This gluten free Peanut Butter Pastry Cream is perfect in eclairs, cream puffs, between cake layers, or just eaten with a spoon.
Peanut Butter Pastry Cream. It sounds good, but what is it? Pastry cream is essentially a pudding thickened using both cornstarch and eggs. At least that’s my take on it. I’ve done the internet searches, checked my books, and nothing can give me an easy to understand statement as to how it varies from pudding. If it were thickened solely with eggs, it would be a custard, but like this pastry cream, pudding can be thickened with eggs or flour. Ah well, whatever name you want to give this, pastry cream or pudding, you have to know that it is incredibly delicious.
Making Peanut Butter Pastry Cream is really easy too. Heating the milk with the cornstarch and sugar, then tempering the eggs with the hot milk before bringing it to a boil, makes the perfect base for any flavours. I decided to go with peanut butter, but you can make pastry cream in nearly any flavour you want, based on what you steep the milk with, or stir in after cooking it. For example, my Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream recipe that I shared many moons ago.
Today we’re going to focus on peanut butter, because Peanut Butter Pastry Cream goes really well in gluten free eclairs that are topped with a chocolate ganache. That recipe
will be coming really soon, is now up!
If you’ve been playing in the kitchen for a while already, you may have heard the term “coats the back of a spoon” in reference to sauces, puddings, or pastry cream. What that simply means is that the mixture will thicken enough that it will coat the spoon, not just run off. You should be able to draw a line through whatever you’ve cooked, and it shouldn’t fill in right away. That is when you know that it has thickened enough.
If you want to make the Peanut Butter Pastry Cream dairy-free, using a dairy-free milk, like almond or macadamia, shouldn’t be a problem.
- 1/2 cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) cornstarch
- 2 cups (500 ml) milk
- 4 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) smooth peanut butter
- 1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a heavy bottom sauce pan. Whisk in the milk, and set over medium heat, whisking regularly, until the milk begins to steam.
Whisk the egg yolks in a large heat proof bowl. Once the milk is steaming, slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly. This must be done slowly, and you must be whisking constantly, or you will scramble your eggs with the hot milk mixture. Once all of the steaming milk has been whisked in, pour it all back into the sauce pan.
Continue to heat the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until it comes to a boil. You can stop whisking for a few seconds at a time to see if bubbles are rising to the surface.
Once the mixture has come to a boil, it will thicken up and should coat the back of a spoon. If you dip a spoon in it, you should be able to draw a line through the custard without it filling in right away.
Place the peanut butter and vanilla in a heat proof mixing bowl. Place a mesh strainer over the top, and pour the custard mixture through the strainer. This will remove any lumps or bits of cooked egg that may have formed while the custard was cooking.
Stir the hot custard until the peanut butter is completely incorporated.
Place a sheet of plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming. Cool in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours, or overnight. If it seems too thick when you want to use it, simply run a whisk through it to loosen it up a little.
Peanut Butter Pastry Cream can be prepared up to 3 days in advance, and must be refrigerated.