This holiday, I spent quite a bit of time in the kitchen baking. Not only did I make a swiss cake roll, I made a very large array (16 to be exact) of cookies for my homemade cookie tins for friends and family. Needless to say, I was quite exhausted by the end of it. However, since my brother was coming home for Christmas, I wanted to try something special. Thus, I made cream puffs.
I was always very scared of making pastry. After successfully making my very own pie crust, I figured I should try for the next hurdle– Pâte à choux. This is a pastry shell made simply from water, butter, flour, and egg. It surprised me that there is absolutely no leavening or yeast and yet it has such an amazing rise. This is due to the steam released from the batter that allows for such a beautiful and high rise.
This recipe is really so simple. All it needs is a sauce pan and either a mixer or your well-toned arms. Pâte à choux literally means paste cabbage because of how it looks after it bakes. Since I decided to just drop the batter onto the pan instead of piping and didn’t have the patience to smooth out edges, I think it really does look like some delicious cabbage.
For my first go, I opted for a lemon curd cream and coffee cream. I liberally dusted with powdered sugar and dark cocoa powder and they turned out so beautifully. I’m always so proud when I make something that looks so complicated and actually looks like the real deal.
Here are a few tips when you attempt your own cream puffs:
- Use a non-stick pot when cooking your dough to prevent any burning or sticking and continuously stir while the flour cooks out
- You can opt to substitute half the water for milk for a slightly creamier taste
- The cream puffs can be filled with savory or sweet filling and the pastry doughs can have their flavors adjusted accordingly
- For a smooth finish, wet your finger with warm water and tap down the points in the dough
- Don’t ever open the oven until the bake time is over! Turn on your own light to keep an eye on the bake. Generally if the outsides are well browned, the puffs are generally cooked
- When opening the oven door, first open a small 1 inch crack to let the initial steam out, then slowly open the oven door and remove the puffs
- Let the puffs fully dry and steam to completely escape before filling
- When beating the whipped cream, keep the cream as cold as possible by chilling the bowl and whisk beforehand.
- When storing, don’t use an airtight container! You’ll be treated with a soft crust instead of a crisp one.
Note*** This version of the recipe is soley mine. When reposting, please cite me and my website.
Copyright december 2015 ©
Light and airy cream puffs filled with a delicate whipped cream
>>> Yields 12 cream puffs
-Prep: 30 min
-Bake: 25-28 min
– 1 c water
– 1/2 C unsalted butter
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 tsp sugar
– 1 1/4 C AP flour
– 4 large eggs
– 2 c cold heavy cream
– 1/4 C white sugar
– 1 tsp vanilla
– 1/4 tsp salt
– optional: 1 tbsp flavoring (see above)
-powdered sugar, cocoa powder for dusting
1) Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a large baking sheet with silat or parchment paper.
2) Add water, butter, salt, and sugar into a small pot. Bring to medium heat and stir until the butter has melted and liquid comes to a boil.
3) Remove the pot from heat and add the flour 1/3 at a time, stirring vigorously with the other hand.
4) Put the pot back onto the heat and cook over medium heat while stirring until the mixture becomes smooth (about 1-2 minutes).
5) Remove the pot from heat and let cool for 5 minutes until it is warm to the touch.
6) Put the flour mixture into a mixer and beat the eggs in one at a time. After the last egg has been added, beat for 2-3 minutes until the batter is smooth.
7) Using a spoon, drop about 4 tablespoons on mixture onto the prepared baking sheet 2-3 inches apart (the puffs will expand when baked). You should be able to make 12 mounds.
8) Bake the pastries for 15 minutes, then turn the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for an additional 10-13 minutes until pastries are a medium golden brown. Make sure the tops don’t burn. Do not open the oven door while the pastries are still baking.
9) Once the puffs are done, remove from oven and, using a small knife, cut small slits on the top of each and return to oven for 5 minutes to allow steam to escape.
10) Remove from oven and let cool completely.
11) For the cream filling, pour the cream into a bowl and whip on high for 7-8 minutes. Add in sugar and salt about halfway. Whip until the cream becomes still but smooth. Add in vanilla and any other flavoring of your choice.
12) Cut the puffs in half and fill with the whipped cream and replace tops.
13) Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
14) Store at room temperature for 1-2 days or in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Avoid storing in an airtight container or the puffs will become soggy.