Making cream puffs is one of my favourite ways of whipping up a quick and fancy dessert. It takes about the same amount of time to make the choux pastry as it does to preheat my oven to 350 deg F. Even though I prefer to fill them with a pastry cream, a sweetened whipped cream filling is much faster. You can make the cream puffs ahead of time, throw them in the freezer and then when you want to eat them, take out a couple and while they defrost, whip up the cream.
Cream Puffs with Pastry Cream Filling – makes 12 2″ cream puffs
1/4 cup unsalted butter (vegetable, olive and coconut oil works too)
1/2 cup water (or milk or half each)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Put butter and water in a saucepan and cook on medium-high heat until the butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil. (If using milk, be careful that it doesn’t foam up and boil over.)
Add flour and salt all at once to the pan, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball. (Take the saucepan off the heat if you’re concerned about not wanting to add the flour to the boiling pan and then return to the heat.)
Continue stirring and cook another minute or so until a thin film just starts to form on the bottom of the pan. (This step “dries out” the mixture and helps with the incorporation of the egg. At least that’s what I understand.)
Remove the pan from the heat and allow the contents to cool for 5 minutes. You may transfer it into a medium sized bowl and spread it out a bit as well to help in the cooling process.
Beat one whole egg in a small bowl and then add it to the mixture. Beat vigorously with the wooden spoon from above. (You can use a sturdy whisk if you want to but why dirty another utensil and it’s harder to get the batter off the whisk than it is off the wooden spoon.) It will look all lumpy and disgusting at first but the egg WILL incorporate into the batter. Add a second beaten egg and beat some more. Again, it will look pretty lumpy but it will smooth out.
The mixture should be fairly stiff but will fall off the spoon leaving an inverted triangle-like bit hanging from the spoon.
Lightly grease a cookie sheet with butter or line the sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat sheet.
Pipe or spoon out the cream puff batter by filling one teaspoon (from your cutlery set) that you’ve dipped in cold water and scraping it out with a second wetted teaspoon. Leave at least 1 inch between the puffs. Try to make sure all the piles are a similar size and more or less circular in shape.
I piped this batch because I felt like it.
I used a wet finger to pat down the pointy tops of the piped choux pastry.
You can brush the tops with a whole egg beaten with a tbsp of cold water if you want a shiny top. However, if you’re going to sift icing sugar over the top, or glaze with a chocolate mixture, there’s no point. 🙂
Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the top is browned and when you pick them up the puffs feel light. Tapping the bottom of the puffs lightly gives you a hollow/dull sound.
Cut the puffs open and fill with sweetened whipping cream, or a scoop of ice cream. Or, use a piping gun to fill every last hollow inside and get a neater cream puff.