Strawberry + Cream Custard Puff Pastry

Cream custard fillings are one of my favorite additions to baked goods. I especially love it in cream puffs, donuts, and fruit tarts. Combining that cream with an extremely crispy and flaky puff pastry makes for an amazing dessert that will please anyone.

One of my favorite places to get this dessert is a place in Orange Country, California called Cream Pan. It’s a Japanese bakery shop that is well known for its freshly made strawberry croissant, among other things. I loved it so much, I decided to try to recreate it myself, and the results are quite amazing!

Ingredients (good for about 12-14 pastries)
For Cream Filling
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/4th cup corn starch
-2 cups whole milk
-4 egg yolks
-2 tbsp butter
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-Pinch of kosher salt

For Puff Pastry
-2 puff pastry sheets or shells (I used Pepperidge Farm shells in the pictures)
-1 egg
-1 tsp water

Toppings
-Fresh fruits
-Powdered sugar

Procedure
For Cream Filling
1) Add sugar, corn starch, and kosher salt into a sauce pan or pot, and mix together
2) Add milk and egg yolk into a mixing bowl and whisk together

3) Set heat to medium and slowly pour the milk and egg yolk mix into the pot, while continuously whisking
4) Add the butter to the pot
5) Whisk and allow the mix to come to a boil
6) Once boiling, continue to whisk for 1 minute while boiling. The cream should start thickening
7) After a minute, take pan off the heat and add vanilla extract and mix
8) Transfer the cream onto a bowl through a sieve
9) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Ensure that the plastic wrap is physically touching the cream to avoid a solid shell-formation on the top.

Plastic wrap touching the cream

10) Store in a fridge for at least 1.5 hours covered

For Puff Pastry
1) Pre-heat oven to 425°F
2) Mix one egg and the water into a mixing bowl to make egg wash
3) If using puff pastry sheets, cut up and shape pastry sheet to desired shape and size
4) Place the puff pastries onto baking pan lined with parchment paper

Puff pastry shells brushed with egg wash

5) Brush the top of the puff pastry with the egg wash
6) Place pastries in oven and bake for 18 minutes, or until puff pastries rise and are golden brown

7) Remove the pastries from oven and allow to cool for approx. 20-30 minutes
8) Add the chilled cream (cooled at least 1.5 hrs), fresh fruit, and powdered sugar to the pastry and serve

Tips/Observations
-If you don’t allow the pastries to cool sufficiently, it may melt your custard
-The egg wash helps to color the pastries and make it golden brown on top
-If you don’t have a brush for the egg wash, you can dab a paper towel to brush on top

References
-Martha Stewart/Thomas Joseph Kitchen Conundrums: https://www.marthastewart.com/1084932/no-fuss-pastry-cream
-Cream Pan: http://www.creampanbakery.com

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