This chocolate pastry cream recipe is super decadent and surprisingly simple. A chocolate creme patisserie, which can be used in your bakes and cakes, as a homemade custard pudding, tart filling or for eclairs or cream puffs!
To make this easy chocolate creme patisserie, you'll need:
- Full fat milk - also known as whole milk. You'll want full fat milk here as the fat is important to the cream. You can use 2% or semi-skimmed, but I have had mixed luck at the stage of thickening the custard with less than full fat.
- Vanilla extract
- Eggs - this recipe calls for yolks and a whole egg. You can make pastry cream with yolks only (substitute two yolks for the 1 whole egg).
- Sugar - superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar will work best in this recipe.
- Cornstarch - called cornflour in the UK. This is a key thickening agent for the cream.
- Cocoa powder
- Chocolate - either chocolate chips or solid chocolate finely chopped. You can use dark or milk chocolate in this recipe depending on your taste preferences.
How to Make Chocolate Pastry Cream
The base of this recipe is the same as my classic vanilla pastry cream recipe and follows the same fundamental processes.
Your key equipment will be a heatproof jug (or other bowl) and a saucepan.
Begin by whisking together your egg yolks, whole egg, sugar, cornstarch and cocoa powder in the jug. Ensure this is thoroughly mixed and smooth.
Meanwhile, in your saucepan, gently heat the milk and vanilla, stirring occasionally. Bring the milk to a simmer over a medium heat and allow to continue simmering for about 2 minutes to ensure it it thoroughly warmed through.
Slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture whilst whisking the egg mixture continuously. This is a process of tempering your eggs. It is very important that the mixture is stirred while the hot liquid is poured slowly, otherwise the eggs will scramble.
Once the hot milk is fully incorporated into the egg, pour the whole mixture back into your saucepan and return to a medium heat. Whisk this continuously until thickened (about 3-5 minutes).
When the mixture thickens, remove the pan from the heat and add the chocolate chips or finely chopped solid chocolate. Whisk until smooth.
Pour the custard into a clean heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap onto the surface of the warm custard. This will help prevent a skin forming. Allow to cool and then transfer to the refrigerator to chill.
Uses for Chocolate Pastry Cream
The uses for chocolate creme patissiere are limitless! Some ideas are:
- Make a quick and easy chocolate tart. This is a small batch chocolate pastry cream recipe and is perfect as the filling for a standard 9" pie shell. You can use a store-bought pastry case or make your own. For a chocolatey pie crust, try my chocolate shortcrust recipe or my easy Oreo crust. If using shortcrust, you'll want to blind bake this first before filling.
- Use as a filling for eclairs or cream puffs. You can often buy choux buns or eclairs pre-made or make your own. Then simply fill with some piped chocolate pastry cream. To lighten the custard, you can fold in some whipped cream to add a bit more air to the heavy creme patissiere.
- Chocolate pastry cream as cake filling. If you're making a layered cake, this chocolate custard is a great filling. Pipe a border of buttercream around the edge of your cake layer and fill with some chocolate custard.
- Eat on its own as a chocolate pudding pot. This custard is a dessert on its own! Serve with some whipped cream or berries to cut the decadence.
Chocolate pastry cream is also known as chocolate creme patissiere (crème pâtissière). This is a sweet creamy custard used in French patisserie to fill desserts, such as tarts or eclairs.
This easy chocolate pastry cream recipe can be used in place of chocolate custard in your recipes or even eaten on its own as a decadent pudding pot.
You can store this decadent chocolate custard in the refrigerator for up to three days. After a few days in the refrigerator, it will become increasingly gelatinous and less silky/creamy.
The quick answer to this is yes, absolutely! But, due to the use of cocoa powder in this recipe, you will need to make a couple of adjustments for a white chocolate version.
For a white chocolate pastry cream, you will want to use white chocolate cocoa powder in place of standard cocoa powder and use white chocolate chips in the recipe. If you do not have access to a white chocolate cocoa powder you can also simply leave the cocoa powder out of the recipe and increase the white chocolate chips by about .5oz to enhance the flavour.
Looking for some more chocolate treats? Try:
- Two Ingredient Chocolate Mousse
- Double Chocolate Tartlets
- Chocolate Sprinkle Donuts
- No Bake Chocolate S'mores Cheesecake
Chocolate Pastry Cream
- 1 cup full fat milk or whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 2 tablespoon cornstarch or cornflour in the UK
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 1 oz chocolate chips or finely chopped solid chocolate
- In a heatproof jug (or other heatproof mixing bowl), whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, egg, yolks and cocoa powder. Once well whisked into a smooth paste, set aside.
- Meanwhile, place the milk and vanilla in a saucepan and heat over a medium temperature until simmering, stirring occasionally. Allow to simmer for about 2 minutes to ensure the milk is warmed thoroughly.
- Carefully and slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture whilst whisking the egg mixture continuously.
- Once the milk is fully incorporated, pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan and return to the heat, stirring continuously.
- Cook this over a medium heat, stirring continuously until the custard thickens (see note).
- Once thickened, remove from the heat and add the chocolate chips. Whisk these into the custard until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a clean heatproof bowl and cover with plastic wrap - placing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin forming.
- Allow this to cool and then place in the refrigerator to chill for a couple of hours before using.