Vanilla Rice Flour Pastry Cream

April 10, 2015
5 Ratings
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • Makes 1 cup
Author Notes

Pastry cream is normally made with wheat flour, cornstarch, or a combination of the two. I used to swear by the latter combination until the day I tried rice flour and produced the best crème pâtissière of all! Think thick and silky-smooth with clear flavors of fresh eggs and milk and not a hint of flour or starch. Divine.

Even the method here is streamlined—no need to temper the egg yolks so long as you have a pot with a heavy bottom.

Just one thing: To get the silky texture promised, you will need superfine rice flour. Use Authentic Foods superfine white rice flour or use the Erawan brand of Thai white rice flour (which is even finer). The latter comes in plastic bag with red lettering—the bag with green lettering is sweet or glutinous rice, which is not what you want here.

Note: Authentic superfine rice flour weighs a bit more per cup than the finer Thai flour. In some situations (and this is one of them), it’s better to use a consistent weight measure rather than a consistent volume measure. This is why the volume measures differ, though the weight is the same.

Adapted from Flavor Flours (Artisan 2014). —Alice Medrich

What You'll Need
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons (40 grams) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon (13 grams) superfine rice flour or 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons (13 grams) Thai rice flour (see headnote below for flour details)
  • 1 cup whole milk, divided
  • 2 large egg yolks
  1. Pour the vanilla into a medium bowl. Set a medium-fine-mesh strainer over the bowl and keep it near the stove for the finished custard.
  2. Whisk the sugar and rice flour in a small heavy-bottomed, non-reactive saucepan. Whisk in 2 tablespoons of the milk until blended. Whisk in the egg yolks and the remaining milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, sweeping the bottom, sides, and corners of the pan to prevent scorching.
  3. When the first bubbles appear, set a timer for 5 minutes and continue to cook and stir, adjusting the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.
  4. Immediately scrape the custard into the strainer. Stir the custard to pass it through the strainer, but don’t press on any bits of cooked egg if any are left behind. Scrape the custard clinging to the underside of the strainer into the bowl as well. Stir to incorporate the vanilla. Let cool for about 30 minutes, then cover with plastic wrap pressed directly against the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Cesar A Perales Jr
    Cesar A Perales Jr
  • Licole Paroly
    Licole Paroly
  • Marylou Ramirez
    Marylou Ramirez
  • ccsinclair
  • AntoniaJames
My career was sparked by a single bite of a chocolate truffle, made by my Paris landlady in 1972. I returned home to open this country’s first chocolate bakery and dessert shop, Cocolat, and I am often “blamed” for introducing chocolate truffles to America. Today I am the James Beard Foundation and IACP award-winning author of ten cookbooks, teach a chocolate dessert class on, and work with some of the world’s best chocolate companies. In 2018, I won the IACP Award for Best Food-Focused Column (this one!).

10 Reviews

torontoluck February 17, 2022
Terrible. Wasted all those ingredients on a watery mess. mine never thickened and I followed the recipe exactly.
Cesar A. March 11, 2021
This I have waited for years...I know the Idea just worked, an old' recepe and it was a breeze. Thank you this is Pattisserie cream! Wonderful
Licole P. June 29, 2019
This pastry cream is easy to make and very silky, but I found it extremely sweet. I used only 2 Tbsp thinking that was a lot of sugar listed in the recipe, and even that was very sweet. A pinch of salt added in helped a little.
Josephine June 15, 2017
After the third try, I am removing this recipe from my collection because it never thickened enough. I used Bob's Red Mill Rice flour, and simmered the pastry cream the full five minutes. I tried adding additional rice flour, up to 2 Tbsp. which didn't help. I also found that when I made it two days ahead, the pastry cream became even thinner as it remained in the fridge.
Marylou R. February 28, 2017
Is it OK to add match a green tea powder because I this recipe and I was wondering if green tea make the cream better
Mays September 8, 2016
Thank you for this great recipe, i just want to know if it can be frozen ?
ccsinclair February 27, 2016
Finally made this today to fill cream puffs for a reception. I doubled the recipe and used clear vanilla so the dark color of normal vanilla extract wouldn't muddy the color. Jungle Jim's carries the rice flour. It turned out beautifully, without the dullness cornstarch usually gives.
AntoniaJames December 26, 2015
Best crème pâtissière I've ever made - or tasted. Found the Thai rice flour at a favorite market in Oakland Chinatown. ;o)
P.S. I successfully doubled the recipe, for a Paris-Brest.
Hugo L. May 2, 2015
It seems a great idea. Have anyone tried this recipe so far? What were the results?
LeBec F. April 25, 2015
alice, i am such an admirer of your work, and am so excited to work with your recent book. Superfine sugar can be made in the food processor; can we also do that with rice flour- process it to get it super fine? Might you provide us with an equivalent, weight ounces= volume cups, so we could process ours and compare our equivalent with yours, to get it equal to yours? Thx much.