Traditional Recipe: Crema Pasticciera (Italian Custard Cream)

La Crema Pasticciera is a thick and rich custard cream used in Italian patisserie as a filling or ingredient for pastries, cakes and various desserts. Often aromatised with lemon or vanilla, this custard is so popular because it is extremely pleasing to the eye and palate, with its wonderful flavour and velvety creamy texture.

It is possible to aromatise la Crema Pasticciera in various ways, for example using chocolate or coffee, but also liqueurs and the zest of different citrus fruits. In uncooked desserts, it is often mixed with whipped cream to obtain a lighter and more delicate custard.

Crema Pasticciera.

1 litre whole milk

8 egg yolks

160 g caster sugar

80 g sifted flour

1 vanilla pod, or the grated zest of 1 organic lemon


1. In a pan, bring the milk with the vanilla pod (opened and emptied into the milk) to a boil, or add the lemon zest (the aromas you use will depend on your personal taste). Then sieve the milk.


2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until creamy.


3.. Add the flour to the egg mixture and gently stir from the bottom upwards.



4. Gently pour the hot milk into the mixture and stir. Put the custard onto a low heat to thicken for about 5 minutes (stirring constantly, but gently).


5. After 5 minutes, turn off the heat and put the cream in a bowl (stirring occasionally) to cool.


6. Cover with a sheet of cling film, to prevent the skin from forming on the top and put in the refrigerator. Stir the custard vigorously before using.



1 It’s important to mix the egg yolks with the sugar straight away, to prevent crystals from forming.

2. Cook over a medium-low heat and use a thick bottom sauce pan to avoid burning the custard cream.

3. kept in a refrigerator, the cream should be used within 3 days.


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Crema Pasticciera (ricetta base)

1 litro di latte intero

8 tuorli d’uova

160 g di zucchero

80 g di farina 00, setacciata

1 baccello di vaniglia, oppure la scorza grattugiata di un limone non trattato


1. In un tegame, portate ad ebollizione il latte con il baccello di vaniglia (aperto e svuotato nel latte), oppure aggiungete la scorza di limone. Filtrate il latte usando un colino fine.

2. In una terrina grande, montate i tuorli con lo zucchero, fino ad ottenere una crema spumosa.

3. Unite la farina alle uova e mescolate delicatamente dal basso verso l’alto.

4. Versate il latte caldo a filo nel composto e mescolate delicatamente con una frusta. Mettete la crema sul fuoco ad addensare per almeno 5 minuti, continuando a mescolare delicatamente.

5. Spegnete il fuoco, mettete la crema a raffreddare in una ciotola e mescolate ogni tanto.

6. Ricoprite con la pellicola per alimenti, per evitare che si formi la pellicina in superficie e mettete in frigorifero. Mescolate la crema energicamente prima di utilizzarla.


1. E’ importante mescolare subito i tuorli con lo zucchero per evitare che si formino dei cristalli.

2. Cuocete a fiamma medio-bassa per evitare che la crema si attacchi al fondo della pentola. E’ consigliabile usare una pentola con il fondo spesso.

3. Conservata in frigorifero, la crema va utilizzata entro 3 giorni.



28 thoughts on “Traditional Recipe: Crema Pasticciera (Italian Custard Cream)

    1. Thank you Thalia! In Italy, we sometimes by itself as a pudding, with chocolate or without….If you put it in the fridge for a few hours this custard will get even thicker.

  1. Intriguing. I never thought about adding flour to a custard such as this. I have added flour to custard pie to set up firm but not on a what I would call a drizzling custard. Sounds wonderful. Lovely photos, too. šŸ™‚

    1. Richard, it is more or less the same thing. In Italy, we only make custard with flour and we mainly use it for filling….But it’s also a classic and easy home-made desserts, flavoured with lemon zest or chocolate. šŸ™‚

    1. The custard should cook really gently (it shouldn’t boil!) over a very low heat and stir slowly and constantly. Otherwise will stick to the bottom of the pan or become grainy and separate. If you have a strong heat, in order to avoid these problems you should prepare over bain-marie. You can try to use a blender to save a grainy the custard, but it doesn’t always work.

  2. I’ve just made this with lemon zest and am waiting for it to cool. It smells delicious. Can’t wait to enjoy it. Thank you for a lovely traditional recipe.

    1. Thank you so much Anna! I’m glad that you liked this recipe….it’s an Italian classic and one of my favourites! šŸ™‚ Sorry for the delay in reply, I had some trouble with my computer…It’s ok now. šŸ™‚

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