Vanilla Pudding a.k.a Pastry Cream

Vanilla Pudding a.k.a Pastry Cream

Photograph by by Josh Tenn-Yuk

This is probably the yummiest way to use up egg yolks left behind from baking with egg whites. Vanilla pudding was something I would make regularly for my kids when they were young, as I to avoid the store-bought shelf-stable ones. Simple whole food ingredients and easy to make.

Vanilla Pastry Cream aka Pudding

Got leftover egg yolks? Nothing quite like a batch homemade vanilla pudding!
Course Dessert


  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 2 cups whole milk or plant based alternative
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch
  • Pinch salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp butter unsalted


  • Split vanilla bean lenghtwise down one side with pairing knife. Scrape seeds from split vanilla bean using back of spoon or knife and add both bean and seeds to heavy bottomed saucepot. Pour over milk and place over medium heat until milk is steaming. Turn off heat, cover and let steep for 10 minutes, infusing the vanilla into the milk as you would tea.
  • Meanwhile, whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt together in large bowl. Whisk in egg yolks to make thick pale yellow paste.
  • After the 10 minute steep, remove vanilla pod from hot milk, wash well and set aside for another use. Very slowly ladle hot vanilla milk into egg mixture, while whisking constantly. If you find the bowl with the egg mixture is moving around too much, call out for an extra pair of hands, or wrap a damp tea towel around the bottom of bowl. This should keep it from moving around. Here we are bringing the egg mixture up gradually in temperature to avoid the egg yolks from curdling. This is called tempering.
  • Rinse out saucepot but do not dry. The slight wetness actually helps prevent scorching in this next step. Return custard to saucepot and place over medium heat. Stir with a heat resistant spatula or wooden spoon until mixture starts to thicken and barely reaches a boil, about 3-5 minutes. Don’t worry if you get some lumps.
  • Remove from heat and pour through mesh strainer into bowl. Whisk in butter.
  • Once pastry cream has cooled slightly, cover with saran wrap pressed against it, creating a seal and preventing skin from forming. Refrigerate to cool if needed.

Check out my other recipes here!

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