Hazelnut Vanilla Pastry Cream

I've been playing with different fillings and methods of infuse MOAR FLAVOR into my bakes lately. Specifically tartlets since I found a new pate sucrée recipe that I'm loving. This time I've infused my whole milk to make a wonderful Hazelnut Pastry Cream! 

This recipe is inspired by Kitchn using flour to thicken vs. cornstarch. I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth this cream turned out which is different than the more custardy, firm type I make with my fruit tartlets. 

Hazelnut Vanilla Pastry Cream
Makes about 1 1/2-2 cups

  • 1 1/4 cups of roasted hazelnuts 
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (possibly need 1/2 cup more after infusing milk) 
  • 1/3 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon 
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 large egg yolks, room temp 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1/2 vanilla bean pod scraped

1.  If you haven't already, make sure to roast your whole hazelnuts for 15-20 minutes at 275 degrees F.  If they have skins on them, place the warm hazelnuts in a kitchen towel and rib them together vigorously. (You're going to strain the mixture either way so no need to remove all the skin) 

2. Place cooled hazelnuts in a food processor and give them a rough chop. It's ok if there are still some large pieces in there. Add them into a medium saucepan and add 1 1/2 cups of milk and vanilla bean if using or vanilla extract. 

3. Heat medium saucepan with hazelnuts and milk on a medium to low heat while constantly whisking. It's important you don't burn the milk which can easily be done. Continue to heat and scald the milk till just below simmer. Remove from the stove and allow the hazelnuts to continue infusing the milk for 10 minutes, stir occasionally to remove the dry layer of skin on top. 

4. Prepare a fine mesh strainer over a measuring cup. Pour mixture into the measuring cup to see how much liquid remains. Some of it may have been cooked off. Top off the milk with regular whole milk to make sure you have 1 1/2 cups of liquid. 

5. In a separate medium bowl, add egg yolks, sugar, flour and salt and combine together until it is well mixed and turned into a paste. Place hazelnut milk back into the saucepan and reheat till it has just been scaled. 

6. Temper 1/3 of the milk into the egg mixture bowl, whisking constantly so you don't cook your eggs. Add another 1/3 of the mixture into the bowl then take the bowl and add it back into the saucepan. Keep whisking! 

7. Over a medium heat, cook the egg milk mixture while whisking until you see large bubbles boil to the top and the mixture becomes nice and thick. 

8. Place another mesh strainer over a medium bowl and pour the mixture through the strainer. This will help remove any cooked egg bits. 

9. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the cream sealing it into the bowl. Place into the fridge and chill for a few hours until completely cold. Mixture will continue to firm as chilled. Use within 4-5 days in the fridge.