Classic diplomat cream is a delicious mix of pastry cream (custard) and stabilized whipped cream. It’s lighter than pastry cream, and richer than whipped cream. Perfect as pastry, tart, cake fillings, as a light topping, in trifles, and even as a dessert on its own!
Learn how to make the BEST classic vanilla diplomat cream with vanilla pastry cream!
My classic vanilla pastry cream is a favorite with my readers! While I adore pastry cream, I actually love to use diplomat cream in my recipes even more. I’ve shared a lot of recipes on the blog that use diplomat cream, including my classic eclairs, salted caramel choux au craquelin, banana pudding, and salted caramel and chocolate crepe cake. So, I figured it was time to share a step by step recipe on how to make classic diplomat cream.
Types of custard recipes
You can read more about this in my classic vanilla pastry cream post.
Creme Anglaise is a pouring custard that resembles a thick sauce, and can be poured over desserts.
Creme Chantilly is a sweetened whipped cream, usually flavored with vanilla.
Pastry Cream or Creme Patissiere is a thicker custard. Used as a filling for many pastries, and the most popular type of custard.
Creme Legere is a pastry cream with sweetened whipped cream added.
Creme Diplomat or diplomat cream is creme patissiere mixed with chantilly (sweetened whipped cream), gelatine and any extra flavorings (optional). It’s basically creme legere made with stabilized whipped cream.
Creme Bavarois is a dessert on its own. It’s like panna cotta, but made with creme patissiere. It’s creme patissiere mixed with chantilly, but with extra gelatine (so that it sets like a pudding).
Here, I’ll be showing you how to make Classic Creme Diplomat or Diplomat Cream. That is pastry cream (custard), mixed with stabilized whipped cream.
How to make Diplomat Cream
There are 3 steps to making diplomat cream.
- Cooking the pastry cream (requires an overnight chill).
- Making the stabilized sweetened whipped cream (chantilly cream).
- Folding the chantilly cream into the chilled vanilla pastry cream to make classic diplomat cream.
How to make Pastry Cream
Making pastry cream is very easy. My very detailed recipe can be found here. But here are some key points.
- Heat the milk with sugar, until almost boiling.
- Whisk the eggs, yolks, and cornstarch together until smooth. (You can also add the sugar here instead of with the milk in the previous step.)
- Temper the egg with the hot milk mixture.
- Cook the egg and milk mixture over medium heat, while whisking very frequently as the pastry cream thickens. If the mixture curdles, you could end up with a grainy custard.
- Whisk until the pastry cream has thickened, and check whether it has come to a boil (bubbles breaking the surface).
- Let the custard boil for about 1 – 2 minutes on low heat while whisking continuously.
- Remove from the heat, and place the custard/pastry cream in a bowl. Cover the custard with plastic wrap, making sure the entire surface is in direct contact with the plastic wrap.
- Chill completely in the fridge.
For classic diplomat cream, it’s important to use a flavorful vanilla pastry cream. The pastry cream that I make for diplomat cream also has more cornstarch than my regular pastry cream. That’s because you need this pastry cream base to be thicker. If the pastry cream is too thin, the final diplomat cream will also be too runny.
When the pastry cream has chilled and set overnight, you will find that it has the consistency of a set pudding. This thicker custard will have the right consistency once the whipped cream is folded in.
How to make Stabilized Chantilly Cream
To make classic vanilla diplomat cream, sweetened whipped cream is mixed with vanilla pastry cream. To make stabilized chantilly cream, you will need,
- Heavy cream (at least 35% fat)
- White sugar or confectioner’s sugar
- Gelatin (bloomed in water)
Make sure the cream and the mixing bowl are chilled well. This will ensure that the cream whips up smoothly. Mix the cream and sugar together in the bowl, and keep in the fridge until needed.
Bloom the gelatin in the water for about 10 minutes. Microwave the mixture just enough to melt the gelatin, but do not let it boil. This may take about 10 – 20 seconds. While stirring the gelatin mixture, add about 1 – 2 tbsp chilled cream to temper the hot gelatin mixture.
Whisk the cream and sugar mixture with an electric hand mixer on high speed initially. Quickly add the gelatin mixture into the cream mixture, and immediately mix it into the cream. If the gelatin is poured onto the whisks, or isn’t whisked in immediately, you may get gelatin chunks in the cream instead of smooth whipped cream.
Once the gelatin is mixed in, lower the speed to medium or medium high, and whisk until the whipped cream has soft peaks. To avoid over-whisking the cream (and curdling), I prefer to manually whisk the heavy cream from soft peak to stiff peaks.
The stabilized whipped cream is ready to be used immediately when you have a smooth whipped cream with stiff peaks. Now you can make classic diplomat cream!
Making Vanilla Diplomat Cream
Whisk the chilled vanilla pastry cream to make it smooth. Since it’s set, it will be a little lumpy, so whisking it will help make the custard smooth and easy to mix.
Add about 1/4 of the whipped cream into the pastry cream and whisk it in. This will lighten the pastry cream, and make it easier to fold in the rest of the whipped cream.
Add the rest of the whipped cream in 2 – 3 additions, and fold it through the vanilla pastry cream to make vanilla diplomat cream.
How to use Vanilla Diplomat Cream
The consistency of this diplomat cream is soft, but can also maintain its shape when piped. It’s not firm enough to be a filling for cakes (without a buttercream dam), but can be used for mille feuille. Because of the gelatin, the diplomat cream will eventually “set” gently over time (faster in the fridge).
Vanilla pudding / vanilla mousse
I can totally admit that I sometimes make diplomat cream and eat it as a dessert just as is! It’s pretty much like a lighter vanilla pudding or vanilla mousse. So you can portion the diplomat cream into individual dishes and serve as a lighter pudding.
As a filling for Eclairs or Profiteroles
This classic diplomat cream is an amazing filling for choux pastry! It’s a lighter version of classic pastry cream. It tastes and feels like ice cream that isn’t too cold! Great as a filling for eclairs and profiteroles.
This also makes for a very creamy tart filling too!
This will be a great cake filling for a 2 or 3 layered vanilla cake. However, make sure the cake layers have a buttercream dam around the edge first.
To make trifles
Instead of vanilla pastry cream, you can use this classic diplomat cream to make trifles. You can also infuse the milk with bananas to make banana pudding, or infuse the milk with other flavors to make different flavored diplomat creams for various trifles.
How to change the flavor
Chocolate diplomat cream – Make the chocolate pastry cream here, and fold into the chantilly cream.
Tea infused diplomat cream – Infuse the milk with about 2 – 3 tbsp loose tea (or 3 – 4 tea bags). Make the pastry cream with the infused milk (make sure you’re using the right amount of milk). See this post for my earl grey diplomat cream.
Coffee diplomat cream – Infuse the milk with ground coffee, or melt instant coffee. Make the pastry cream with the flavored milk.
Matcha diplomat cream – Dissolve about 2 – 3 tsp of matcha powder (more for a stronger flavor) in the milk.
Salted caramel diplomat cream – Follow the recipe here to make salted caramel diplomat cream. The sugar is made into a caramel base first, before adding milk.
Why I love this recipe!
This classic diplomat cream is super delicious, with a strong vanilla flavor. But it’s also delightfully lighter because of the whipped cream. I love how perfectly sweet this dessert is on its own. But it’s also versatile enough to be used with other desserts (like in the profiteroles that I made for this post!)
Once you learn how to make a proper vanilla custard, it opens up so many possibilities for other desserts! So go ahead and give this recipe a go, and let me know how you like it! 🙂
Vanilla Diplomat Cream
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 2 cups milk 480 mL, preferably 3.5% or 2% milk
- 75 g sugar 6 tbsp
- Pinch of salt
- 40 g cornstarch (cornflour), 4 tbsp. Add 50 g / 5 tbsp if you want a thicker pastry cream (see recipe notes).
- 3 tsp vanilla extract 15 mL
- 4 large egg yolks about 20 g each. Add up to 6 yolks for a richer tasting pastry cream.
