Cream Puffs

cream-puffs

Cream Puffs are quite possibly one of the most neglected of all the pastries.

I mean~ chocolate eclairs as we all know, will almost always steal the show.

But I’m not sure we give the delicate, melt in your mouth, double stuffed cream puff a fair chance!

Let’s give them a second chance today and, yes~ you heard me DOUBLE STUFFED.

With fresh pastry cream and then whipped cream to literally top it off!

Mastering the art of Pate a Choux may not be beginners work, but once you get it down pat you will be mixing up this paste in no time and making all sorts of pate a choux style desserts in less than an hour!

The hardest part of this recipe is knowing when they are baked! Since you cannot see inside these magic little shells to know if they are hollowed out yet; taking them out of the oven too soon will deflate them for sure!

Steam from the super moist egg dough is what causes this pastry to rise; so a very high oven temperature is needed to create that fast steam action.

Don’t worry, you will sacrifice a few here and there before you get to know them simply by sight and an estimated bake time (and also how your oven works ~ plays a large part in the timing of them too!)


Pate a Choux Paste
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Many have asked me my reason for using bread flour in this recipe as opposed to All Purpose. Bread Flour absorbs more moisture than AP and why I use it. It gives a stronger structure for the pate a choux, however I understand not every has bread flour or can get bread flour in which case you can use all purpose (or plain flour) just add a tablespoon or two more to the recipe
Author:
Serves: 24 puff shells
Ingredients
  • Water ½ cup (120ml)
  • Unsalted Butter 4 Tablespoons (56g)
  • Granulated Sugar 2 teaspoons (10g)
  • Salt ½ teaspoon
  • Bread Flour ½ cup (65g)
  • Fresh Large Eggs 2 (100g)
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot combine the water, butter,sugar and salt.
  2. Bring to a rolling boil, and then add the flour all at once.
  3. With a wooden spoon stir vigorously to moisten the flour. The mixture will absorb as much liquid as possible almost instantly and then turn into a mass of dough that will ball up around the spoon.
  4. Continue stirring and cooking over medium-high heat and allow some of the excess moisture to evaporate out, about 1- 2 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl (for stand mixers use the paddle attachment)
  6. Mix on low speed for about 1 minute to allow some heat to escape before adding the eggs.
  7. Now add the eggs 1 at a time.
  8. Do not add another one until the dough has absorbed the previous egg completely. Your dough mass will seem to separate into what resembles soft scrambled eggs before it has absorbed all of the liquid from the egg, but it will smooth back to a paste as you continue mixing.
  9. Add each additional egg in the same manner, but be sure to watch as you get to the last 1 to determine whether the last addition is necessary.
  10. You do not want a runny, liquid dough. You are looking for a dough that when piped into eclairs it will hold its shape on the sheet pan.
  11. Transfer your dough to a pastry bag fitted with the coupler and no tip attached.
  12. Pipe shells 3" in length and the same width as the coupler opening - approximately 1″ spaced on a silicone lined sheet pan. (*if you do not have a silicone mat it's OK- I just find that since we are baking at such a high temperature the parchment paper tends to get crispy before the eclair shells are done baking)
  13. Spritz the piped dough lightly with a spray of water (this helps create steam in the oven and a nice crispy shell)
  14. Bake at 400° F if you have a conventional oven and 375°F for convection type ovens.
  15. Approximately 35 minutes.
  16. The high temperature is necessary for your shells to PUFF up from all the steam that is created from the high moisture of the eggs and liquid in this recipe. Once they have risen (about 20 minutes) you can then turn your oven temperature down to about 350° F for conventional ovens and 325°F for convections to continue baking the rest of the way, approximately 20 minutes more.
 

To Make the Filled Cream Puffs:

Cream Puffs
 
Author:
Serves: 24 Cream Puffs
Ingredients
  • 1 Recipe Pate a Choux recipe above
  • ½ RecipePastry Cream
  • ½ Recipe Whipped Cream *stabilizer optional
  • Confectioners Sugar as needed
Instructions
  1. Follow along in the video for how to assemble
 

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13 Comments

  1. Hi GRETCHEN
    I find that, provided the pastry cream is cooled down and quite thick,
    it can be mixed with the whipped cream for an ice cream like flavoured filling .

    1. Hi Gretchen
      I’m slightly embarrassed about pointing out the obvious, to you especially . My only excuse is that I somehow missed the napoleons recipe , so naturally I thought of offering a tip about the filling , ( something I have been doing for a few years now ) for the general public out there. My apologies for the oversight

      1. Hey that’s no problem!! I appreciate the suggestions all the time! I take no offense to other pastry peeps giving tips and suggestions, since I do not know everything and LOVE to constantly learn new things 😛

  2. Hi Gretchen, I was wondering whether the Pate a Choux paste can be frozen and then thawed for later use? And thank you for this recipe, it worked perfectly the first time.

  3. Gretchen, can the puff dough be sweetened more than your recipe calls for without hurting the recipe?
    Your site is wonderful. I’m a new subscriber and am enjoying all your tips and recipes. Thanks!
    Barbara

    1. HI Barbara! Thanks! The pate choux is meant to be more of a vessel to carry fillings and creams, so the sweetness is typically coming from those rather than the dough

  4. I just made this for the community gathering and everybody loooooooooooooved it!! This is the second succesfull recipe i made after the swiss buttercream. I can not wait to try some more recipe of yours, Gretchen. Thank you so much for doing this, Gretchen. Now i feel like a pro baker already.. lol.

  5. Hi Gretchen,
    Thank you for the recipe.
    I tried another and shells were soggy.
    I need to make 75 or so for a memorial service this weekend.
    Can I fill them a few hours ahead to transport?
    Other option would would be to fill them on my tailgate at the church.
    Or buy them.
    Thanks!
    Beth

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