Orange Pastry Cream

  • Yield: Makes 1 cup

Source: Martha Stewart Living, June 1998


  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 strips (1 by 2 inches) orange zest, from 1 orange
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 large whole egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces


  1. In a small saucepan, combine milk, orange zest, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Scrape in vanilla seeds, and add the pod. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and cover. Set aside 10 minutes; discard orange zest and vanilla pod.

  2. Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl. In a small bowl, mix together remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with cornstarch. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg and egg yolk; add the sugar mixture, and continue whisking until pale yellow.

  3. Return milk mixture to heat. Bring to a boil, scraping vanilla seeds from sides of pan.

  4. Slowly ladle half of boiling milk mixture into egg-yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Transfer this new mixture back to saucepan.

  5. Set pan over medium heat, whisking constantly and scraping sides and edges of pan. Once mixture comes to a boil, whisk vigorously until very thick, about 1 1/2 minutes.

  6. Remove pan from heat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape pastry cream into a medium bowl; set over ice bath. Whisk butter, piece by piece, into the pastry cream while still warm. Let cool completely. Lay plastic wrap on surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming; wrap tightly. Store pastry cream, refrigerated, up to 1 day.


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