Chocolate Pastry Cream Recipe

Welcome to our delicious and easy Chocolate Pastry Cream recipe! This creamy chocolate filling is perfect for creating indulgent desserts or enjoying on its own. With our homemade pastry cream, you can easily make rich chocolate custard that will impress your friends and family. Let’s get started on this decadent chocolate cream that will elevate your homemade dessert game.

Chocolate Pastry Cream Recipe

Key Takeaways:

  • Create a creamy and rich chocolate filling with our homemade pastry cream recipe.
  • Use this chocolate pastry cream as a filling for pies, eclairs, and other desserts, or enjoy it on its own.
  • Enhance the flavor and texture of your desserts with our decadent chocolate custard.
  • Experiment with different flavor variations of the chocolate pastry cream for unique and delicious creations.
  • Store your chocolate pastry cream properly for up to 3 days and use it as a versatile filling in various desserts.

The Importance of Pastry Cream in Baking

Pastry cream is a fundamental skill that every baker should have in their repertoire. It serves as a versatile base for a wide range of desserts, adding a decadent and creamy touch to your baked goods. Whether you’re looking for a filling for pies or a creamy layer for eclairs, pastry cream is the perfect solution.

With its velvety texture and rich flavor, pastry cream can elevate any dessert to the next level. Its custard-like consistency makes it an ideal filling or topping for cakes, tarts, and pastries. This delightful cream can be flavored in various ways, such as adding vanilla extract or incorporating chocolate, allowing you to create a range of delicious options to suit any preference.

Pastry cream is not only a delicious addition to your baked goods, but it also plays a vital role in enhancing their overall taste and presentation. Its smooth and creamy texture pairs perfectly with the flaky crusts, tender pastries, and delicate cakes, creating a harmonious balance of flavors and textures.

Here are just a few examples of how pastry cream can be used in baking:

  1. Pies: Pastry cream can be used as a filling for traditional fruit pies or combined with fresh berries or caramelized fruits for a tantalizing twist.
  2. Eclairs: Fill those classic French pastries with a luscious vanilla cream or a rich chocolate custard for an indulgent treat.
  3. Profiteroles: Create mini cream puffs by filling delicate choux pastry with pastry cream, then topping them off with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
  4. Truffles: Mix pastry cream with your favorite liqueur or spirit, roll it into bite-sized balls, and coat them in cocoa powder or nuts for a delightful homemade truffle.

No matter what dessert you’re making, pastry cream adds a touch of elegance and sophistication. Its versatility and creamy texture make it a staple in the world of baking, allowing you to experiment with different flavors and create unique desserts that will impress your family and friends.

So, the next time you’re whipping up a batch of desserts, don’t forget the importance of pastry cream. It’s the secret ingredient that will take your baking to new heights of deliciousness.

The Role of Chocolate in Pastry Cream

When it comes to making chocolate pastry cream, the combination of cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate plays a crucial role in achieving a deep and indulgent flavor profile.

The addition of cocoa powder brings a distinct chocolate taste to the pastry cream, imparting a rich and satisfying flavor that chocolate lovers crave. Its intense cocoa flavor lends depth and complexity to the cream, elevating it beyond a basic custard.

On the other hand, the use of bittersweet chocolate further enhances the depth of flavor and adds a creamy texture to the pastry cream. The bittersweet chocolate contributes a natural sweetness to the cream, balancing out the cocoa bitterness while adding luscious notes of chocolate to every bite.

The combination of cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate creates a harmonious blend that results in a pastry cream with a velvety smooth texture and a richness that lingers on the palate. The flavors of chocolate are intensified, providing a decadent and indulgent experience for any dessert lover.

The Process of Making Chocolate Pastry Cream

To make delicious and decadent chocolate pastry cream, follow these simple steps:

1. Heating the Milk

Begin by heating the milk with a splash of vanilla extract in a saucepan over medium heat until it comes to a gentle boil. This step infuses the milk with a subtle vanilla flavor.

2. Tempering the Eggs

In a separate bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, cornstarch, cocoa powder, and a pinch of salt until well combined. This mixture will serve as the base for your chocolate custard.

Tip: Whisk vigorously to ensure all the ingredients are fully incorporated.

Next, slowly pour the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking constantly. This technique is called tempering and prevents the eggs from curdling when exposed to the hot liquid. Continue whisking until the mixture is smooth and well combined.

3. Thickening the Custard

Return the entire mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking continuously. The custard will start to thicken gradually. Keep whisking until it reaches a pudding-like consistency.

4. Melting the Chocolate

Add bittersweet chocolate and butter to the thickened custard. Whisk vigorously until the chocolate and butter have fully melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.

