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.

Lightened Up Pastry Cream Recipe

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.

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. Just try it. You will never try another pastry cream recipe. This is so good!

I’ve often had issues with pastry cream 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 pastry 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 Recipe

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.

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.

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

5 from 2 votes
Lightened Up Pastry Cream Recipe
Lightened Up Pastry Cream Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
25 mins

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.

Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Servings: 10
Calories: 338 kcal
  • 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
  1. Bring milk and 1/2 of the sugar to a boil. Reduce heat to low.

  2. In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks, egg, the remaining sugar, corn starch and vanilla.

  3. 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.

  4. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Let it cool to room temperature.

  5. 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. 

  6. 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.

  7. Pour into glasses, or use to fill cakes, eclairs or tarts. 

Recipe Notes

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

Nutrition Facts
Lightened Up Pastry Cream Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 338 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g 42%
Saturated Fat 16g 80%
Cholesterol 179mg 60%
Sodium 50mg 2%
Potassium 114mg 3%
Total Carbohydrates 19g 6%
Sugars 12g
Protein 4g 8%
Vitamin A 21.7%
Vitamin C 0.3%
Calcium 10%
Iron 1.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.