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Strawberry Pastry Cream

Strawberry pastry cream, or crème pâtissière, is a flavorful, pink take on a French pastry classic. It’s perfect as a filling for cream puffs, tarts, cakes, or donuts. It’s also great served with fresh fruit for a light, summery dessert.

Because there’s nothing as delicious as a fresh strawberry, or as satisfying as a smooth pastry cream, why not put them together and make strawberry pastry cream?

It’s a recipe that has a lot of uses, not the least of which is eating it by the spoonful. And because it’s strawberry, it can pair beautifully with many different flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and almond, to name a few.

Ways to Use Strawberry Pastry Cream

  • Strawberry pastry cream works so well as filling for donuts. Simply fry up your donuts without a hole in the center, fill a bag with pastry cream, cut a slit in the side of the donut, and pipe the pastry cream into the center.
  • It’s also a fabulous cake filling! It can be layered between any flavors of cake, or used in a trifle with cut up cake, some fresh berries, and whipped cream.
  • It can be served to accompany fresh fruit. Place a dollop of the cream in the bowl, and add fresh berries on top for a light, refreshing dessert.
  • Fill cream puffs and eclairs with this pastry cream for a fresh new take on a classic favorite.

Other Strawberry Recipes

Can there be too many strawberries? Here are a few other ways to use them, from strawberry mango salsa to a layered strawberry napoleon dessert, strawberry ice cream and strawberry lemon sorbet, or strawberry donuts. And Strawberry Shortcake is always a classic!

Recipe Notes and Tips

  • The pastry cream’s final color will be a brownish pink. If you want a more vibrant pink, you can add red or pink food coloring, a drop or two at a time, until you achieve a color you like.
  • You can change the amount of the cornstarch to change the thickness of the pastry cream. If you want a softer cream (for something like a trifle), reduce the cornstarch to 1 1/2-2 tablespoons. But if you’re making a cake filling, or filling a pastry like mille feuille or a napoleon, use up to 3 tablespoons (30 grams) for a sturdier pastry cream.


  • Strawberries – Fresh or frozen, they’ll be cooked down until they’re a thick, jam-like reduction
  • Lemon Juice – it’s best freshly squeezed
  • Sugar – Sugar not only adds sweetness and enhances the flavor of the strawberries, it also contributes to the consistency
  • Milk – provides the bulk of the cream
  • Whipping Cream -adds a touch of richness and fat
  • Egg Yolks – egg yolks thicken, smooth, and emulsify the pastry cream. Basically, they’re magic.
  • Cornstarch – help the egg yolks with the thickening
  • Salt – balances and enriches the flavors
  • Vanilla – it makes everything better
  • Butter — This adds a lovely smooth, velvet finish to the pastry cream

Equipment Needed

How to Make Strawberry Pastry Cream

Making the Strawberry Reduction

Wash 1/2 a pound of strawberries, then pulse them in a blender until they’re smooth. You can run them through a strainer to remove any seeds that are left whole, but it’s not necessary. There should be about 1 cup of strawberry puree.

Pour the strawberry puree into a small saucepan and add 1/4 cup of white sugar and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

Cook the mixture over medium low heat until it’s reduced to about half. Stir it occasionally and watch to make sure it’s not scorching. It should be ready after 8-10 minutes of simmering, but may take longer. Set it aside to cool.

Making the Pastry Cream

Begin by setting a fine mesh sieve over a large mixing bowl, measuring out your ingredients, and separating the eggs. You won’t need the egg whites, so store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator (up to a week) or in the freezer (up to 3 months).

Adding the sugar and cornstarch to the egg yolks and milk.

Stir the sugar, salt, and cornstarch together, then beat it into the egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the milk until it’s a smooth mixture. Don’t just dump the cornstarch into the yolks, as they will create tiny lumps that won’t completely dissolve in the finished pastry cream.

Slowly drizzle the heated milk and cream into the egg yolk  mixture to gradually warm it.
Whick about half of the warm milk into the eggs.

Once your sugar mixture is smooth, set it aside. Pour the milk and whipping cream into a medium saucepan and warm it until it is steaming, but not boiling. Remove the heat from the milk and temper the eggs by whisking them while slowly drizzling some of the hot milk into them. This warms the egg yolks without cooking them and creating scrambled eggs in your pastry cream.

Once you’ve added about half of the warm milk to the eggs, dump all of it back into the pan and add the strawberry reduction. Cook over medium low heat while whisking continuously, making sure it doesn’t scorch. Continue to cook and stir until it has come to a boil. Allow it to boil for one minute (still stirring), and then remove it from the heat.

Adding the tempered egg mixture to the pan of warmed milk and cream to finish cooking.

Pour the strawberry pastry cream through the sieve to remove any bits of cooked eggs. Add in the butter and vanilla and whisk it until the butter is melted and completely combined. If you want to use food coloring to make the cream more pink, stir in a drop or two at a time at this stage.

Storing the Cooked Pastry Cream

Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the pastry cream, then place it in the refrigerator. Allow it to chill completely before using, then store any leftovers in an airtight container. It will keep for 5-7 days in the refrigerator.

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Strawberry Pastry Cream

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  • Author: Rebecca Neidhart



For the Strawberry Reduction

  • 1/2 pound strawberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sugar

For the Strawberry Pastry Cream:

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cups (100 g) white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons (20 grams) cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (42 grams) butter
  • All of the strawberry puree


In a blender or food processor, process the strawberries until they are a smooth puree. Pour the puree (there should be about 1 cup) into a small pot with 1/4 cup of sugar and the 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

Place the pot over a burner on medium heat and stir it as it cooks to prevent scorching. Let it cook down for 8-10 minutes, or until it’s reduced to a little over 1/2 cup. Set it in the refrigerator until it’s completely chilled.

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