5. Cooling and Chilling

Pour the chocolate custard into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap, ensuring the wrap touches the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Allow the custard to cool to room temperature, and then transfer it to the refrigerator to chill for several hours or until it is completely cold.

Tip: Chilling the pastry cream allows it to set and develop a creamy, dreamy texture.

Once chilled, your luscious chocolate pastry cream is ready to be used as a filling for pies, eclairs, tarts, or any other delicious dessert creations!

Here’s an image of the creamy chocolate custard to give you a visual idea of what to expect:

Now that you’ve mastered the process of making chocolate pastry cream, let’s dive into some essential tips and tricks to ensure you achieve perfection every time.

Tips for Perfect Chocolate Pastry Cream

Achieving the perfect chocolate pastry cream requires a combination of proper techniques and attention to detail. Follow these tips and tricks to create a smooth and luscious custard every time:

1. Tempering Eggs:

When incorporating eggs into the hot milk mixture, it is important to temper them slowly to prevent curdling. Gradually add a small amount of the hot mixture to the beaten eggs while whisking constantly. This helps to raise the temperature of the eggs gradually, ensuring a smooth custard without any scrambled egg texture.

2. Whisk Constantly:

During the cooking process, whisk the custard vigorously to prevent any lumps from forming. This constant whisking helps to evenly distribute the heat and cook the eggs and cornstarch thoroughly, resulting in a smooth and creamy texture.

3. Cooking Time:

Cook the custard over medium heat until it thickens to the desired consistency. Be patient and avoid increasing the heat to speed up the process, as this can lead to overcooking and curdling. The gradual cooking process ensures a velvety smooth chocolate pastry cream.

4. Chilling:

Once the custard has thickened, allow it to cool completely before chilling in the refrigerator. Cooling the custard helps to set it and develop a firm yet smooth texture. Place a plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent it from forming a skin.

5. Smooth Texture:

If the custard becomes lumpy or separates during chilling, don’t worry! Simply whisk it vigorously until it regains a smooth consistency. This process helps to break down any lumps and bring the custard back to its velvety texture.

By following these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to create a perfect chocolate pastry cream that will elevate your desserts to new heights of deliciousness. Enjoy the creamy and indulgent flavor in pies, eclairs, tarts, and more!

Flavor Variations of Chocolate Pastry Cream

Chocolate pastry cream is a versatile dessert filling that can be easily transformed into different flavors by incorporating additional ingredients. These flavor variations add depth and complexity to the rich chocolate base, creating unique and delicious desserts. Here are some popular variations of chocolate pastry cream:

Mocha Pastry Cream

Add instant coffee granules to the chocolate pastry cream to infuse it with a subtle coffee flavor. The combination of chocolate and coffee creates a mocha-flavored cream that pairs well with chocolate or coffee-based desserts.

Bourbon Chocolate Pastry Cream

For a sophisticated twist, include bourbon in the chocolate pastry cream recipe. The bourbon enhances the richness of the chocolate and adds a subtle boozy note. Use slightly less milk to balance the additional liquid from the bourbon.

Jaffa Pastry Cream

Add a burst of citrus flavor to the chocolate pastry cream by incorporating orange extract. The combination of chocolate and orange creates a harmonious balance of flavors reminiscent of a Jaffa cake. This variation is perfect for brightening up desserts.

Cinnamon Chocolate Pastry Cream

Infuse the chocolate pastry cream with warmth and spice by adding cinnamon. The cinnamon complements the chocolate flavor, adding a subtle and aromatic twist. This variation is particularly suited for fall and winter desserts.

These flavor variations showcase the versatility of chocolate pastry cream, allowing you to customize your desserts according to your preferences. Whether you’re a fan of coffee, bourbon, citrus, or warm spices, these additional ingredients elevate the chocolate pastry cream, resulting in a truly indulgent and unique dessert experience. Explore these variations and unleash your creativity in the kitchen!

Storing and Using Chocolate Pastry Cream

Once you’ve made a delectable batch of chocolate pastry cream, you’ll want to ensure it stays fresh and ready for your next delicious creation. Proper storage and handling are key to preserving the flavor and texture of this creamy filling. Here are some tips for storing and using your chocolate pastry cream:

Storing Chocolate Pastry Cream

To store your chocolate pastry cream, transfer it to a covered container and place it in the refrigerator. The cream can last up to 3 days when refrigerated properly. However, it’s important to follow a few essential steps to keep it at its best.

  1. Cover with Plastic Wrap: Before sealing the container, ensure that your pastry cream is well-covered with plastic wrap. This will prevent a skin from forming on the surface, maintaining its smooth and velvety consistency.

