Pastry Cream Disaster!


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Hi Everyone!

I had a go at making vanilla pastry cream, custard the old-fashioned way with vanilla and egg yolks etc, then when it's cool mix with whipped cream.

Both the custard and the cream were a bit too thick, but not so much that it was a disaster.

However when I mixed them together it went watery and was unusable, I don't understand how mixing two ingredients together that were too thick to begin with can then go watery?

It was very frustrating because it was expensive to make and it all went in the trash.

Also it was a very unappealing beige-pale yellow colour, not sunshine yellow like my favourite YouTube bakers do, at first I thought it was because of the vanilla bean paste but it's exactly the same one they use on YT.

Thank you for your thoughts in advance

Rebecca
 
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Hi Everyone!

I had a go at making vanilla pastry cream, custard the old-fashioned way with vanilla and egg yolks etc, then when it's cool mix with whipped cream.

Both the custard and the cream were a bit too thick, but not so much that it was a disaster.

However when I mixed them together it went watery and was unusable, I don't understand how mixing two ingredients together that were too thick to begin with can then go watery?

It was very frustrating because it was expensive to make and it all went in the trash.

Also it was a very unappealing beige-pale yellow colour, not sunshine yellow like my favourite YouTube bakers do, at first I thought it was because of the vanilla bean paste but it's exactly the same one they use on YT.

Thank you for your thoughts in advance

Rebecca

hello Rebecca. please link the recipe you used. Not knowing the portions or the methods used it’s impossible to know what could’ve possibly gone wrong. I’ll be out most of the day so I probably won’t get back to you until tomorrow sometime.
 
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then when it's cool mix with whipped cream.

Rebecca

Cool is your problem. It has to be very cold not merely cool, 35-38fF is good.

To get the heat out asap, pour it out onto a clean tray and cover with plastic wrap to prevent skinning.
After it sets firm, place into a mixer with a paddle and beat it smooth .
Remove from mixer and chill again.
Whip cream STIFF, don't add sugar , that will increase the odds it becomes sloppy.
Fold them together,
I just drop the pastry cream back in the machine with the whip cream, just blend and chill, its got to be kept very cold at all times.

The method he uses is for creme anglais not pastry cream .
Its really a lot faster and simpler than he thinks. It takes 7 minutes start to finish.

 
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Thank you so much retired baker, when I reflect I bet the custard was more than just 'cool' when I mixed the whipped cream in, it was probably still quite warm.

Thank you also for the link.

Rebecca
 
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I've watched the video, I have two questions if that's okay...?

1. Would it be okay to put a drop of yellow food colouring in the pastry cream is for filling finger donuts, I want them to look nice

2. Where does the vanilla flavour come from, at which stage is it okay to add the vanilla.
 
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Hi Everyone!

I had a go at making vanilla pastry cream, custard the old-fashioned way with vanilla and egg yolks etc, then when it's cool mix with whipped cream.

Both the custard and the cream were a bit too thick, but not so much that it was a disaster.

However when I mixed them together it went watery and was unusable, I don't understand how mixing two ingredients together that were too thick to begin with can then go watery?

It was very frustrating because it was expensive to make and it all went in the trash.

Also it was a very unappealing beige-pale yellow colour, not sunshine yellow like my favourite YouTube bakers do, at first I thought it was because of the vanilla bean paste but it's exactly the same one they use on YT.

Thank you for your thoughts in advance

Rebecca

Rebecca,

Ratios: this is an American recipe. You are British. Ingredients get lost in translation because some of our ingredients are not the same. American eggs are significantly smaller than British eggs. (see chart below). So the ratio of cornstarch to eggs is definitely off. For future reference, the web opens up the world to you, but keep in mind that there are major differences in ingredients from country to country. Some really important things to watch out for but do not translate our differences in flour and sugar. Your domestic flour is significantly lower in protein. Much of the sugar in Europe is unfortunately sugar beet sugar rather than cane sugar. Cane sugar will always be labeled as cane sugar. Sugar beet sugar is never labeled as such. Sugar beet sugar does not caramelize well at all. Since it does not caramelized, it does not produce the Milliard effect, so it has no browning effect in baking, so no added flavoring to that either. And you can’t use it for things like a crème brûlée topping. (See photo)

Cooking time was insufficient: after returning to the stovetop you must constantly whisk while cooking over a medium heat for 2 full minutes to fully cook the starch. It is critical to stir the bottom and the sides of the pot with a wire whisk during the cooking process to avoid scorching. It must reach a boil and maintain the boil over medium heat for minimum of 2 minutes. Cornstarch must fully swell (full starch gelatinization), otherwise when it cools, it will become runny.

