Using vanilla pastry cream and stabilized whipped cream this Diplomat Cream recipe (Crème Diplomate) is a classic filling for cream puffs, tarts, cakes, and trifles.
Okay, let’s talk Diplomat cream, also known as Crème Diplomate. Diplomat Cream is a mixture of pastry cream and whipped cream stabilized with gelatin. That’s it! It’s really easy to make and pretty customizable depending on how you want to use it.
Now when I say customizable, I mean there is no official ratio of how much whipped cream you should be adding to the pastry cream. Or if you should add gelatin to the pastry cream or add it to the whipped cream. Or if you even need to add gelatin at all!
Technically, pastry cream lightened with unsweetened, un-stabilized whipped cream is call Creme Legere but lots of recipes use unsweetened whipped cream, or whipped cream slightly sweetened but no gelatin, and call it Crème Diplomate. Basically, there are a lot different names and recipes for slightly different version of the same thing.
So, where does this leave us? Well, with a delicious filling for our desserts, and you can customize to your liking! You can add less whipped cream for a studier fruit tart filling or more whipped cream for a light and airy pudding or custardy like dessert you can pair with strawberries, raspberries, and other fruit. It’s totally up to you.
- Pastry Cream: I just use my plain old pastry cream recipe, with the full 3 tablespoons of cornstarch.
- Vanilla Extract
- Egg Yolks
- Granulated Sugar
- Stabilized Whipped Cream: Here is where it gets interesting. You can use the full recipe of stabilized whipped cream, half the recipe for a studier and thicker creme diplomat. And, you do not have to stabilize it or add gelatin if you don’t want to. You even skip the extra sugar in the whipped cream for a Creme Legere.
- Heavy Whipping Cream
- Granulated Gelatin
- Powdered Sugar
How to Make
Step 1: Make pastry cream
Make the pastry cream at least 2 hours (up to 2-3 days) in advance as it need to chill in the fridge before mixing with the whipped cream. If you’ve never made pastry cream before, check out this post for tons of tips and tricks so you get it perfect the first time!
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat whole milk, vanilla, and salt until just simmering. In another large bowl, mix egg yolks, cornstarch, and sugar until pale yellow.
Slowly add warm milk to the egg mixture about ½ cup at a time in order to temper it. Make sure the milk is not too hot or it can overcook the egg yolks. Return the milk/egg mixture to the saucepan and heat over medium heat until it starts to boil.
Once it boils, remove from heat, stir in butter, strain using a fine mesh strainer, and put in bowl and cover with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly against the filling so it doesn’t form a skin.
Chill for at least 2 hours. The filling can be made 2-3 days in advance.
Step 2: Make Stabilized Whipped Cream
Stabilized whipped cream is really easy to make. It’s regular whipped cream stabilized with gelatin. That’s it! You can read a full detailed post on making it here.
Bloom the gelatin by sprinkling the gelatin over water and letting sit for about 5 minutes. You can see below it gets gel like.
Once it’s bloomed, heat in the microwave for 5-10 second intervals until it has totally dissolved. Do not over cook the gelatin, or it can lose its setting ability. You want it just dissolved. It’s will normally take less than 30 seconds.
Once the gelatin has dissolved, remove from the microwave and stir in the extra cream to temper it. The cream should cool down the mixture and also makes it so you don’t get unmixed pieces of gelatin in the whipped cream.
Add sugar, whipping cream, and vanilla in a bowl. Making sure that the whipping cream is very cold. Using a chilled bowl can also help the whipped cream whip up nicely. Mix on low until it starts to thicken and soft peaks form. Slowly add the gelatin mixture and continue beating until soft firmed peaks form.
Step 3: Gently Combine
Remove the pastry cream from the refrigerator remix until smooth. Then, gently fold in the whipped cream about 1/2-1 cup at a time until combined.
Step 4: Use in your favorite dessert
Immediately use in your favorite dessert. If piping, it can help to pipe before the gelatin sets.
Does the whipped cream really need gelatin?
