Pastry cream is for me the best cream for vanilla to shine. The secret is in infusing the pod and beans in milk. The longer you infuse the better.
Whole Milk 500 g
Half a vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla extract but the taste will be very different)
Sugar 80 g
Cornstarch 45 g
5 egg yolks (90 g)
Butter 80 g
Open up the vanilla pod to extract its beans: flatten the pod with the back of a small knife, cut in the middle, open up the pod and scrape out the beans.
Put the vanilla beans , the empty vanilla pod (it still has a lot of flavour even if it is empty) and milk in a saucepan and heat up to a boil. Remove from heat, and cover. Let the vanilla infuse the milk for at least 15 minutes.
Pour a bit of the infused milk ( around 1/3) on the eggs mix.
Whisk the eggs with the milk before transferring back in the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
Heat everything at medium heat while continuously stirring to thicken the cream. Once it starts boiling, you will have to keep stirring and cooking for 2 more minutes, to make sure the eggs and the cornstarch are cooked. Remove from the stove, add the butter and whisk well.
Transfer in another recipient and protect it with saran wrap directly on the cream. Let it cool down in the fridge for at least 2 hours before using.