Cream Puffs! One of my all time favorite desserts! There’s just completely irresistible. I love the combination of a light puffy, tender pastry filled with a luscious, rich pastry cream. If you want to make them even more decadent, finish them off with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
Cream puffs have been one of my favorite desserts since the first time I sunk my teeth into one. The first one I ever had was the kind that you purchase from the frozen section of the grocery store, which someone had brought to a party many, many, years ago.
Indeed those actually were quite good, so immediately following that party, I remember going home and searching for a recipe to make them from scratch. The homemade version was of course far better than the store bought version. Since then I’ve tried several recipes and learned a few tips and tricks along the way.
The two tips I like best are replacing the traditional all-purpose flour used in the cream puffs with bread flour and replacing one of the whole eggs with two egg whites. The bread flour add more gluten which will allow the use of more liquids and better rise and the egg whites will help dry the actual puffs more.
For these cream puffs I decided to use both a pastry cream and a whipped cream. Normally you’ll see cream puffs stuffed or filled with one or the other but I thought why not use both? Then you get the thick creaminess of the pastry cream and the light fluffiness of the whipped cream all in one. A perfect and dreamy, custard plus cloud-like combo.
Also, I do like to mention the shortcut versions if I have tried and enjoy them, so the cheater version here which is also good (thanks to the use of the cream of course =) if you don’t have time to make the homemade pastry cream: simply combine 1 cup cream, 1 cup milk and 1 (5.1) oz package of instant vanilla pudding mix and stir about 3 minutes. Enjoy!
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- Prepare pastry cream according to directions listed. During the last hour of chilling prepare cream puffs as follows. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- For the cream puffs: In a medium saucepan bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil. Remove from heat, add in bread flour and mix until well combined. Return to medium heat and continue to cook, stirring mixture constantly until mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball.
- Allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Stir in eggs and egg whites one at a time, stirring after each addition until combined (You can do this by hand or with an electric mixer. Mixture will seem to separate when adding eggs, continue to stir until it comes together).
- Drop mixture about 2 Tbsp at a time onto Silpat lined baking sheets, spacing them about 2-inches apart. Bake in preheated oven 25 - 30 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from oven, transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Once cool, cut into halves then fill with pastry cream, sweetened whipped cream and top with chocolate sauce or dust with powdered sugar. For best results served immediately once filled.
- For the pastry cream: In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring milk and cream just to a boil. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl whisk together sugar, eggs, cornstarch, flour, and salt until well blended and slightly pale, about 1 minute.
- Remove saucepan from heat, while whisking pour 2/3 cup of the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture and mix until combined, then pour egg mixture into milk mixture in pan while whisking mixture in pan.
- Return to heat and reduce temperature to medium-low. Cook whisking mixture constantly to prevent curdling, until mixture has thickened (it should be quite thick and feel heavier to stir), about 4 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Press mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a heat proof bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap pressing directly against surface of pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming, and chill 2 hours or until mixture is cold (do not stir mixture at this point or the starch bonds that have formed will be broken and the pastry cream will thin).
- For the sweetened whipped cream: In a mixing bowl, using an electric hand mixer set on high speed, whip heavy cream until soft peaks form. Stir in powdered sugar and continue to whip until stiff peaks form.
- Recipe Source: cream puffs adapted slightly from whatscookingamerica, pastry cream - Cooking Classy