- In a saucepan off the heat, combine the sugar and flour. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth.
- Gradually whisk in the hot milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly, being careful to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes over low heat. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
- To prevent a skin to form on the surface of the pastry cream, place plastic wrap directly on the hot cream. Let cool.
- Refrigerate until completely chilled, about 3 hours.
You can also rub the surface with a piece of butter. The butter will melt and prevent a skin to form. This is the method to use when the cream is poured directly into a baked pastry shell, for the surface to remain nice and smooth.
Change the flavour!
For a coffee pastry cream ...
Add 45 ml (3 tablespoons) of coffee beans coarsely crushed into the hot milk and let steep, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain the flavoured milk through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and continue with the recipe.
For an orange pastry cream, substitute the vanilla extract by 30 ml (2 tablespoons) of grated orange zest. Add the orange zest to the hot milk and let steep, covered, for 5 minutes. Strain the flavoured milk through a sieve lined with cheesecloth and continue with the recipe.
For a chocolate pastry cream, add 56 g (2 oz) of semisweet chocolate, at the same time as the vanilla. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth.