Cream Puffs (recipe from https://www.fifteenspatulas.com/cream-puffs/)
For the choux dough:
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 5 oz all purpose flour, by weight (1 cup, measured)
- pinch of salt
- 5 large eggs
For the vanilla pastry cream filling:
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
- 5 egg yolks
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Place the water and butter in a saucepan and melt over medium high heat.
- Dump the flour and salt in all at once and stir, on the heat, for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is smooth and the dough falls away from the sides of the pan.
- Transfer the dough to a food processor and let it cool for five minutes.
- Add all the eggs, and pulse the mixture until the dough is smooth and has fully incorporated the eggs. The dough should look like a thick cake batter.
- Transfer this choux dough into a piping pag and pipe out small mounds of dough, about an inch in diameter, and about 1/2 inch tall. They will puff up considerably and you don’t want to make them too tall.
- Bake for about 25 minutes until the puffs are golden brown, then remove them from the oven and use a knife to poke a small hole into each of the puffs. This will let the steam escape and prevent our puffs from getting soggy. Let cool completely.
- To make the pastry cream, scald the milk in a saucepan over medium high heat (you want to cook the milk to about 180 degrees F, when little bubbles start to form on the side of the pan. This is the stage before a boil).
- While the milk heats up, whisk to combine 1/2 cup sugar, the egg yolks, and cornstarch.
- Once the milk has come to the right temperature, slowly dribble the milk into the egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly, then return all of the liquid to the pan.
- Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, for the next minute or two, until the mixture comes to a boil and the mixture thickens up considerably.
- Remove the pastry cream from the heat and stir in the vanilla and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust vanilla and salt levels if needed. Chill the pastry cream in the fridge while you make the cream.
- Combine the heavy whipping cream and 2 tbsp sugar in a bowl and whip with either a hand mixer or a whisk until it forms soft peaks.
- Fold this mixture gently into the pastry cream to lighten it. You can now fill the puffs with this mixture, or you can chill it if you prefer. Enjoy!
How to Make Cream Puffs:
First we start with making the choux pastry dough. Place a stick of butter and water in a pan:
Melt the two together:
Dump in a bunch of flour, and get ready to stir a lot:
Using a wooden spoon, stir like mad until the mixture becomes smooth, and the dough falls away from the sides of the pan (which you can see here):
Place the dough in a food processor with a bunch of eggs:
Pulse the mixture until the eggs are incorporated and the mixture is thick, kind of like a super thick cake batter:
How to Bake Cream Puffs:
Pipe the choux dough into little mounds on a baking sheet:
And use wet fingers to press down on the tips:
Bake in a 400F oven for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. Then once they are baked, let them cool completely.
I use the cooling time to make the pastry cream. If you have the right tip you can pipe the filling into the puffs without cutting them open, but you can also just slice them in half and fill. Honestly I like the look of it better since you can see the filling peeking out.
As far as toppings go, I just dipped them with a little melted bittersweet chocolate, and added sprinkles, fleur de sel, and so on. I think they look fun with a little decoration, but you can definitely skip it too.