Any pastry chef or home baker will tell you that pastry cream, or crème pâtissière, is kind of annoying to make. Any of the pastry episodes of "The Great British Baking Show" will tell you that. It takes a while for it to thicken, especially if you forgo any thickeners like cornstarch. If you don't perfectly temper the eggs, there's a high chance of scrambling them. If you have a sous vide, you can avoid all of the fuss and time standing over the stove stirring ... and stirring some more.
Sous vide cooking is a big science project in your kitchen. Food — be it protein, vegetables, or even fruit — cooks in vacuum-sealed bags in what is essentially a hot tub. The water circulates at a consistent temperature, gently cooking the food. If you put a chicken breast in the sous vide and set it to 155 degrees Fahrenheit, your chicken breast will remain at 155 degrees. This is why the sous vide is such an attractive option for making pastry cream.
Besides being largely hands-off, using sous vide to make pastry cream will give you greater consistency in the results. You don't have to worry about tempering eggs or accidentally scrambling them as they don't overcook in the sous vide. There's minimal input from you, leaving you sure of the results with more time to focus on other dessert elements.
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Making Pastry Cream In The Sous Vide Is An Easy Process
There are a few steps to complete before essentially setting it and forgetting it. The two main components of a pastry cream — the milk and the egg yolks — will be joined after the sous vide. Preparing pastry cream this way eliminates the need for cornstarchas the egg yolks will thicken the pastry cream on their own.
Prep your milk, heavy cream, salt, chocolate, and sugar in a double boiler setup. Then, whisk everything together until the sugar is just dissolved. You can put this in the refrigerator to cool. Put your separated egg yolks in a plastic zip-top bag and get a vacuum seal by using the water displacement method. You can then set your sous vide for the appropriate temperature, around 160 degrees Fahrenheit. When the eggs are done, whisk everything together.
You can also mix everything together in a blender — including cornstarch — and pour into a zip-top bag to sous vide at 176 degrees then strain and chill before using.
Sous Vide Pastry Cream Can Be Used Just Like Stovetop Pastry Cream
Honestly, you could just eat pastry cream with a spoon. There's no need to stand on ceremony and pipe it into classic eclairs or something. If that's not your jam, you can use pastry cream in a variety of desserts. If easy is what you're after, a simple layered last-minute trifle with any chopped fruit or berry of your choice layered with pastry cream and some whipped cream is perfect. It's also a fresh dessert to lighten the load of pastry cream.
For something easy, you could buy puff pastry from the store, and make little pasteis de Nata, or Portuguese egg tarts. Simply roll out the dough and cut rounds then spoon some warm pastry cream into the tart shells. At that point, bake the shells until the characteristic golden brown spots appear.
Finally, a Paris patisserie classic — the mille-feuille. This dessert has been many a baker's downfall but with store-bought puff pastry and sous vide pastry cream, you can't go wrong. Simplify it by omitting the fruit and only layer crisp sheets of puff pastry and pastry cream. Then serve the fruit on the side.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.