Cream Puffs

02.25.2013

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.

cream puffs

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!

cream puffs5

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Cream Puffs

Prep Time: 35 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 6 Tbsp butter , diced
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (5.4 oz) bread flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg whites
  • Chocolate sauce (store bought or homemade) or powdered sugar, for topping

Pastry Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Sweetened Whipped Cream

  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 6 Tbsp powdered sugar

Instructions

  1. Prepare pastry cream according to directions listed. During the last hour of chilling prepare cream puffs as follows. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. 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.
  2. For the pastry cream:
  3. 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).
  4. For the sweetened whipped cream:
  5. 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.
  6. Recipe Source: cream puffs adapted slightly from whatscookingamerica, pastry cream - Cooking Classy

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40 comments

  • Eunice Chui: Hi, the puffs look nice, and I was thinking of trying it… But the recipe above seems to have a error. In the ingredients the flour used is 1 cup of bread flour but in the second part where yiu’ve seperated the pastry and the cream the ingredient in the pastry section is 2 tbsp all-purpose flour. Appreciate it if you fixed it! June 30, 2016 at 1:59pm Reply

  • Dorothy: So glad to find your recipe. I have never made cream puffs but am going to try. I have to make them for 20 people! I was glad to read the comments from others and your helpful hints. Thanks. Dorothy May 21, 2016 at 10:46pm Reply

  • Melissa: Hey Jaclyn! Long time lover of your site, in fact you are my go to; and originally who has gotten me into food blogs (but you’re still my favourite). Just wondering how many puffs this one recipe makes; I don’t see it listed anywhere. Thanks for all your wonderful recipes and adaptations! June 14, 2014 at 9:29am Reply

    • Jaclyn: Thank you so much for the compliment Melissa :)! I’m so happy to hear you’ve loved my site!
      If I’m remembering right I think this makes about 20 cream puffs. I hope you love them! July 1, 2014 at 11:32pm Reply

  • carol: made them. Lookedd georgeous just out of oven then within a min. fell?why? Cooked on parc. paper or any other reason/ March 23, 2014 at 2:11pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: They probably needed to be cooked a little bit longer. Next time you can try cooking at the high temp listed to begin with then you can reduce the heat slightly and cook them longer. I hope that helps! March 23, 2014 at 6:09pm Reply

  • Thea: OMG I LOVE CREAM PUFFS! i was wondering how much cornstarch i am supposed to put in? what does 1/4 c stand for? thanks so much December 17, 2013 at 10:43pm Reply

    • Jaclyn: It’s 1/4 cup, sorry I’ve changed that above. December 22, 2013 at 6:18pm Reply

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