Cool as quickly as possible. After cooking, spread in a thin layer 2” deep in shallow container. Cover directly with plastic wrap on the cream to prevent a skin from forming.

So what is starch gelatinization?

Starch is made up of glucose, which is made up of amylose and amylopectin. Essentially what happens is the starch molecule absorbs water, then bursts, leaking out amylose. The amylose then creates a network of bonds that thickens the solution.

But over time the thickening can retrograde (reverse). So it’s critical that the custard or pastry cream cooked with cornstarch be cooked To the correct temperature and long enough to prevent retrogradation. (See link to video)





When adding whipped cream to pastry cream it’s called crème diplomat. Whipped cream contains a lot of moisture so destabilizes in about 24 hrs or less. So gelatin is used in crème diplomat to stabilize it.

@retiredbaker
Preppy kitchen is a pastry creme as it contains starch.

crème anglaise = milk/cream + egg yolks - no starch


pastry cream/custard/crème patissiere = milk/cream + egg yolks + cornstarch/flour


crème diplomat = pastry cream + whipped cream + gelatin



yolk weighs about 38% of the large raw egg

Eggs must meet a MINIMUM size to be included in a grade side. So any egg in the US between 56.7g - 63.7g is graded as a large egg.
United States
SizeMinimum mass per egg
Jumbo70.9 g2.5 oz
Extra-Large (XL)63.8 g2.25 oz.
Large (L)56.7 g2 oz.
Medium (M)49.6 g1.75 oz.
Small (S)42.5 g1.5 oz.
Peewee35.4 g1.25 oz.
Canada
SizeMinimum mass per egg
Jumbo70 g
Extra Large63 g
Large56 g
Medium49 g
Europe
SizeMinimum mass per egg
Extra large (XL)73 g
Large (L)63 g
Medium (M)53 g
Small (S)Less than 53 g


Pastry Cream Formula Based on San Francisco Baking Institute


Baker’s %IngredientsGrams
100.00Milk610
7.00Cornstarch43
25.00Sugar152, divided
20.00Egg yolks122
12.00Butter73
164.00TOTAL1000


Process:
Divide sugar
  1. Whisk half of the sugar with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks just to combine, without incorporating air. Set aside.
  2. Bring the milk to a boil with remaining sugar over medium high heat.
  3. 3. Once the milk comes to a boil, pour 1/3 of it onto the yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
  4. Whisk this mixture back to the pot.
  5. Over medium heat, continue to cook the custard while stirring constantly with a whisk until it boils (large bubbles will break the surface). Lower heat slighty and maintain the boil for two minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat, add the butter and stir until mixed in completely.
  7. Pour the pastry cream into a clean, shallow container and press plastic wrap directly on the surface.
  8. Refrigerate immediately and allow to fully cool before using.
  9. To use, mix briefly with a paddle attachment or rubber spatula until smooth.


Flavor variations: add any of the following ingredients to pastry cream for different flavor variations.

Pastry cream should be at the temperature specified when adding the flavoring below for best results. Percentages are based on the total weight of the pastry cream.


Unsweetened chocolate12%hot
Coffee extract3%hot or cold
Alcohol5%warm or cold
Bittersweet chocolate20%hot
Praline paste15% - 20%hot or cold
Vanilla bean1 bean per 1kg milk; split & scraped; add to milk at beginning of cooking process
Vanilla extract1%warm or cold




Such for reference of difference between sugar beet sugar and cane sugar. The brûlée on right was made with sugar beet sugar and the one on the left with cane sugar. Sugar beet sugar is so inferior pastry chefs will not use the crap. It cannot be made into brown sugar because the molasses is so inferior it can only be use for animal feed. And really I don’t even think it should be used for animal feed. To make beet sugar brown sugar they use cane sugar molasses.

