A creamy, rich chocolate pastry cream (aka chocolate creme patissiere) for piping into cream puffs, eclairs, mille-feuille, and more. Plus, all you need are 8 ingredients and a fairly simple process to perfect chocolate creme patissiere every single time!
First, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour/starch, salt, and cacao powder into a large bowl.
Meanwhile, pour the milk and vanilla extract into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-low heat. Once boiled, remove from the heat.
Pour the hot milk in a slow and steady stream, gradually, over the egg mixture, whisking constantly to stop the eggs from cooking.
Once thoroughly combined, heat the mixture back in the pan over low-medium heat, whisking constantly, until thickened. This should take between 5-10 minutes.Top Tip: Avoid high heat and heating the mixture too quickly as it can cook the eggs and lead to lumpy or curdled results.
Eventually, the mixture will begin to have 'popping' bubbles appear on the surface, and that means it's ready. At this point, turn off the heat, add in the finely chopped chocolate and whisk until fully melted and incorporated.
Next, add the butter and stir well. You can, optionally, sieve the mixture - though if it's all fully incorporated and not at all lumpy, then this isn't necessary.
Transfer the pastry cream to a large shallow dish (like a baking tray) and cover the top of the ream with wax paper or plastic wrap to stop a film/skin forming.
Allow the chocolate pastry cream to cool to room temperature then chill in the fridge (or freezer- but be careful not to freeze it as it will ruin the texture) until thoroughly chilled. You may need to whisk it once chilled to make it super-smooth, before piping.When ready to use, transfer it into a piping bag and go ahead!
How To Store
You can allow the creme patissiere to chill in the fridge for up to 3 days before using it. Just make sure to whisk/beat the mixture so that it's silky smooth.This is not freezer friendly as it can curdle the cream and will completely change the texture once thawed.
You can add extra flavor to this chocolate pastry cream with the likes of cinnamon, alcohol like rum or bourbon, espresso for a mocha twist, and extracts such as mint or orange, etc.
For less sugar content, you could sub some of the sugar with a granulated sweetener like erythritol/stevia. I've never tried subbing the entire amount.
Add a little espresso powder to enhance the chocolate flavor without making this pastry cream taste like coffee. If using add it to the milk/cream right from the very beginning when heating it.
For a dairy-free version of this recipe, you can use plant-based milk and butter.
If the cream is too thick once chilled then whisk the mixture, adding a little extra milk as you go.
If the cream is too thin once chilled then you can place it back on the stove, add a little extra cornstarch (around 1/2tbsp at a time), and heat until thickened.
You can easily turn this into diplomat cream by folding stabilized whipped cream (with gelatin/veggie gel) into the creme patissiere.