Pastry cream is the most delicious part of a dessert or pastry. Just imagine it oozing out of a choux bun or croissant. It goes well on top of a tiramisu or a trifle. However, it is difficult to make so do you really want to be making a batch every time you are going to make pastries (see also Can You Freeze Empanadas). Wouldn’t it be better to make it in bulk? However, it doesn’t last for more than a few days in the fridge, so what is the answer?
Can You Freeze Pastry Cream?
The simple answer is to freeze the pastry cream (see also Freezing Double Cream). Perhaps you are wary of doing this as dairy can separate when it is thawed. However, if you follow our instructions, you should have success.
An important thing to remember is that pastry cream made out of cornstarch does not freeze well. The texture is completely ruined and won’t be at all delicious to eat. However, you can use flour as it freezes and thaws well
Freezing Pastry Cream
If you intend to freeze leftover pastry cream (or even clotted cream), it is important to do it as soon as possible. Don’t leave it sitting on the counter for hours. The maximum time any food should sit at room temperature is two hours. After this time, there is a big possibility that bacteria will start to form and this can lead to food poisoning.
You might decide to make the pastry cream for freezing (see also How To Freeze Cream Pie) and use at a later date. If so, let it cool down completely before you put it in the freezer. If you put anything warm in a freezer, it will bring the temperature up and other food in the freezer will start to defrost. It isn’t a good idea to allow food to defrost and then freeze again as this may produce bacteria, again leading to food poisoning. Another reason for allowing the cream to cool is that if you don’t, condensation may occur and this will mean that when the cream is defrosted, it will probably be watery.
You can freeze the pastry cream in either a freezer bag or an airtight plastic container with hard sides to keep the cream rigid. If you are using a freezer bag, once you have put the cream in the bag, squeeze out all the air. If you don’t, freezer burn may occur. This won’t harm you, but it will change the taste and texture of the cream. It definitely won’t be as delicious as before you put it in the freezer. If you are using a container, it is a good idea to put a layer of plastic wrap over the top before you put the lid on. This helps to eliminate the amount of air in the container.
When you have done this, it is advisable to put a label on the bag or container with the freezing date. It is all too easy to forget when you put something in the freezer, especially if you freeze a lot of food. Then, put the cream into the freezer. It is a good idea to put it in the coldest part of the fridge as this helps the cream freeze quickly and retain its texture.
A Method of Keeping Pastry Cream for Longer in the Freezer
Pastry cream will normally last for up to three months in the freezer, but if you want to keep it for longer, invest in a food saver. This vacuum seals food, meaning that all the air is sucked out. It may seem an expense at the outset, but you can use it for all sorts of food. It also helps to retain the flavor and texture of the cream.
Thawing Frozen Pastry Cream
It isn’t difficult to thaw pastry cream. Just follow these steps.
- Take the pastry cream out of the freezer the day before you want to use it. Put it in the fridge and allow it to defrost overnight. Don’t let your pastry cream thaw on your counter as it will probably take over two hours and then bacteria will start to form.
- The following day, put the cream in a large bowl. You will probably find that it has separated so whisk it until it regains its texture.
- Use what you need for your recipe. If you have any leftover cream, put it in the fridge. It will last for a few days. Don’t refreeze the pastry cream.