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The Best Lightened Up Pastry Cream Recipe. It tastes delicious on its own, but also makes a great filling for cakes, cupcakes, cream puffs, donuts,eclairs or cakes in a jar. I used it in a cream tart recipe, which I’ll share with you next.

Lightened Up Pastry Cream in a bowl with a whisk

I’ve wanted to share this recipe with you for a while. This Lightened Up Pastry Cream is so good and it is very simple easy to make.

What is pastry cream?

It is a thick, creamy custard used as a filling for cakes or flans. There are different versions of it, but I use one from a pastry class that calls for egg yolks, cornstarch, link, sugar and vanilla.

Even if you are not using a traditional recipe and have one that works for you, I think it is totally fine to do so.

Is pastry cream the same as custard? Yes, often times at a bakery you may hear the term custard instead of pastry cream.

How to make Lightened Up Pastry Cream?

You start with regular pastry cream, then you add whipped cream to lighten it up and make it airy and fluffy.

Then you add some gelatin to make it more stable and thick.

Just try it.

You will never try another recipe. This is so good!

In this recipe I’m referring to making pastry cream from scratch. I’m not a fan of using powdered pastry cream or pudding.

Stable Pastry Cream

I’ve often had issues with custard recipes, but after I tried this one, I’m confident that I can make one that tastes delicious and has a great, stable texture.

This is very important in baking.

Traditional custard cream is thick.

It works great for many desserts. But I prefer the lighter version.

So how do you lighten up pastry cream? By adding whipped cream to it.

How do you stabilize it ? By adding gelatin. It is that easy!

Lightened Up Pastry Cream in a glass bowl

Issues I’ve encountered, when making pastry cream:

1.Depending on the recipe and cooking method, you can overcook it and it can curdle. Then you need to start a new batch.

2.When using flour, it is best to add it to the beaten eggs (egg yolks) and then add the milk.

3.If the recipe calls for too much flour, the pastry cream often tastes too floury. Even if you add large amounts of vanilla. So my suggestion is to add either equal amounts of flour and cornstarch, or just use cornstarch. This is what I did here.

4.Your pastry cream may not be smooth. The easiest thing to do is to strain it while still hot, before adding the whipped cream

5.Should you cook pastry cream over a double boiler? Well, if you are careful and have some experience, you can cook it directly on the stove top. If you don’t feel confident, just cook the custard on a double boiler.

6.Do you really need to add the gelatin? Yes, otherwise the cream will be too runny. Just follow the instructions.

Cream Diplomat, Mousseline

Pastry cream like this one is often called Cream Diplomat. When pastry cream is lightened up with whipped cream,  but no gelatin is added, it is also called mousseline.

The Whipped Cream that lightens up pastry cream

Last, but not least – you have to whip the cream to soft to medium peaks, not stiff (hard).

The reason why is -because the longer you beat the heavy cream, the higher the risk of it turning grainy in texture. When the cream is grainy and you add it to the pastry cream, then refrigerate it, the lightened up pastry cream gets grainy and with a weird texture. We want is creamy and fluffy, that’s why the whipped cream needs to be perfect.

I also wanted to share, that this is not 100% traditional and authentic recipe.

I’ve tested it many times and added some changes to perfect it for my style of cooking/baking.

How long does pastry Cream keep well in the fridge?

It will keep well in the fridge for 5-7 days.

Can you freeze this lightened up pastry cream?

Pastry cream should not be frozen because it breaks down after thawing and it doesn’t not taste well.

Can you reheat pastry cream?

Yes, you can reheat regular pastry cream, but not this lightened up version. Once you add the whipped cream, it should be chilled and not reheated.

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Lightened Up Pastry Cream Recipe
5 from 1 vote

Lightened Up Pastry Cream Recipe

The Best Lightened Up Pastry Cream Recipe. It tastes delicious on its own, but also makes a great filling for cakes, eclairs or cakes in a jar. I used it in a cream tart recipe, which I'll share with you next.
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 10


  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 packs powdered gelatin, (7 grams each)
  • 1/3 cup cold water


  • Bring milk and 1/2 of the sugar to a boil. Reduce heat to low.
  • In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks, egg, the remaining sugar, corn starch and vanilla.
  • Add 1/2 cup of the hot milk to the egg mixture and whisk to combine. Then pour mixture into the sauce pan with the milk. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly. Cook for 3-5 minutes, until thickened. Add butter.
  • Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Let it cool to room temperature.
  • Sprinkle gelatin over cold water. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes, until it blooms.
    Warm up gelatin over a double boiler or for 10-20 seconds in the microwave.
    Pour gelatin over the custard, whisking constantly to combine. 
  • Beat heavy cream until soft to medium peaks (5-6 minutes on medium speed). Do not overbeat, it will ruin the texture of the pastry cream.
    For soft-medium peaks - if you take your whisk out of the bowl, more of the cream will cling to the whisk but any peaks will quickly soften and curl.
    Fold into the custard.
  • Pour into glasses, or use to fill cakes, eclairs or tarts. 


The cream needs to be used immediately, otherwise it will set for 30-60 min


Calories: 338kcal, Carbohydrates: 19g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 27g, Saturated Fat: 16g, Cholesterol: 179mg, Sodium: 50mg, Potassium: 114mg, Sugar: 12g, Vitamin A: 1085IU, Vitamin C: 0.2mg, Calcium: 100mg, Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Tried this recipe?Mention @cookinglsl or tag #cookinglsl!

Recipes that call for Pastry Cream:

Yes, you can use this cream in this Custard Cream Horns recipe.

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Hi! I'm Mira.

I share simple, mostly low-carb and Keto recipes, that don't take a lot of time to make and use mostly seasonal, easy to find ingredients. I'm a supporter of healthy eating, but you'll also find some indulgent treats too.

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  1. This sounds like the perfect pastry cream, Mira! I’ve had trouble with others too, so I will have to try this one. I love how versatile it is…so many uses and it sounds like it’s the perfect taste and texture!

  2. This sounds like an amazing recipe and I will be sure to bookmark it to use soon! 
    One correction though – when warming up the gelatin in the microwave (I have done this many times to add to whipped cream to stabilize it for use as an icing) the directions should read 10 – 20 SECONDS  not minutes! 

  3. I have been meaning to try the traditional pastry cream for ages but seeing your recipe I could just try this one instead! 🙂

    1. Hi Jonathan, yes, you can I’m pretty sure it will work, the reason why I have not recommended it is that some people are concerned about using raw egg whites. Let me know how it turns. Have a great holiday!

    1. Hi Bex, it is pretty light and will be difficult to hold a shape. Also it has gelatin, so it is pretty much set when it cools.