Caramel Pastry Cream
  • Servings: 5 cups
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 2/3 cup milk
  • 4 lrg egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cup whipping cream
  1. In a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat, tilt and stir sugar until melted and amber-colored, 8 to 10 minutes.
  2. Pour onto a sheet of foil (about 12 by 18 inches) and let cool to room temperature, about 20 minutes.
  3. Peel off foil and break caramel into chunks; put in a food processor or blender and whirl into a fine powder.
  4. Combine milk and caramel powder in a 1 1/2- to 2-quart pan; stir over medium heat just until caramel is dissolved (it will form lumps, then melt; do not boil), 9 to 10 minutes.
  5. In a small bowl, beat egg yolks to blend.
  6. Add cornstarch and whisk until smooth.
  7. Pour about 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture into yolks and whisk until blended, then whisk yolk mixture into pan and stir over medium-high heat just until mixture boils and thickens, 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Rub pastry cream through a fine strainer set over a bowl; discard residue.
  9. Cover pastry cream and chill about 1 hour, or nest bowl in ice water and stir until cool, about 30 minutes.
  10. In a large bowl, with a mixer on high speed, beat the whipping cream until it holds soft peaks.
  11. Gently stir the whipped cream into the cool pastry cream.
Comments: Make and cool pastry cream while cake bakes and cools. For a nonalcoholic version, substitute a hazelnut or raspberry flavor syrup for the liqueur; the trifle will be somewhat sweeter.