I am finally fully content with the recipe for the cream, specifically developed for cakes and pasties. The cream is light and silky in texture, and is well suited to be used in large quantities to fill tartlets or horn pasties. The cream keeps it shape well to be used for cake decoration, it pipes easily with any pastry bag tips and nozzles, it can be used instantly to pour cream layers, later to be set. When used as thick cream layers in sponge cakes, it stays in place when the cake is cut and, thus, has an advantage over whipped cream. However, I use this cream on the next day, after overnight refrigeration, after the cream has thickened and set. I loosen the cream up with a whisk and use either in a layered cake (I made Black forest cake for Christmas lunch), or to fill crunchy pastry horns, that can be baked in advance and stored up to several weeks.
With all these qualities of the cream you might think that it has at least some quantities of butter in it, but it does not. I, personally, do not like butter creams, they are too heavy and their buttery texture is too rich for me. This vanilla cream is based on whipping cream as one of the ingredients, with added leaf gold grade gelatine to thicken the cream. In essence, it is a variation of mousseline cream, where butter is replaced with whipping cream and gelatine. In my opinion, with this replacement the cream only benefits, both in taste and in texture. I can always taste the specific taste of melted butter in cream, no matter how many extracts and flavours are added.
The process of vanilla cream preparation is simple and fault free, except for one step – preparation of a very thick pastry cream as a base, with less than usual quantity of the liquid used. During cooking the mixture thickens very fast, but even if the lumps occur, they are easily incorporated into a cream, with a homogeneous texture, by energetic whisking.
- 2 egg yolks
- 100ml milk
- 50g sugar
- extra 50ml milk for corn starch
- 20g corn starch
- 1 dessert spoon (5ml) Calvados (or other alcohol of your choice, optional)
- 300g regular whipping cream 35% fat, containing thickeners
- 15g icing sugar (20g if not using vanilla sugar)
- 5g vanilla sugar
- 1 tea spoon vanilla paste
- 2 leaves of gold grade gelatine
The choice of sauce pan is very important for pastry cream preparation. The best option is to use stainless steel sauce pan with the rounded bottom and medium size whisk to be able to reach all places when stirring/whisking the cream during cooking.
- whisk egg yolks with sugar and vanilla sugar
- add 50ml of milk to corn starch, stir until all starch is dissolved
- heat 100ml of milk in a sauce pan
- add milk portion with corn starch to egg yolks mix, combine well
- add heated milk portion, whisk
- place gelatine leaves in cold water, set aside
- pour cream mixture into a sauce pan and cook on low heat, constantly whisking, until it thickens, the cream should reach boiling point, it might be necessary to take cream from the heat, whisk the lumps if they appear in the mixture, and return to heating again
- cool down cooked pastry cream, if using a sauce pan with a thick bottom it might be necessary to place the sauce pan into a bowl with cold water for 2-3 min
- transfer the cream into a working bowl
- if using alcohol, add it to the cream and whisk
- squeeze water from gelatine leaves and add gelatine to still very warm pastry cream
- whisk to combine and dissolve gelatine
- let the cream completely cool down to room temperature, giving it an occasional whisk
- beat whipping cream to soft peaks
- add icing sugar and vanilla paste
- beat to hard peaks
- add pastry cream
- whisk manually or with the help of whisk attachment from the stick blender (or hand-held mixer), whisk attachment gives faster results
- pour the cream into glass or quality plastic container with a lid
- refrigerate overnight
- whisk to even texture before use
- if using instantly after the cream is prepared, and still has pouring texture, use acetate roll for cake edges, or lined cake springform
To fill pastry shells use pastry bag with a piping tip of your choice. However, the cream is firm enough to be spooned into vanilla horns, especially if the cream is topped with crushed nuts or chocolate.
To bake pastry shells in the shape of horns I used universal multi-purpose sweet pastry recipe.
Vanilla cream is easy to use for cake layers, it makes nice, even surface which can be left uncovered and undecorated, the cream shapes well on the sides, that can be covered by dried pastry crumbs, the cream does not release any liquid when stored refrigerated.
This cream is an ideal base for hard and soft berries in cake decoration.
I was never a big fan of using alcohol in creams, actually never used it before last year in the cream for Kiev cake, but since then Calvadoc – French apple brandy is my alcohol of choice, that any cream unique taste and aroma.