Crème Pâtissière - Dutch Vla

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Crème pâtissière, or vla, as we have known it, is a thick, rich, and creamy custard used as a filling for cakes, tarts, pastries (think mille feuille) and in a more lighter or fluid version, as an accompaniment to puddings. Vla is a go-to 'cake sandwicher' of the Manadonese. We grew up with cakes with vla for most of our lives. Naturally, this should be in my repertoire.

This recipe is easy and reliable, I made 4 batches of this as a filling for 4 birthday cakes in Project 140911, I used it in our vruchtentaart, and in our pavlova.

This recipe makes about 4 cups, enough to thinly sandwich a four layer cake, or generously hold a three layer cake together. For a 9 inch tart filling, half a recipe will do.

1000 ml (4 cups) milk
2 vanilla pods
1/2 cup sugar

8 large egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
30g (1/4 cup) flour
20 g (2 tbsp) cornstarch

2 tbsp Grand Marnier or liqueur of choice (optional)

1. With plastic wrap, line a rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
2. With a paring knife, cut the vanilla lengthwise and scrape with the back of the knife to remove the seeds. 
3. In a saucepan, simmer the milk, the vanilla pod and seeds, and the first 1/2 cup of sugar.

4. In a heat proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the 3/4 cup of sugar.
5. To this, add the flour and the cornstarch and mix completely.

6. From the saucepan, remove the vanilla bean, scrape whatever is left into the mixture.
7. Pour about half of the warmed milk into the bowl of egg yolks and sugar. Whisk until smooth.

8. Turn the heat up slowly to bring the remaining milk to a boil.

9. Now add the egg and milk mixture back into the saucepan and keep on whisking vigorously.
The mixture should be smooth and glossy, and the vla will start to bubble and 'burp.'

10. Pour the cream into the lined baking sheet and fold the plastic wrap over to make it 'air tight'
11. Set aside to chill.

When ready to use:
12. Place the cream in a bowl and whisk until it is smooth.
13. Add the Grand Marnier, whisk to incorporate.
14. Have a generous spoonful to taste :) Maybe another dash of liqueur?
Now it's now ready to be used in that fabulous dessert recipe you wanted to make.

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