09A9FB4C-DF0D-4124-8414-DF1A127DFE93.jpeg
 
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I made a correction on the instructions for making pastry. The sugar division should be 25%/75%.

Process:
Divide sugar
  1. Whisk 1/4 of the sugar with the cornstarch in a small bowl. Whisk in the egg yolks just to combine, without incorporating air. Set aside.
  2. Bring the milk to a boil with remaining sugar over medium high heat.
  3. 3. Once the milk comes to a boil, pour 1/3 of it onto the yolk mixture, whisking constantly.
  4. Whisk this mixture back to the pot.
  5. Over medium heat, continue to cook the custard while stirring constantly with a whisk until it boils (large bubbles will break the surface). Lower heat slighty and maintain the boil for two minutes.
  6. Remove from the heat, add the butter and stir until mixed in completely.
  7. Pour the pastry cream into a clean, shallow container and press plastic wrap directly on the surface.
  8. Refrigerate immediately and allow to fully cool before using.
  9. To use, mix briefly with a paddle attachment or rubber spatula until smooth
 
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I've watched the video, I have two questions if that's okay...?

1. Would it be okay to put a drop of yellow food colouring in the pastry cream is for filling finger donuts, I want them to look nice

2. Where does the vanilla flavour come from, at which stage is it okay to add the vanilla.

Nah don't use coloring, just go with yolks instead of whole egg , 4 yolks instead of 2 eggs works fine.
Use .8 of a quart if using imperial (UK) measurements.
I don't use vanilla, don't care for it, I much prefer to add dark rum after beating the stone cold custard smooth.
Keep it simple, you won't have any problem.
 
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Hello Norcalbaker

Thank you for taking the time to do this you are very kind.

...but

I did use cups and there was nothing wrong with my custard or whipped cream they were a tiny bit too thick (but I know how to remedy that) the problem arose when I mixed them together, but like Retired Baker has pointed out, it was because the custard was way too warm when I added the cream. :)
 
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Hello Norcalbaker

Thank you for taking the time to do this you are very kind.

...but

I did use cups and there was nothing wrong with my custard or whipped cream they were a tiny bit too thick (but I know how to remedy that) the problem arose when I mixed them together, but like Retired Baker has pointed out, it was because the custard was way too warm when I added the cream. :)

No offense but If there was nothing wrong with your pastry cream you wouldn’t have this post titled “Pastry Cream Disaster” and you would’ve actually had a pastry cream that you could’ve used rather one that went in the trash.
 
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Apologies but I meant there was nothing wrong with the custard or cream, it was when I mixed them together to create what 'Preppy Kitchen' calls 'pastry cream' that the disaster occurred, I felt I made that clear in my original post. :)

As for the name of it, it's not relevant to the post.
 
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Apologies but I meant there was nothing wrong with the custard or cream, it was when I mixed them together to create what 'Preppy Kitchen' calls 'pastry cream' that the disaster occurred, I felt I made that clear in my original post. :)

As for the name of it, it's not relevant to the post.

But there was something wrong with it. That’s why it completely disintegrated into a watery mess. It was made incorrectly from the beginning. That’s what happens when a pastry cream, or any custard is made properly. Initially it looks normal or some what normal. Then retrogradation occurs and the custard disintegrates into a watery mess. Your pastry cream followed the exact pattern of an starch gelatinization and retrogradation—when it’s improperly made.

Culinary schools have been teaching the science of starch gelatinization for decades. These are the fundamentals of science in baking and cooking. But they are also taught in biology and chemistry classes. I first learned about protein denaturation and starch gelatinization in college biology and chemistry because they are fundamental to science as well.

there are no culinary programs that use cups and teaspoons in their teaching methods. And in fact all those who write cookbooks that have professional training don’t use cups and teaspoons in their own baking. But in the US because home bakers are stubborn and refuse to use metric weight. But that’s also the fault of publishers as they insist cookbooks be written with volume measurements.

Some of us refuse to do business on those terms. I was approached by a company to develop a gluten free pie crust using their product, which I already use in my pie crust. I declined because they wanted the recipe in volume measurements.
DF82201A-1C35-41CD-8BFB-9D5E65BBDF76.jpeg
 

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