In pastry and confectionery, muslin is one of the creams derived from the pastry. Of French origin, the crème mousseline It is a basic preparation normally used as a filling or topping for many sweets, essential in classic recipes such as Paris-Brest or the tropézienne tart. Its homemade is not difficult, although you have to take into account some keys to make it perfect.
Let us remember that pastry cream is part of the bases of the pastry cookbook and is one of the most versatile when it comes to fill in and accompany all kinds of cakes and desserts. It is very similar to the classic vanilla custard, and today you can find powdered products to facilitate its preparation at home.
Without a single recipe in terms of its proportion of ingredients, it depends a bit on the variety of these and the use that you want to give it, the classic formula It consists of a cooked mixture of milk and / or cream, sugar, egg yolks and cornstarch or cornstarch.
What is muslin cream
Our dictionary of the Royal Academy only collects, for the moment, a brief definition of ‘muslin’:
From fr. mousseline. 1. f. Cotton fabric, silk, wool, etc., thin and not very dense.
Indeed, the culinary term is inspired by the fine consistency of these fabrics to name various elaborations whose main characteristic is the softness and delicacy of its texture. In French, mousseline It is also used for certain types of sponge cakes, and in savory cooking a muslin can be a smoother and creamier mashed potato.
Focusing on the sweet cream, the muslin starts from a pastry cream to be enriched with the addition of a considerable amount of butter. If both components are combined well, the result is a very creamy, fluffy and silky base, with just the right consistency to spread with a spatula, decorate with a pastry bag or to create sweet layers in spoon desserts.
How to make a basic muslin cream
To start with the pastry maker, heat the milk with the seeds extracted from the vanilla bean and the bean itself in a large saucepan and add a little of the sugar. Stir and turn off the heat when it comes to a boil, cover with film and let infuse 15-30 minutes.
In a separate bowl, beat the rest of the sugar with the yolks using manual whisk, until you get a somewhat pale cream and the sugar has dissolved. Add the cornstarch and beat more, gently at first, until incorporated. Strain over with a fine strainer the infused milk, stirring well.
Bring everything to the fire and cook at low power, without stopping stirring, until thick, boil and acquires the consistency of ordinary pastry cream – remembering that when hot it is more liquid. Weigh to select half its weight in butter.
Separate half of that butter and add it to the hot pastry cream, beating with the rods until it is evenly incorporated. Move to a flatter container, cover with film on contact with its surface, and cool until it reaches a temperature of about 20-23ºC.
Shake the rest of the tempered butter -not melted, that the finger sinks easily when touched but retains the shape-, with a whisk to cream it. Clean the rods and beat the previous cooled cream, and add the creamy butter in several batches. Continue beating until you get a fluffy and smooth consistency.
Muslin cream variations
To the basic recipe you can add aromas and other flavorings complementing or substituting vanilla, such as rum or brandy, bitter almond, lemon or orange essence, fruit or caramel aromas, etc.
You can also make a chocolate muslin preparing the pastry cream with three egg yolks and about 100 g of previously melted dark chocolate, after having cooked the cream, when it has already thickened. To this variant you can add soluble coffee for a touch of mocha.
Other popular versions of this cream are almond or hazelnut praline muslin, or other nut pastes or creams, such as pistachios or walnuts. Matcha tea will give it a nice green hue and dehydrated berries powders other ranges of colors, for example pink with raspberry or strawberry, and bluish with blueberries.
With what to accompany the muslin cream
Once cold and thick, the muslin cream can be used to fill any basic sponge cake, either Genoese type – better if the crumb is first dipped with a syrup – or butter. Being silkier than pastry cream, it also serves to topping or frosting cakes and individual cupcakes, tartlets or cupcakes. Its consistency allows you to create very elegant decorative effects with a pastry bag and different nozzles.
This cream is used specifically in desserts already mentioned, such as the Paris-Brest, the tropézienne cake, or fraisier. It combines very well with choux pastry also in profiteroles and éclairs, and other doughs with a meringue base, such as macarons or a dacquoise.
We can use it in desserts in glass or cup, alternating it for example with biscuits or crushed biscuits and fruit, and also to fill fritters, millefeuille, canes and horns of puff pastry, topping butter pastes or chocolate molds, etc.
Photos | iStock – Marco Verch – Merle Ja Joonas – fugzu – Ella Olsson
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