Italian Cream Filled Pastry (Pasticciotto) – Food and Journeys®

Pasticiotti recipe cooking with nonna

Video Pasticiotti recipe cooking with nonna

Try making this Southern Italian pastry shop at home. Pasticciotto Leccese ticks all the boxes for what a perfect cake should be: sweet, sumptuous and irresistible. Enjoy a slice of pastries filled with Italian cream on your next break!

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If there is such a thing as ‘comforting pastry’, that’s pasticciotto to me. Sweet, creamy and with a bit of crunchiness from the pastry, what more could you ask for?

I discovered this delight when we went to Puglia in the summer of 2016. In the southern part of Puglia, a city called Lecce, where this cake is as ubiquitous as orecchiette (the pasta of the region).

Pasticciotto is basically a sweet cake with a pastry cream as a filling


Locals normally enjoy them as breakfast cakes, but I’ve also met a few who would warm them up after dinner and take them for dessert. Still as delicious as they were in the morning.



  • Eggs – at room temperature


  • Cornstarch: In case you can’t find cornstarch, potato flour is a good substitute


  • Sugar – regular white sugar.
  • Lemon: You would only use lemon zest for the cream (not in the picture above).
  • Milk : regular whole milk is preferred.
  • Pastry dough: If you already have a favorite recipe for making pastry dough, feel free to use it. Otherwise, try my pasta frolla recipe!


Start by preparing your pastry molds/muffins by greasing with butter and a flour powder.

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Prepare the Italian pastry cream by heating the milk in a small or medium saucepan, placed over medium heat

(photo 1).

While waiting for milk, combine egg yolk, sugar, cornstarch, and lemon zest in a medium bowl; use a whisk to mix (photo 2).

Slowly pour the hot milk over the egg mixture while constantly beating the mixture. Don’t pour the milk all at once, or you could end up cooking the eggs instead of making custard.

Pour the pastry cream back into the saucepan and bring to a slow boil and until thickened to the desired consistency (photo 3).

Let the custard cool.

Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).

Start rolling the pastry dough and place them in your pastry/muffin molds. Leave some pastry dough hanging on the side of the cans; You will use this part later to seal the dough (photo 4).

Prepare (cut) the pastry dough to cover the top of each can as well.

Use a spoon to add custard to each can. Try not to put more than the top of the can (photo 5).

Top each can with the rest of the prepared pastry dough. Fold the top dough under the bottom dough to seal the sides and make sure no cream leaks (photo 6).

Brush the top with egg whites.

Place in the oven for twenty to twenty-five minutes or until golden brown.

Serve: Enjoy your pasticciotto Leccese with a sprinkle of powdered sugar, if desired.



  • are using your own pastry dough, try not to make it too sweet. Remember that you are adding the cream later, and the resulting pasticciotto could become too sweet.
  • Muffin cans or mini-cake shapes are great alternatives if you don’t have the molds used in this recipe. I was just lucky that my mother-in-law gave them to me. 🙂
  • Remember not to add warm milk to eggs all at once, don’t waste yolks cooking them
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Frequently Asked Questions

Pasticciotto is best served hot and heating it in the microwave for a few seconds will always do the trick.

However, be careful when eating, hot pastry cream MAY burn! Enjoy!

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