Spiced Pastry Cream

Boston "Scream" Pie
Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Here's something a little sweet, a little spicy, and all around spooky. This pastry cream—made with egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, milk, ginger, and cinnamon—is the luscious filling for Boston "Scream" Pie.


  • 3 large egg yolks

  • ¼ cup sugar

  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch

  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 ¼ cups whole milk

  • ¼ teaspoon coarse salt

  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger

  • teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) unsalted butter


  1. Whisk yolks and sugar in a small bowl. Mix cornstarch and flour in another small bowl. Bring milk, salt, and spices to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove saucepan from heat. Whisk cornstarch mixture into yolk mixture, and then immediately whisk 2 tablespoons milk mixture into yolk mixture. Whisk in remaining milk mixture in a slow, steady stream.

  2. Return mixture to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it begins to thicken and registers 160 degrees on a candy thermometer, 1 to 2 minutes.

  3. Strain mixture through a fine sieve into a heatproof bowl, and whisk in vanilla and butter until smooth. Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on surface, and refrigerate until cold and thick, at least 1 hour (or up to 1 day).

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