Like most custard variations I've written for this site, this next one puts a neat spin on the spin of the popular dessert. We're going to look at how to make some good ol' Pastry Cream, a cooked custard thickened for the purpose of filling other desserts. As for that spin, we'll be dabbling with the mousseline kind. This happens to be another variation of custard lightened by egg whites or more cream but as complicated as that might sound, this recipe simplifies the process with just the cream. Also included with the mousseline pastry cream recipe are some variations of the variation to a variation of a custard.

Don't let that line confuse you, as it's all simplified. If you're still having trouble understanding the basics of custard, read this introduction as well as other variations I've written for this site.

The recipe


  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  1. Pour the milk, vanilla extract and half of the sugar into a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Do not let it boil.
  2. Whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch, and remaining sugar in a bowl.
  3. Whisk 1/4 of the boiling milk into the yolk mixture to temper it. Return the mixture to the saucepan and whisk while it cooks for 2 minutes or until it thickens.
  4. Remove from heat and pour into a bowl. Gently fold the butter into the custard until it fully dissolves.
  5. Seal and cool over an ice bath. Refrigerate for 3 hours.
  6. Pour the heavy cream into a mixing bowl and beat until it forms soft peaks. Fold 1/4 into the pastry cream until it's fully incorporated. Do the same with the remaining heavy cream to complete the mousseline pastry cream.


  • Chocolate: Stir in 5 oz of finely chopped bittersweet chocolate, 1 pinch of salt and another 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract with the butter in Step 4.
  • White Chocolate: Same as the chocolate mousseline but with white chocolate instead of the bittersweet chocolate.
  • Coconut: Substitute 1 cup of coconut cream for 1cup of the milk and coconut extract for the vanilla extract.
  • Banana: Add 1/2 cup of banana mash to the egg yolk mixture in Step 2.
  • Coffee: Add 1/4 cup of coffee mix to the milk mixture in Step 1.
  • Lemon: Add the juice and zest of one small lemon to the egg yolk mixture in Step 2.
  • Orange: Add the zest of 1 orange to the egg yolk mixture in Step 2.
  • Cheesecake: Stir in 1/2 cup of softened cream cheese with the butter in Step 4.