Makes about 6 cups
3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 vanilla bean, split or 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste or extract
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tablespoon flour
4 egg yolks
4 Tablespoons butter
2 cups heavy cream, cold
Pastry Cream, Custard, or Creme Patissiere
Add 2 1/2 cups milk, sugar, salt, and vanilla bean to a medium saucepan. Heat over medium heat until it comes to a simmer.
Add cornstarch, flour, egg yolks, and remaining 1/2 cup milk to a large bowl. A large pitcher is the perfect tool for the job. This recipe involves some pouring, so it is less mess. Whisk the yolk mixture until combined.
When the cream mixture is hot, ladle into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. This will temper the eggs and you will avoid having scrambled eggs. Slowly add in the rest of the hot cream. Pour it all back into the saucepan and return to medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. When it starts to bubble, cook for an additional 30 seconds. It may look like it going to curdle, but keep stirring, it will all work out.
When warm, pour through a sieve to get out any little pieces of cooked egg, and to ensure a super smooth creme patissiere. Add the butter, and vanilla extract or any other flavor if you are using that and stir until silky and smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap that touches the surface of the custard. This will keep it from getting a film. Let cool a bit, then put in the fridge to chill, about 2 hours.
Whip the cold heavy cream to medium peaks.
Fold a few spoonfuls of the cold custard into the cream and gradually add the rest of the custard, being careful to not knock the air out.
You can make the custard or creme patissiere ahead of time, it will keep for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge. Add the whipped cream until you were ready to serve it. It is best served immediately or the same day.