2 cups half-and-half
1/2 cup sugar
5 large egg yolks
3 tbsp cornstarch
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Heat the half-and-half, 6 tbsp of the sugar and the salt in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmer, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar.
- Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.
- Whisk in the remaining 2 tbsp sugar and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds.
- Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 30 seconds.
- When the half-and-half mixture reaches a full simmer, gradually whisk the simmering half-and-half into the yolk mixture to temper.
- Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula; return to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.
- Remove from heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla.
- Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl.
- Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming.
- Refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.