Orange Zest Pastry Cream
Pastry cream is more commonly known as custard, a mixture of milk and egg yolks typically cooked to thicken. Using a good quality vanilla bean definitely elevates a good pastry cream to the next level and gives you a beautifully aromatic custard with rich vanilla flavor, and those specs, those glorious vanilla bean seeds... swoon!
Combine 1 cup milk, 3 tablespoons sugar and vanilla bean paste, in a medium saucepan. Bring just to a simmer over medium heat. (careful not to boil, it will make a CRAZY mess on your stove) Remove from heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk yolks, cornstarch, orange zest and remaining 3 tablespoons sugar together. Add remaining 1/4 cup cold milk and whisk until smooth.
Add approx. 1/4 cup hot milk mixture to egg mixture while whisking continually.
Add approx. another 1/4 cup, then add egg and milk mixture back to remaining hot milk in saucepan.
Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, until thickened.
Remove from heat.
Strain into a bowl and cover the surface directly with plastic to prevent a skin from forming. Can be used warm spooned over a dessert or refrigerated.
This pastry cream is great for many different applications and you can play around with the sugars to get the desired flavor you are looking for. You can replace the granulated white sugar with additional brown sugar if you a looking to get a slightly darker custard and deeper caramel flavor it will appear more tan color the more brown sugar you use. If you prefer the taste of dark brown sugar over light they are also interchangeable.
Alternatively for an equally delicious vanilla bean custard you can use all white granulated sugar, this would be great if you are not looking for that caramel undertone.
Get in the kitchen, have fun, and experiment! Stay sweet my friends, and try not to eat the whole bowl before your dessert is complete