Using Chocolate Pastry Cream

When you’re ready to use your chocolate pastry cream, you may find that it has thickened or separated slightly during its time in the refrigerator. Not to worry, a quick whisking session will restore its smooth and luscious texture.

Tip: Before whisking the cream, let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes until it softens slightly. This will make it easier to incorporate the air and regain its creamy consistency.

Now that your chocolate pastry cream is perfectly revived, it’s time to unleash your creativity.

Here are some delightful ways to use your chocolate pastry cream:

  • As a filling for pies, such as silky chocolate cream pie or tempting French silk pie.
  • In delectable eclairs, piping the cream into the light and airy choux pastry shells.
  • As a filling for profiteroles, creating bite-sized puffs of pastry heaven.
  • Between layers of cake, adding a luxurious and velvety touch to your favorite cake creations.
  • In tarts, spreading it as a luscious base for fresh fruits or other toppings.

There you have it! Now you know how to store and use your chocolate pastry cream to enjoy its creamy decadence for days to come. With a little attention to storage and a whisk at the ready, you can confidently incorporate this delectable cream into a wide array of desserts.

The Importance of High-Quality Chocolate

When it comes to making delicious chocolate pastry cream, using high-quality dark chocolate is key. Not only does it elevate the overall taste and quality of the dessert, but it also ensures a cocoa-forward flavor that is rich and intense.

High-quality dark chocolate, typically with a cocoa percentage of around 70%, provides a perfect balance of sweetness and depth. This allows the natural chocolate taste to shine through, without being overly sweet. The result is a cocoa-forward flavor that tantalizes the taste buds and satisfies chocolate lovers.

Dark chocolate with a higher cocoa percentage also brings out the intense flavors and complexities of the cocoa beans, creating a more robust and satisfying experience. It adds depth to the pastry cream, making it a truly indulgent treat for any chocolate enthusiast.

When selecting high-quality dark chocolate for your pastry cream, choose reputable brands that prioritize sourcing the finest ingredients. Look for labels that specifically mention a high cocoa percentage and avoid chocolates with added sugars or inferior quality ingredients.

“Using high-quality dark chocolate is essential to achieve a cocoa-forward flavor that is not too sweet, allowing the natural chocolate taste to shine through.”.

By using high-quality dark chocolate, you can create a chocolate pastry cream that boasts a truly cocoa-focused flavor profile. Its distinct richness and intensity will elevate any dessert and leave a lasting impression on those who indulge in your culinary creations.

Benefits of Using High-Quality Chocolate in Pastry Cream
Enhances the cocoa-forward flavor
Brings out the natural chocolate taste
Provides a rich and intense flavor
Elevates the overall quality of the pastry cream

Recommended Brands for High-Quality Dark Chocolate

  • Valrhona
  • Scharffen Berger
  • Guittard
  • Green & Black’s
  • Lindt Excellence

Investing in high-quality dark chocolate is the secret to creating a decadent chocolate pastry cream with a cocoa-forward flavor, intense taste, and overall excellence. So, choose your chocolate wisely and embark on a journey of indulgence and sophistication.

Baking Tips for Pastry Cream

When it comes to baking with pastry cream, following the right techniques is crucial to achieving a smooth and creamy texture. Here are some helpful tips to elevate your pastry cream creations:

1. Tempering Eggs

When incorporating eggs into the custard mixture, it’s important to temper them slowly to prevent scrambling. Gradually add a small amount of the hot liquid to the beaten eggs while whisking constantly. This process gradually increases the temperature of the eggs, ensuring a smooth and creamy pastry cream.

2. Proper Heating

Heating the milk mixture before adding it to the eggs is another essential step in achieving a silky pastry cream. Bring the milk to a gentle boil, ensuring it’s hot enough to cook the eggs and cornstarch mixture, but not too hot to curdle the eggs.

3. Melting Chocolate

If you’re making chocolate pastry cream, melting the chocolate properly is crucial for a rich and indulgent flavor. Use a double boiler or microwave in short bursts, stirring frequently, to melt the chocolate until smooth and glossy.

4. Straining the Custard

To ensure a silky and lump-free pastry cream, strain the custard mixture before chilling. This step removes any lumps or cooked egg bits, resulting in a velvety texture.

5. Thorough Chilling

After cooking, be sure to cool the pastry cream completely before chilling it in the refrigerator. This step allows the custard to set properly and maintain its shape and consistency in your baked goods.

6. Play with Flavor Variations

Don’t be afraid to experiment with different flavor variations of pastry cream. Add coffee or espresso for a mocha twist, bourbon for a boozy kick, orange extract for a jaffa flavor, or cinnamon for a warm and aromatic taste. These variations can add a unique and delicious twist to your desserts.