Nope! The purpose of the gelatin helps set the Crème Diplomate. So, if you’re using it for tarts, or it will be piped and sit out for awhile, it can help to have the gelatin to make it more sturdy, pipeable, and less likely to weep, leak, or get watery over time.
If you’re filling cream puffs or cake layers, it’s really a matter of preference if you want to add it. I’ve made many of a batch of pastry cream for cream puffs lightened with regular non-stabilized whipped cream and it’s been delicious and worked perfectly well.
Can I freeze this?
Unfortunately because this recipe uses cornstarch, it doesn’t freeze well and will get a slightly spongy texture if frozen.
How long does it last?
Diplomat cream will last 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
USES for diplomat Cream
This diplomat cream recipe is a very versatile and can be used in place of pastry cream in most desserts.
It’s most commonly used for:
- Filing choux pastry such as cream puffs and eclairs
- Filling for tarts and cakes such as Swiss rolls or Fraisier cake
- Making trifles or layered fruit desserts
Looking for more French Pastry recipes? Check these out!
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream very cold
- 1 tsp granulated gelatin
- 1 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
- pinch of salt
- 5 large egg yolks
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 2 tbsp unsalted or salted butter optional
- In a saucepan bring milk, vanilla, and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Do not boil the milk as it can overflow the pan and also overcook the eggs when tempering.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch. It should be thick, creamy, and pale yellow.
- While whisking, slowly add ½ cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolk mixture to temper it. This insures that the eggs don’t overcook and curdle.
- Add the remaining milk mixture half a cup at a time, while continuously mixing.
- Return to saucepan and cook over medium low to medium heat until the mixture is thick and bubbling. Remove from heat once the mixture boils.
- If adding butter, add one tablespoon at a time and mix until fully incorporated before adding the next. Sometimes the butter separates a bit and makes the mixture greasy. If this happens, whisk continuously for a few minutes until it’s fully combined and cooled down a bit. It should recombine and no longer be greasy.
- Once everything is fully combined and slightly cooled but still warm, pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into another bowl. This will make for a very smooth pastry cream.
- Cover with plastic wrap, placing the wrap directly on top of the pastry cream filing so it doesn’t get a film on top.
- Then chill until ready to use, at least two hours or overnight.
Stabilized Whipped Cream
- Optional but helpful is to chill your mixing bowl before whipping.
- Bloom the gelatin by sprinkling the gelatin over water and letting sit for about 5 minutes.
- Once it’s bloomed, heat in the microwave for 5-10 second intervals until it has totally dissolved (about 20-30 seconds total). Do not over cook the gelatin, or it can lose it’s setting ability.
- Once it’s dissolved, remove from the microwave and stir in the extra cream. The cream should cool down the mixture. If the mixture starts to set before using, reheat until melted again. Just make sure it’s cooled down a bit before adding to the whipping cream.
- Add sugar and whipping cream in a preferably cold bowl.
- Mix on low until it starts to thicken and soft peaks form. Slowly add the gelatin mixture and continue beating until firmer peaks start to form. Once you get firm peaks stop mixing. Do not over beat the mixture or it can start to get lumpy or break.
- Use immediately in the diplomat cream.
Combine Diplomat Cream
- Remove the chilled pastry cream from the fridge and mix with a spoon or whisk until creamy.
- Gently add in the whipped cream about ½ - 1 cup at a time and mix fully until adding more.
- Once it’s all combined, use immediately in your favorite dessert!
- A full detailed post on making pastry cream can be found here and stabilized whipped cream here.
- You do not need to use all the stabilized whipped cream. If you want a thicker diplomat cream, use only ½ the stabilized whipped cream or just half the whipped cream recipe.
- You can also skip the gelatin in the whipped cream if desired, but the recipe will be less stable for sitting out.
- This recipe makes about 4 cups diplomat cream if you add all the whipped cream.
- This recipe will last 2-3 days in the fridge and is best piped immediately after making. Unfortunately it does not freeze well.