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A Classic Pastry Cream

Daytona Strong
This recipe is great to have on hand for cakes such as the Kvæfjordkake featured here, as well as for a way to simply dress up some sun-ripened berries.
Adapted from my cookbook Modern Scandinavian Baking: A Cookbook of Sweet Treats and Savory Bakes
Servings 2 cups


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  • Prepare an ice bath in a large bowl--it should be big enough to hold the saucepan.
  • Place the saucepan over medium heat and add the milk. Bring it to a simmer, then remove from the heat.
  • In a bowl, beat the sugar and eggs until the sugar starts dissolving, then whik in the cornstach.
  • Slowly pour a half cup of the warm milk into the bowl with the sugar and eggs, then gradually pour this back into the saucepan, whisking constantly--you're tempering the eggs here, so they won't ccurdle.
  • Return the pan to medium heat and whisk until the custard thickens a bit.
  • Set the pan into the icebath and add the butter. Stir or whisk until the butter melts and the pastry cream is smooth. Then stir in the vanilla.
  • Cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and chill until cool, then it's ready to use.