Remember, baking with pastry cream is all about technique and creativity. By incorporating these tips and exploring different flavor variations, you’ll be able to create beautifully creamy and flavorful desserts that will impress your family and friends.

Freezing and Baking with Pastry Cream

While pastry cream is best consumed fresh, it is possible to freeze it. However, it’s important to note that the texture and consistency of the cream may change upon thawing. To maintain the original texture, it is not recommended to freeze pastry cream.

“The texture of pastry cream can become watery or grainy after freezing and thawing due to the separation of the ingredients. This can affect the overall taste and quality of your desserts,” says pastry chef Emily Johnson.

Instead of freezing, consider using pastry cream in baked desserts such as flan patissier or as a filling for tarts. Baking with pastry cream adds a creamy and flavorful element to your favorite treats.

Baking Tips for Using Pastry Cream:

  • When using pastry cream as a filling, ensure that the pastry or crust is fully baked before adding the cream to prevent it from becoming soggy.
  • If using pastry cream as a topping, allow the pastry or crust to cool completely before spreading the cream to maintain its texture.
  • Consider adding a layer of fresh fruits or a sprinkle of cocoa powder on top of the pastry cream to enhance the flavors and presentation of your baked goods.
Baked Dessert Description
Flan Patissier A classic French dessert that combines a smooth and creamy pastry cream with a caramelized sugar topping.
Tarts Pastry cream can be used as a filling in various tarts such as fruit tarts, chocolate tarts, or custard tarts, adding richness and flavor.

Explore the possibilities of baking with pastry cream to create delectable desserts that will impress your family and friends.


In summary, chocolate pastry cream is a versatile and delicious addition to any homemade dessert. Whether you’re making pies, eclairs, cakes, or tarts, this creamy and indulgent custard brings a rich flavor and smooth texture to your creations. By following a simple recipe and using the right techniques, you can easily make a perfect chocolate pastry cream at home.

What makes chocolate pastry cream so special is its versatility. You can experiment with different flavors and add unique twists to your desserts. Whether you prefer the classic chocolate flavor, want to add a hint of coffee with a mocha variation, or enjoy a touch of spice with a cinnamon twist, the possibilities are endless.

So, roll up your sleeves and get creative in the kitchen. Whip up a batch of this delicious homemade chocolate pastry cream and bring your desserts to a whole new level of indulgence. Your friends and family will be delighted with the results, and you’ll have a go-to recipe for decadent, homemade sweets!


What is chocolate pastry cream?

Chocolate pastry cream is a creamy and thick custard made from cocoa powder and bittersweet chocolate. It is used as a filling or topping for various baked goods.

What can I use chocolate pastry cream for?

Chocolate pastry cream can be used in pies, eclairs, profiteroles, truffles, and many other pastry recipes as a filling or topping.

How do I make chocolate pastry cream?

To make chocolate pastry cream, you will need milk, vanilla, eggs, sugar, cornstarch, salt, cocoa powder, bittersweet chocolate, and butter. The ingredients are cooked together until thickened and then chilled.

Can I modify the flavor of chocolate pastry cream?

Yes, you can modify the flavor of chocolate pastry cream by adding additional ingredients such as instant coffee granules, bourbon, orange extract, or cinnamon.

How should I store chocolate pastry cream?

Chocolate pastry cream should be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To prevent a skin from forming, cover the custard with plastic wrap, ensuring it touches the entire surface.

What kind of chocolate should I use for chocolate pastry cream?

It is recommended to use high-quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa percentage, typically around 70%, to achieve a rich and intense flavor.

What are some tips for making perfect chocolate pastry cream?

To achieve perfect chocolate pastry cream, it is important to temper the eggs slowly, whisk constantly to prevent curdling, cook the custard over medium heat until thickened, and cool it completely before chilling.

Can I freeze chocolate pastry cream?

While it is possible to freeze chocolate pastry cream, the texture and consistency may change upon thawing, so it is not recommended if you want to maintain its original texture.

How can I use pastry cream in baking?

Pastry cream can be baked in desserts such as flan patissier or used as a filling for tarts, adding a creamy and flavorful element to your baked goods.

What are some flavor variations of chocolate pastry cream?

Some popular flavor variations of chocolate pastry cream include mocha, bourbon, jaffa, and cinnamon, achieved by adding different ingredients to the base recipe.

What is the importance of pastry cream in baking?

Pastry cream serves as a base for many desserts and adds a creamy and thick custard element to various baked goods, enhancing their flavor and texture.

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