The Perfect Crema Pastelera Recipe: A Delicious and Creamy Delight

Crema pastelera, also known as pastry cream, is a versatile and delicious custard that is widely used in various desserts. Its smooth and creamy texture, combined with its rich vanilla flavor, makes it a perfect filling for cakes, pastries, and tarts. In this article, we will explore the history of crema pastelera, its key ingredients, and step-by-step instructions to create the perfect crema pastelera at home.

The History of Crema Pastelera

Crema pastelera has a long and rich history that dates back to ancient times. The origins of this delightful custard can be traced back to the Middle Ages, where it was commonly used in European cuisine. The recipe for crema pastelera has evolved over the centuries, with different regions adding their own unique twists and flavors.

One of the earliest recorded recipes for crema pastelera can be found in a 14th-century Catalan cookbook called “Llibre de Sent Soví.” This recipe included ingredients such as milk, sugar, egg yolks, and spices. Over time, the recipe spread throughout Europe and became a staple in French, Italian, and Spanish cuisine.

The Key Ingredients

To create the perfect crema pastelera, you will need the following key ingredients:

  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup of cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

These ingredients are readily available in most kitchens and can be easily sourced from your local grocery store. The quality of the ingredients used will greatly impact the final taste and texture of the crema pastelera, so it is important to choose fresh and high-quality products.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Now that we have gathered our ingredients, let’s dive into the step-by-step instructions to create the perfect crema pastelera:

Step 1: Heat the Milk

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until it reaches a gentle simmer. Be careful not to let it boil.

Step 2: Combine Sugar and Egg Yolks

In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until well combined. This will create a smooth and creamy base for the crema pastelera.

Step 3: Add Cornstarch

Add the cornstarch to the sugar and egg yolk mixture and whisk until fully incorporated. The cornstarch will help thicken the custard and give it a smooth consistency.

Step 4: Temper the Eggs

Slowly pour a small amount of the heated milk into the sugar, egg yolk, and cornstarch mixture while whisking continuously. This process, known as tempering, prevents the eggs from curdling when they come into contact with the hot milk.

Step 5: Cook the Custard

Pour the tempered egg mixture back into the saucepan with the remaining milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens and coats the back of a spoon. This process usually takes around 5-7 minutes.

Step 6: Add Vanilla Extract

Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. The vanilla extract adds a delightful aroma and flavor to the crema pastelera.

Step 7: Chill and Serve

Transfer the crema pastelera to a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, ensuring that the plastic wrap touches the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate the crema pastelera for at least 2 hours or until it is completely chilled. Once chilled, it is ready to be used as a filling or enjoyed on its own.


Q: Can I use a different flavor instead of vanilla extract?

A: Absolutely! While vanilla extract is the traditional flavoring for crema pastelera, you can experiment with different extracts such as almond, lemon, or even coffee to add a unique twist to your custard.

Q: Can I use whole eggs instead of just egg yolks?

A: While using whole eggs is possible, using only egg yolks will result in a richer and creamier custard. The egg yolks contain more fat, which contributes to the smooth and velvety texture of the crema pastelera.

Q: How long can I store crema pastelera?

A: Crema pastelera can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Make sure to keep it in an airtight container to maintain its freshness.

Q: Can I freeze crema pastelera?

A: Yes, you can freeze crema pastelera for up to 2 months. However, keep in mind that the texture may slightly change after thawing, so it is best to use it as a filling rather than enjoying it on its own.

Q: What desserts can I make with crema pastelera?

A: Crema pastelera is a versatile custard that can be used in various desserts. It is commonly used as a filling for cakes, pastries, and tarts. You can also use it as a base for other desserts such as cream puffs, éclairs, or even as a topping for pancakes or waffles.


Crema pastelera is a delightful custard that adds a touch of elegance and creaminess to any dessert. With its rich history and simple ingredients, it is a versatile recipe that can be easily recreated at home. By following the step-by-step instructions and experimenting with different flavors, you can create your own unique version of this classic custard. So why not give it a try and indulge in the creamy goodness of crema pastelera?

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