Pastry Cream, Pasta, and Yeast by Kelly Sears February 13, 2014 by Jill Foucre Leave a Comment We all have them; ingredients that make us flip the page in the cookbook, dishes that we shy away from, and those that just plain fill us with anxiety. For me, these were my trilogy of trepidation; pastry cream, pasta, and yeast. Pastry cream just sounded fancy and difficult, making pasta seemed like a whole lot of work, and yeast, very Goldilocks; too hot it dies, too cold it doesn’t ferment, and getting it just right seemed daunting. When the fork in the road limits the food on your plate, it’s time to take action. One day I just decided this was it; today was the day. It was as simple as that, I just decided. And guess what happened? After the first batch of pastry cream, I thought, really, that’s it? After combining flour, water, and an egg and yielding a toothsome bowl of noodles, I thought, huh, that was scary? And after watching the Luge in the Olympics where men and women race down a slide made of ice at 87 miles an hour on a board with two rails wearing nothing but Lycra and a helmet, I can’t believe a one ounce packet of yeast ever made me uneasy! It’s never too late to learn something new, something that may give you pause, something that you’ve been avoiding for a long time. Maybe it’s how to get a good sear on a steak, maybe it’s how to make the perfect crepe, or roll sushi, or poach an egg. Whatever your nemesis is, my guess is that Marcel’s has a class that will teach you that technique, that skill, the way to handle that ingredient that will have you saying, huh, that’s all there is to it? In 2014, I’ll be celebrating the 29th anniversary of my 21st birthday, whoo-raah! I decided to challenge myself to learn something new each month, something I’ve always wanted to do but never took the time. In January, I embarked on making a great cocktail. The trial and error part was really fun! February is mastering caramel – I’ll keep you posted. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Maybe today is the day to just decide. Not too Fancy or too Difficult Pastry Cream 16 oz. milk 2 oz. sugar 1½ oz. egg yolks 2 oz. whole eggs 1.25 oz. cornstarch 2 oz. sugar 1 oz. butter ½ T. vanilla Dissolve 2 oz. sugar in the milk and bring to just a boil. Beat the egg yolks and whole eggs together in a bowl. Sift the cornstarch and 2 oz. sugar into the eggs and whip until perfectly smooth. Temper the eggs into the milk, return to the heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Mixture should come to a boil and then make a “glug, glug” sound. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into shallow pan and cover with plastic film so the plastic makes contact with the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a crust from forming. Cool and chill as quickly as possible.