of term assessment, a peach flan, in which was included the production of a sweet pastry and a filling called crème patisserie. This is basically a fresh egg custard (Crème Anglaise) that is quite thick in consistency, so it can support the weight of the peaches. As you can see they did wonderfully, remembering they have only been with me for just over two months.

This crème patisserie is wonderful for so many things. It can be used to fill flans, to pipe into éclairs and profiteroles, to fill gateaux, to pipe nicely onto plates and covered with fresh berries or other fruits, in trifles, etc. It is also a great way to learn many important techniques in the kitchen.

Or even as a base for fresh ice creams - I collected all the small amounts the trainees had left over and made a fresh peach ice cream and a Japanese green tea ice cream! (I hate wastage!)

Another use is for filling meringue nests. The best thing about this is, after you have made the meringues from the egg whites, you now have a use for all those left over egg yolks. Often when people make this for the first (or subsequent) time, they end up with scrambled eggs by applying too much heat at the wrong time, but by following all my tips, you should be making it like a pro, straight away (or at the very least after the second time).

I am sure this wonderful mixture will be a delight to add to your cooking arsenal and you will find many, many uses for it. You will also I am sure delight in its freshness and flavour and much prefer it to instant custard powder, or tinned custards. Want to do something different with it? Try adding other flavours instead of, or in addition to, the vanilla such as fruit essences, cognac or your favourite liqueur (try some Galliano and add some chopped liquorice at the end!) or maybe some good cooking chocolate or Belgian cocoa as the milk heats - the opportunities are endless!


Ingredients for Crème Patisserie

egg yolks - large
egg yolks (small - medium)
castor sugar
vanilla pod (split)

How to make Crème Patisserie

  • In a saucepan, bring milk slowly to the boil with half of the sugar and vanilla pod, allow to cool slightly and remove the vanilla pod (scrape the seeds back into the milk)
  • In a bowl whisk egg yolks with the remaining sugar until pale and slightly thickened
  • Sift flour and mix thoroughly with egg mixture
  • Pour milk onto egg mix whisking continuously
  • Return to a clean pan and stir with a wooden spatula to the boil over a gentle heat until it starts to thicken, then using a whisk stir to ensure it is of a smooth, lump free texture
  • Taste and correct; add some vanilla essence if required (but use a good one, not imitation)
  • Place some Clingfilm over the surface and chill until required (the Clingfilm will prevent a skin from forming)
  • On removing from the chiller, whisk lightly or pass through a strainer to combine and ensure the mixture is smooth and lump free

Chef's Tip:

  • The eggs are the main flavouring, colouring and thickening agent, the flour is there to stabilise the mixture only
  • Ensure milk does not over-boil but it must be just off boiling point when used
  • Temper the egg mixture by adding a little milk at a time to start with; this will ensure that the egg mixture will not scramble
  • Add the milk to the egg mixture when just off boiling point, this will mean a shorter cooking time at stage #5 lessening the chance of the crème patisserie from burning and/or turning to scrambled eggs
  • Return to the stove on a medium- low immediately (so as not to lose temperature) and continuously stir until thickened - stir with a wooden spatula, ensuring the bottom of the pan is scraped and the corners are reached and switch to a whisk as it really starts to thicken
  • The final mixture should be quite thick in consistency to hold the weight of the fruit if using for a flan
  • Whisk or pass just before using to ensure a smooth consistency, thin with cream if required
  • The mixture must be thick enough to be able to hold the weight of the peaches, if it removed too soon off the heat / too thin the fruits will sink

Chef's terminology:

litres   tsp = teaspoon
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Enjoy your Crème Patisserie and bon appetit . . .

Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com