This chocolate pastry cream is a perfectly smooth, rich chocolate custard. So creamy and delicious it’s a gorgeous filling for everything from choux buns and eclairs to cakes and tarts.
I adapted this recipe from my vanilla pastry cream recipe.
Why you’ll love it
Creamy, rich, chocolatey, sweet but balanced, this chocolate pastry cream is also naturally gluten free.
Learning pastry cream is a great skill for the home baker. It’s quick and easy to make but incredibly delicious and, even on it’s own as a chocolate pudding, it’s amazing. I can (and have) literally eaten this by the spoonful.
With just 7 everyday ingredients, you can have a batch of chocolate pastry cream made in less that 15 minutes.
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Milk: Use whole milk. Technically, other dairy free milks will work too but the flavour and thickness may vary a little.
- Cocoa: I use dutch process cocoa powder for it’s balanced flavour and dark colour but unsweetened cocoa powder will also work just fine.
- Chocolate: A good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids) is a must here. It’s adds extra thickness (making this chocolate crème pâtissiere thicker than my vanilla crème pat) and it boosts that chocolate flavour. I use Lindt 70% chcoolate or Old Gold 70% by Cadbury.
- Sugar: Use plain white granulated sugar or caster sugar in this.
- Eggs: Use large eggs. You’ll only need the egg yolks for this recipe.
- Cornflour: Known in some locations as corn starch, cornflour is a thickening agent.
- Vanilla: Please use pure vanilla extract and not vanilla essence which is a synthetic flavouring. You can also use vanilla bean if you prefer.
I don’t add any salt in this recipe as I don’t feel that it needs it but feel free to add a pinch if you like.
Handy tools to have
- Mixing bowls, a balloon whisk and silicone spatula will be your best friends.
- A heavy based saucepan helps to regulate the heat evenly.
- A strainer for straining the mixture to make it beautifully smooth.
How to make it
While some find it intimidating making custard or pastry creams, I promise it’s very simple. The most important part to keep in mind is to temper the eggs gradually.
Detailed quantities and instructions in the recipe card below.
- Heat the chocolate milk: You’ll start the process by essentially making a chocolate milk. Milk, cocoa, sugar and vanilla (photo 1) are heated until well combined and steaming (photo 2).
- The eggs: Whisk together the eggs, cornflour and a little more of the milk until well combined.
- Temper the eggs: While whisking, very slowly dribble the hot chocolate milk into the egg mixture (photo 3). Once it’s all in add it all back to the saucepan.
- Thicken: Cook the custard over low-medium heat while whisking constantly until it’s nice and thick, then let it bubble away for a minute (photo 4).
- Add chocolate: Remove it from the heat and add in chocolate (photo 5), stirring until it’s melted and well dispersed.
- Chill: Pour the custard through a strainer into a clean bowl (photo 6) and cover with plastic wrap pressed to the surface to prevent it forming a skin. Chill until cold.
Tips and tricks
- Room temperature eggs: While not absolutely necessary, room temperature eggs help reduce the risk of scrambling them when adding the hot milk.
- Tempering eggs: Tempering means to warm the eggs gradually with the hot milk mixture which allows their temperature to rise slowly. This prevents them from scrambling and keeps your custard smooth and free of eggy lumps.
Flavouring chocolate pastry cream
Flavouring this pastry cream is simple with the use of flavoured extracts. Try orange, peppermint, coconut, coffee or rum extracts for classic flavour combinations. Test a little at a time, mixing it in after adding the chocolate.
For a white chocolate pastry cream, simply leave out the cocoa and add white chocolate in place of the dark chocolate at the end. This version won’t turn out quite as thick.
How to use pastry cream
Pastry cream can be used in so many wonderful desserts.
- On it’s own as chocolate pudding
- In a no-bake tart
- Inside choux pastry – think profiteroles / cream puffs, eclairs, chouxnuts.
- In trifles and parfaits
- Inside doughnuts
- As a base for the smoothest buttercream ever
Chocolate crème pâtissiere should be stored in the fridge with plastic wrap pressed to the surface for up to 3 days.
It’s best not to freeze this pastry cream as the texture will change upon thawing.
Yes, you can bake pastry cream. The lovely flan patissier is a tart filled with pastry cream and baked.
If you try this chocolate pastry cream recipe, please take a moment to leave a rating and comment below. I love hearing from you, and it helps other readers too!
More recipes you’ll love
- Chocolate Chouxnuts
- No Bake Chocolate Meringue Pie
- Mini Chocolate Tarts
- Vanilla Custard Slice
- Fruit Custard Tart
- Salted Caramel Pots De Creme
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- 2 cups whole milk
- ⅓ cup white granulated sugar (or caster sugar)
- 1 tablespoon cocoa
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup cornflour (cornstarch)
- 2 egg yolks from large eggs
- 85 g dark chocolate (70%) very finely chopped (3oz)
- Pour 1 ½ cups of milk into a heavy based saucepan, and add sugar, cocoa and vanilla, then heat on low-medium heat until steaming, stirring regularly to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup milk, egg yolks and cornflour until smooth and fully combined.
- While whisking, very slowly pour the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture in a very slow but steady stream. Don’t pour it too quickly or the heat will scramble the eggs.
- Once everything is combined, return the mix to the saucepan. Heat over medium heat, stirring with a whisk constantly, until you notice it getting quite thick and big bubbles are starting to break the surface. This will happen quite quickly after about 5 minutes so it’s important to keep gently whisking increasing intensity as it gets thicker. You will end up with lumpy custard if you don’t.
- Let it boil for a minute, stirring gently with the whisk, then remove from the heat.
- Add the finely chopped chocolate. Stir until it is completely melted and combined.
- Swap to a silicone spatula and pass the custard through a strainer into a clean bowl, then press plastic wrap to the surface and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Please take a moment to rate this recipe. I really appreciate it and it helps me create more recipes.
- Store the pastry cream in a container or bowl with plastic wrap pressed to the surface for 3-4 days.
- Can be used or piped straight from the fridge.
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