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Creme Anglaise vs. Creme Patissiere: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 3, 2024
Creme Anglaise is a thin custard sauce made with milk, eggs, and sugar, often flavored with vanilla, while Creme Patissiere is a thick, starch-based pastry cream used in desserts and pastries.

Key Differences

Creme Anglaise is a light, pourable custard sauce, often used as a dessert topping, made primarily from milk, sugar, and egg yolks. In contrast, Creme Patissiere is a thicker, starch-thickened cream typically used as a filling for pastries and desserts. It includes similar ingredients but with the addition of a thickening agent like flour or cornstarch.
The texture of Creme Anglaise is smooth and liquid, ideal for pouring over desserts like fruit or cake. Creme Patissiere, being denser and richer, is commonly used as a filling for éclairs, fruit tarts, and other baked goods. Its consistency is key for holding shapes within pastries.
Both Creme Anglaise and Creme Patissiere are often flavored with vanilla, but Creme Anglaise can also be served with other flavorings like chocolate or coffee. Creme Patissiere, while also versatile in flavor, retains its distinct texture regardless of the added flavor.
Preparing Creme Anglaise involves careful heating to avoid curdling, as it remains a delicate sauce. Creme Patissiere requires a more robust cooking process due to the addition of starch, ensuring a thick consistency without being lumpy.
Both creams have a significant place in French cuisine. Creme Anglaise is often seen as a foundation in learning dessert sauces, while Creme Patissiere is a staple in classic French pastry making.

Comparison Chart


Thin and pourable
Thick and firm

Primary Use

Dessert sauce
Pastry filling


Milk, sugar, egg yolks
Milk, sugar, egg yolks, flour/cornstarch

Cooking Technique

Gentle heating to avoid curdling
Cooked until thick to hold shape

Common Flavors

Vanilla, but adaptable to many flavors
Often vanilla, adaptable to other flavors

Culinary Role

Enhances desserts like fruits and puddings
Essential for filled pastries like éclairs

Creme Anglaise and Creme Patissiere Definitions

Creme Anglaise

A sweet, thin sauce made from cream, eggs, and sugar.
For the dessert, creme anglaise was poured over the warm brownie.

Creme Patissiere

A thick pastry cream used as a filling for éclairs and tarts.
The creme patissiere filled the choux pastry, making a delicious éclair.

Creme Anglaise

A pourable dessert custard used in French cuisine.
The chef garnished the fruit tart with creme anglaise.

Creme Patissiere

A starch-thickened custard flavored typically with vanilla.
She piped creme patissiere into the tart shells before adding fruit.

Creme Anglaise

A versatile sauce that can be flavored with various ingredients.
The creme anglaise was infused with orange zest for a citrus twist.

Creme Patissiere

A staple in French baking, used in various pastries.
For the mille-feuille, layers of puff pastry were alternated with creme patissiere.

Creme Anglaise

A foundation of many desserts, often used as a base for ice cream.
They learned to make creme anglaise in the first week of culinary school.

Creme Patissiere

A versatile filling that can be flavored with chocolate, fruit, or spices.
The pastry chef prepared a chocolate creme patissiere for the profiteroles.

Creme Anglaise

A light, vanilla-flavored custard sauce.
The poached pear was served with a drizzle of creme anglaise.

Creme Patissiere

A rich, creamy texture, essential for many traditional French desserts.
The classic fruit tart was perfected with a smooth layer of creme patissiere.


What is the main difference between creme anglaise and creme patissiere?

Creme anglaise is a thin, pourable custard sauce, while creme patissiere is a thick pastry cream used as a filling.

What's the risk in making creme anglaise?

Overheating can cause the eggs to curdle, turning the sauce lumpy.

Can creme patissiere be flavored with something other than vanilla?

Yes, it's versatile and can be flavored with chocolate, fruit, or spices.

Is creme patissiere suitable for a lactose-intolerant diet?

No, it contains milk and cream.

How long can creme patissiere be stored?

It can be refrigerated for up to three days.

Can I use creme patissiere instead of creme anglaise in a recipe?

They serve different purposes; creme patissiere is too thick to replace creme anglaise as a sauce.

Is creme anglaise served hot or cold?

It can be served either way, depending on the dessert.

Is creme anglaise suitable for vegans?

No, it contains eggs and dairy.

Can creme patissiere be used as a cake topping?

It's too thick for a topping but perfect as a filling.

How do you prevent lumps in creme anglaise?

Constant stirring and gentle heat are crucial.

What's the best way to thicken creme patissiere?

The key is the right amount of flour or cornstarch cooked properly.

What's the secret to a smooth creme patissiere?

Proper cooking and thorough whisking to prevent lumps.

Are there low-fat versions of creme anglaise?

Yes, using low-fat milk and less cream can reduce fat content.

Can creme anglaise be used as a base for other desserts?

Yes, it's often used as a base for ice cream and other custard-based desserts.

Can creme anglaise be frozen?

Freezing is not recommended as it can alter the texture.

What pastries are commonly filled with creme patissiere?

Éclairs, fruit tarts, and Danish pastries are popular choices.

Is cornstarch or flour better for creme patissiere?

Both work, but cornstarch gives a smoother texture.

How can I flavor creme anglaise uniquely?

Infuse it with herbs, spices, or citrus zest for a unique twist.

Can creme anglaise be made in advance?

Yes, it can be refrigerated and gently reheated.

Can creme patissiere be lightened in texture?

Whipping cream can be folded in for a lighter texture.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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