Q. I love to bake, and frequently use pastry cream in my homemade recipes. I don’t mind making a batch when I have the time, but sometimes I just want to make something quickly. I would love to be able to make a batch ahead of time, or preserve the leftover pastry cream I have after baking. It’s so delicate though, that I’m not sure it would stand up to the harsh conditions of a freezer. I need my pastry cream to keep its original consistency, otherwise it won’t work properly in recipes. Can you freeze pastry cream?
A. Yes, you can freeze pastry cream, provided it is not made with cornstarch. Some people use regular flour for their pastry cream, which will freeze and thaw quite well. Others use corn starch, which does not take to freezing and thawing as well, ruining the texture of the pastry cream upon thawing. If you currently use cornstarch, consider switching to regular pastry flour if you plan to freeze your pastry cream.
If freezing leftover pastry cream, be sure to freeze it as quickly as possible, and don’t freeze pastry cream that has been sitting at room temperature for too long. If preparing a batch specifically for freezing, allow the pastry cream to cool completely before freezing, so that condensation doesn’t build and ruin the texture.
Scoop the pastry cream into a freezer bag or hard-sided freezer safe container. Remove excess air from the freezer bag, or lay a layer of plastic wrap over the top if freezing in a container. Seal the container, then label and date. Place the pastry cream in the coldest part of the freezer to speed up the freezing process.
To use frozen pastry cream, remove from the freezer the day before using. Allow it to thaw completely in the refrigerator. Do not thaw pastry cream on the counter at room temperature. Once the pastry cream is thawed completely, transfer it to a bowl. The cream may have separated during freezing. If this is the case, simply whisk it until it reconstitutes and regains its former thickness. Then it can be used in your favourite baking recipes. Keep leftovers refrigerated and use within a few days for best results. It is not recommended to refreeze previously frozen pastry cream.