One Recipe Alton Brown Thinks You Should Have Memorized

Many people will tell you that there are certain recipes that everyone should know like the back of their hand. For example, Taste of Home feels that you should be able to effortlessly whip up spinach-mushroom scrambled eggs for breakfast. And MyRecipes states that everyone needs to know how to put together a basic salad for a quick lunch or a healthy dinner side dish. However, when it comes to dessert, chef Alton Brown's must-memorize recipe may surprise you.

Most cooks may say that the best sweet recipe to know like a pro is something like a batch of classic chocolate chip cookies or old-fashioned vanilla cupcakes. However, the dish the "Good Eats" host suggests you know by heart is not a stand-alone treat, but a filling. But considering Brown is a widely acclaimed chef who has mastered everything from a basic fruit tart to a complex bowl of chocolate chia pudding (per Alton Brown's website), we assure you his advice is worthy of following. So, what is the golden recipe?

For Alton Brown, pastry cream is an absolute must

If you've ever savored a cream puff or enjoyed a serving of cream pie, you have pasty cream to thank for giving your treat its delicious taste and luscious texture. And, according to his website, pastry cream is also the dessert recipe Alton Brown feels every good chef should memorize.

Brown explains that pastry cream is "one of the great mother sauces of the dessert world." By closely studying this recipe, you'll theoretically know how to make the foundation of countless treats. And the recipe itself is relatively simple to make: To prepare a batch of pastry filling, all you need is sugar, butter, eggs, milk, vanilla, and cornstarch.

However, memorizing the proper way to fill a pastry with pastry cream is just as important as remembering how to make it. While every type of pastry will be filled slightly differently, you can generally get a feel for the pastry filling process by first learning how to prepare a puff pastry. According to Serious Eats, one of the best ways to go about piping your puff pastries full of filling is to poke a hole in them as soon as they are finished baking, which will provide a place for you to put the filling in. Then, you only have to pipe cream into your pastry until it feels heavy. Once you learn how to flawlessly make and use pastry cream, you'll be whipping up professional-level desserts in no time.