- 43 g unsalted butter softened
Stabilized Chantilly Cream
- 1 tsp gelatin powder
- 2 tbsp water at room temperature 30 mL
- 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream 30 mL, chilled
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream 240 mL, chilled
- ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar 28 g
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- Place the milk in a saucepan, and heat over medium high heat. Bring it to a simmer, almost to a boil.2 cups milk
- While heating the milk, place the sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and salt in a bowl. Whisk until you have a thick, smooth mix. Place this bowl with the egg mix on a towel or napkin (to prevent the bowl from slipping while whisking, in the next step), and set aside until the milk comes to a boil (almost to a boil).75 g sugar, Pinch of salt, 40 g cornstarch, 3 tsp vanilla extract, 4 large egg yolks
- As soon as the milk starts to simmer, remove it from the heat. Slowly pour about a half of the hot milk in a thin stream into the egg mix, WHILE WHISKING CONSTANTLY to temper the egg mix. When the eggs have been tempered, add the egg mix back into the hot milk in the saucepan.
- Heat the custard base, over medium heat, while whisking vigorously until it starts to thicken – this should take about 1 – 2 minutes depending on the heat of your stove and size of your saucepan.
- While whisking, let the custard come to a boil (the custard will release a few thick bubbles that break the surface). You will need to stop whisking for a few seconds at a time while whisking to check if the custard has come to a boil.
- Once the custard releases a bubble to the surface (starts to boil), lower the heat and cook for a further 60 – 70 seconds after you see the first bubbles break the surface. Make sure to keep whisking to prevent curdling or bubbling, and to cook the cornstarch well.
- Remove from the heat and add the butter. Whisk in the butter, until it’s completely mixed in.43 g unsalted butter
- Pour the custard into a bowl and immediately cover the surface with plastic wrap, making sure the plastic wrap is touching the whole surface. This is to prevent a custard skin from forming on top. You can also choose to pass the custard through a sieve to remove any lumps.
- Let the custard cool down to room temperature and then let it chill in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, until completely chilled.
Stabilized Chantilly Cream
- Place the 1 cup chilled whipping cream (heavy cream) in a chilled metal bowl (of your mixer). Add the sugar and mix it in. Keep the bowl in the fridge until you’re ready to whip it.1 cup heavy whipping cream, ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
- Place the water in a small microwaveable bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin and stir it in. Allow the gelatin to bloom in the water for about 10 minutes.2 tbsp water at room temperature, 1 tsp gelatin powder
- Microwave the bloomed gelatin for about 10 – 20 seconds to dissolve the gelatin. But do NOT let it boil.
- Stir in the 1 – 2 tbsp of chilled heavy cream to temper the gelatin mixture.2 tbsp heavy whipping cream
- Start whisking the chilled heavy cream-sugar mix on high speed on your mixer, and quickly pour in the gelatin mixture. Make sure the gelatin is not poured directly onto the whisks, since this will cause the gelatin to set and form clumps.
- Whisk the heavy cream on high for a few seconds to incorporate the gelatin.
- Once the gelatin is incorporated, lower the speed to medium high, and whisk the cream until it's just starting to form mid peaks.
- Use a whisk to manually whisk the cream the rest of the way until it reaches stiff peaks. Make sure to NOT let the heavy cream curdle / become grainy.
- Use immediately.
Vanilla Diplomat Cream
- Place the chilled pastry cream in a large bowl (with enough room to mix in the whipped cream).
- With a balloon whisk, whisk the chilled pastry cream until smooth and creamy.
- Fold about ⅓ of the whipped cream into the pastry cream. Once well mixed, fold the rest of the whipped cream into the custard.
- Use immediately, before the gelatin sets.
Tips & Tricks
A note about Diplomat creamDiplomat cream is also known as Bavarian Cream filling. This is different from Bavarian cream, which is a pudding. Bavarian cream filling is used to fill cakes (like Boston cream pie) and donuts. So if you do encounter desserts filled with a creamy filling that is called Bavarian cream, this is Diplomat cream!
A note about the stabilized whipped creamYou can add as much or as little of the stabilized whipped cream as you like (to make the diplomat cream). The more you add, the lighter your diplomat cream will be. If you want a sweeter diplomat cream, you can add a little extra confectioner’s sugar to the whipped cream. Instead of using gelatin, you can also use modified cornstarch/ ClearJel or instant vanilla pudding powder. For every cup of Whipping cream use – ¾ tsp ClearJel whisked together with the sugar. OR 1 tbsp instant vanilla pudding powder.
A note about cornstarchIf you’d like a lighter diplomat cream with more chantilly cream, OR you’d like a diplomat cream that is a little stiffer, use up to 50 g of cornstarch.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”