Add milk, 1/3 cup of sugar, salt, scraped vanilla seeds, and the pod to a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium/high heat, but don’t let it boil. Turn off the heat and let sit for 15 minutes while the vanilla infuses. (if using extract, no need to let it sit. Add it later).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until fully combined.
Once the milk has infused, remove the vanilla pod* and bring mixture back up to a simmer. When it’s ready, turn off the heat and, while whisking, slowly drizzle in about half the milk to the egg yolk mixture (this tempers the yolks so they don't turn into scrambled eggs). Then, while whisking, pour the tempered yolk mixture back into the saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture thickens, 5 to 7 minutes. Don't worry if the custard looks like it’s curdled when it comes to a boil; just switch to a whisk and beat vigorously. Cook, whisking constantly, for another 2 minutes; the custard will come together and become very thick, like pudding.
Remove from heat and whisk in butter and vanilla. If there are any lumps, strain the pastry cream into a bowl through a fine mesh sieve or strainer. Press a layer of plastic wrap directly on to the surface and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
*Don’t throw away scraped vanilla pods. Rinse them well and let them fully dry. Then add to a jar of sugar to make vanilla sugar. Keep adding pods as you use them