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Chocolate Pastry Cream

Chocolate Pastry Cream is a rich and chocolatey variation of a basic vanilla pastry cream. Use it to fill eclairs or as a cream pie filling. One recipe, so many possibilities.

chocolate pastry cream being spread into a chocolate crust

What is Chocolate Pastry Cream?

Chocolate Pastry Cream is a custard. A custard is simply a liquid (often a dairy product) that is thickened with eggs. Creme Anglaise is a custard sauce, and Lemon curd is a custard made with fruit juice.

The difference between Pastry Cream and Creme Anglaise is that Pastry Cream has starch added to thicken the custard.

Whereas Creme Anglaise flows and is used as a sauce, pastry cream is thick enough to fill a cake, tart or pastry and hold it’s shape when sliced.

Scroll through the process photos to see how to make Chocolate Pastry Cream:

eggs in a bowl, milk in a saucepan, vanilla in a bowl and chocolate and butter in a bowl.
Assemble all the ingredients before you begin cooking.
1. Hot milk pouring into a bowl of eggs. 2. Pouring eggs and milk into a saucepan. 3. A pot of thickened custard.
1. Pour the scalding milk into the eggs. 2. Return the custard to the pan and cook over low heat. 3. Cook until the custard just begins to boil and it thickens.
1. Pouring hot custard into a sieve. 2. A bowl of chocolate with warm custard and an empty sieve.
1. Immediately pour the custard through a sieve. 2. The hot custard will melt the chocolate and butter.
1. Mixing chocolate into warm custard. 2. A bowl of chocolate pastry cream. 3. A bowl of pastry cream covered with wax paper.
Whisk the hot pastry cream until the butter and chocolate are completely melted and mixed in. Place a piece of wax paper or buttered parchment directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until ready to use.

Tips for making Chocolate Pastry Cream

  • To avoid boil-over, do not let the milk mixture come to a full boil. When the milk is steaming and you see lots of little bubbles around the edges and foam across the surface, the milk is scalded and ready to mix with the eggs. 
  • Whisk the eggs and yolks with the corn starch until smooth. This will prevent lumps from forming when the starch is added to the hot milk. 
  • There’s no need to melt the chocolate before you add it to the custard. The heat of the freshly cooked cream will melt the chocolate as you stir it in.
  • If you don’t want alcohol you can leave the rum out.
  • Place waxed paper or buttered parchment directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming as the custard cools.
  • Avoid stirring or whisking the custard after it’s chilled. If you vigorously stir chilled pastry cream you’ll break the starch bonds and the custard will become soupy. 
  • Chocolate pastry cream will keep for 2-3 days in the refrigerator.

How to use Chocolate Pastry Cream

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Chocolate Pastry Cream

Chocolate Pastry Cream is a rich and chocolatey variation of a basic pastry cream. Use it to fill eclairs or for a cream pie filling. One recipe, so many possibilities.
Prep Time15 mins
Bake Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
12 servings

Ingredients

  • 8 oz whole milk (1 cup)
  • 3 oz granulated sugar (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 vanilla bean (split)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 yolks
  • 3/4 oz corn starch (2 tablespoons)
  • 4 oz semi sweet chocolate (chopped)
  • 1 oz unsalted butter (2 tablespoons)
  • 2 teaspoons dark rum (optional)

Instructions

  • Place the milk, sugar and salt in a small sauce pan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add the seeds and pod to the milk. Heat over medium high until scalding.
    8 oz whole milk, 3 oz granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon table salt, 1/2 vanilla bean
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl use a hand whisk to combine the eggs, yolks and cornstarch until smooth.
    1 egg, 2 yolks, 3/4 oz corn starch
  • Whisk the scalding milk into the egg mixture, then return the custard to the pan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and just begins to boil.
  • Immediately strain the pastry cream back into a the bowl. Add the chocolate, butter and rum. Stir until the chocolate and butter are melted.
    4 oz semi sweet chocolate, 1 oz unsalted butter, 2 teaspoons dark rum (optional)
  • Cover with waxed paper or buttered parchment directly on the surface and cool to room temperature, chill several hours or overnight until completely cooled and set.

Equipment

My Book
Whisk
Fine Mesh Strainers

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Video

Nutrition

Serving: 1each | Calories: 132kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 64mg | Potassium: 91mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 157IU | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg
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