A good low carb vanilla pastry cream is the basis for many fantastic low carb desserts. This one is easy to make and very luxurious.
I love pastry cream. It is easy to make, incredibly creamy and thick, and it’s much more versatile than one might think. I would even go so far as to say that it’s one of those basics recipes that everyone needs to learn how to make – especially if you are a low-carber and like desserts.
Now, let me be snarky for a minute. Many of us grew up in a time where all we knew about pudding was instant pudding or pudding cups. Lots of desserts we grew up with were made with instant pudding and cool whip. And we loved them. We ate them. They were easy. They were popular. They were full of dubious ingredients. Wait, what?
Many of us still expect our dessert recipes to be that easy; anything requiring an extra step is deemed too complicated… What do you think our grandmothers did? They made their frostings, puddings and cakes using wholesome ingredients – from scratch, and their desserts were more nutritious and free of the weird stuff. They did it, and we can do it, too. I’m a strong proponent of learning the basics. By basics, I mean basic techniques and basic recipes upon which one can build to make something great…
This luxurious low carb vanilla pastry cream, or pudding is the starting point for many great desserts. The technique is easily mastered and the recipe comes together in under 10 minutes – including ingredient gathering! The pastry cream can be used as is or thinned out with a little almond (or soy) milk to achieve a more traditional pudding consistency. Conversely, it can be folded together with whipped cream for an amazing treat.
So what do you use pastry cream for?
- pie fillings
- in between cake layers
- as a filling in cream puffs, donuts, cupcakes and other pastries
- thinned as a dessert pudding
- thinned as a sauce
- as the pudding layer in trifles / parfaits
- as an ice cream base
- spooned over cakes and other pastries
[NOTE] If you can’t have dairy try this dairy-free coconut milk pastry cream. I have used it in many recipes and love it’s flavor.
[PS] I tested this recipe several times with different thickeners and gums. I think this is the best version. I also decided that the extra carb from the cornstarch/ arrowroot was worth the result of the end product.
Check out the recipe for Chocolate Pastry Cream!
This luscious Low Carb Pastry Cream is 2 net carbs per 1/4 cup!
[Disclosure: This recipe contains affiliate links.]
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1/3 cup almond milk
- 1/3 cup erythritol
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- 2 large whole eggs
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 1/2 teaspoon stevia glycerite or more erythritol
- 3/4 teaspoon granulated gelatin sprinkled over 1 T water
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 pinch salt
- Ready a strainer by the stove.
- Place the cream and almond milk in a medium sauce pan or pot (about a 6 cup capacity), and turn the heat to medium - low.
Add the erythriltol, cornstarch, xanthan gum, and salt to a medium heat-proof mixing bowl and mix together with a small whisk. Add the two whole eggs and 3 large yolks to the dry ingredients in the bowl and whisk together.
- When the cream simmers, turn-off the heat and while whisking the egg mixture continuously, pour all of the cream into the mixing bowl in a thin stream.
- Put the pot back on the stove and scrape the egg and cream mixture into the pot. Set the bowl next to the stove with a strainer over the top.
- Turn the heat to medium low and begin whisking the pastry cream mixture. Nothing will happen for about 2 1/2 minutes and then it will start to thicken-up slightly. Whisk a little faster. At about the 3 - 3 1/2 minute mark, it will begin to thicken. Whisk briskly and cook for 1 minute more BUT don't let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble.
- Turn off the heat and remove the pot from the stove, still whisking briskly for another minute. Whisk in the vanilla, stevia glycerite, butter and proofed gelatin. Then, pour the pastry cream through the strainer, catching any cooked egg bits.
To cool, push a piece of plastic wrap right on top of the surface of the pastry cream and place in the refrigerator OR make a water bath by putting ice and water in a large bowl, setting the smaller bowl with the pastry cream into the water bath, and stirring until cool. Then cover and refrigerate. Makes about 2 cups.
NOTE: I have tried subbing the cornstarch/arrowroot powder with glucommanan (konjac), guar gum, xanthan gum and a combination of them all. It produces a gloppy product with a slippery mouth feel. I tested the recipe extensively 2 years ago when I posted it.
I updated the original recipe (August 2016) and reduced the 2 tablespoons of cornstarch/arrowroot powder to 1 tablespoon and then added 3/4 teaspoon of gelatin. It's my opinion that it isn't quite as good as the original, but it did reduce the net carbs by 1 per each serving.
I try very hard to develop recipes that have the best taste and texture - almost like the real thing. Sometimes I use a higer carb or specialty ingredient to help me achieve phenomenal results.
*** Makes 2 cups with 1/4 cup per serving.