Adapted from The French Chef Cookbook by Julia Child
Cheryl sent over some eclairs this weekend. I tried not to eat mine, but I didn't make it; at least it was worth it. Anyway, it got me to thinking about this recipe, which you can use in eclairs, or profiteroles, or fruit tarts - but fruit tarts are another story. This will keep for 3 to 4 days refrigerated. It may be frozen. Is that the life? French pastry cream in the freezer.
6 egg yolks
A heavy-bottomed 2-1/2 quart non-reactive saucepan (Because you don't want to scorch the cream in the bottom of the pan, a heavy saucier is good to use because then you don't have a right angle to worry about. I usually use my All Clad stainless 3 quart saucier here, but I just got a Bourgeat copper saucier, and I will try that the next time I make this.)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups hot milk (I don't have to tell you whole milk, do I? It's Julia for heaven's sake.)
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (the good stuff - I use Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract by Nielsen-Massey, which I keep in the refrigerator) and 1 or 2 tablespoons Amaretto or Frangelico*
Place the egg yolks in the saucepan, and gradually whisk in the sugar. Continue whisking until the mixture is thick, pale yellow, and forms a ribbon. Whisk in the flour, then whisk in the hot milk in a thin stream. Stir slowly and continuously over moderately high heat with a whisk until the mixture thickens. If it turns lumpy (this is scary), beat vigorously to smooth it out. Lower the heat, and continue stirring for several minutes to cook the flour and thicken the cream. Keep stirring over low heat until the cream has thickened.
Remove from heat; beat in the butter and the Amaretto or Frangelico. Put into a clean bowl. Film the top of the cream with a 1/2 tablespoon of Amaretto or Frangelico, whichever you are using, to prevent crusting. Chill.
*The original recipe calls for rum, and it certainly can be used here in addition to anything else you would like to flavor this with. I just usually use Amaretto or Frangelico because almond and hazelnut are flavors I favor.