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photo of cream puffs filled with whipped cream

Cream Puff Recipe

Pâte à choux may sound intimidating, but cream puffs are surprisingly easy to make at home! Made with just 5 ingredients, this basic recipe is a perfect intro to choux pastry. Fill them with a smooth and sweet whipped cream for the perfect compliment to the crisp cream puff.
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Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins
Cooling time: 30 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 30 mins
Serves: 32 cream puffs
Calories: 72kcal

Ingredients

Cream Puff Ingredients

  • 160 grams whole milk
  • 160 grams water
  • 4 grams (3/4 teaspoon) salt
  • 6 grams granulated sugar
  • 140 grams unsalted butter European butter (Plugra)
  • 180 grams all-purpose flour sifted
  • 200 grams large eggs

Whipped Cream Ingredients

  • 1 whole vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 480 grams cold heavy whipping cream
  • 65 grams powdered sugar

Equipment

  • 1 wooden spoon
  • 1 Piping Bag
  • 1 Piping tip
  • 1 Silpain baking mat or parchment paper

Instructions

Making the Pâte à Choux

  • Add the milk, water, salt, sugar, and butter to a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. It is important to make sure that the butter is melting at the same rate the milk is heating so that the milk doesn't boil before the butter is melted. Slowly moving it around with a wooden spoon helps distribute the heat evenly. 
  • Once the mixture has come to a boil, turn off the heat and add the sifted flour. 
  • Begin stirring immediately with a wooden spoon, and continue to stir for 1 minute until the flour is fully incorporated, it will look a lot like mashed potatoes. 
  • Turn the heat back on to medium-high heat and continue to stir and keep it moving to dry out the dough.
  • Once you see a browning layer on the bottom of your saucepan the dough is dry enough and remove it from the heat. This is important, as it will help your cream puffs “puff” and ensure that they have a hollow center for the cream filling.
  • Put the dough immediately into the bowl of your stand mixer with the paddle attachment and begin to mix to cool it down, this should take about 30 seconds. When you can place your hand on the side of the bowl without it feeling too hot, it’s done.
  • Add the eggs one at a time, letting each egg incorporate fully before the next. The dough should be fully combined with no spots of dry flour, and stiff enough to hold its shape, but pull to a soft peak when picking up the spoon. 
  • Prepare a piping bag with a large round tip, Christophe is using an Ateco 809 tip. Fill the piping bag with the dough.
  • Pipe the pâte à choux rounds slightly smaller than your desired final size (about 2-inches), as they will “puff” and expand in the oven.
  • Gently smooth the top of the cream puff with a damp fingertip.
  • Bake the cream puffs at 350°F for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. 
  • Cool the cream puffs completely to room temperature on a wire rack, for about 30 minutes. 

Making the Whipped Cream

  • Split the vanilla pod in half with a sharp knife and scrape the beans. Add the beans to the heavy cream and mix briefly so the beans distribute evenly. 
  • Place a strainer directly over your mixing bowl and strain the cream and vanilla beans to remove the larger fibers from the cream.
  • Add the powdered sugar to the cream in the mixer. 
  • Whip the cream on medium-high speed with the whisk attachment for about 5 minutes until medium to stiff peaks. Keep the whipped cream cold until you are ready to use it. 

Filling the Cream Puffs

  • Fill a pastry bag with the prepared whipped cream. Christophe chose a star tip, but any larger tip will do. 
  • Slice the fully cooled cream puff in half with a serrated knife, this will avoid crushing the hollow shell. You can also insert a piping tip into a small hole on the bottom of the cream puff and fill the cream puffs in the center.
  • Pipe a generous amount of whipped cream into the bottom half and gently place the top on, do not squish them down so you can still see the beautiful filling. 
  • Sift a light dusting of powdered sugar on top. 
  • Cream puffs are meant to be eaten the same day as they are made. The moisture of the filling will cause the cream puff to soften and lose its crunch. So the sooner you can serve the cream puffs, the better. If you don't eat them all, store them in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Notes

Storing Baked Cream Puff Shells: Cool them completely, wrap them well in plastic wrap, and store them at room temperature. They can also be frozen if you do not plan to use them in the next day or so. If your cream puffs have softened they can be crisped up in a 350°F oven for 5 minutes.
Storing Cream Puff Dough: If you don’t plan to serve your puffs the same day, pipe and freeze the cream puff dough to be baked and filled as needed. Just place them on a baking sheet and let them thaw slightly and bake as directed. If you have leftover filled cream puffs, store them in an airtight container in the fridge, they will be soft, but still delicious. 
Chef Christophe is using a "silpain" baking mat on a cookie sheet to create the perfect golden cream puffs, but parchment paper will work as well.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cream puff | Calories: 72kcal (4%) | Carbohydrates: 7g (2%) | Protein: 2g (4%) | Fat: 4g (6%) | Saturated Fat: 3g (15%) | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 33mg (11%) | Sodium: 60mg (3%) | Potassium: 23mg (1%) | Fiber: 0.2g (1%) | Sugar: 2g (2%) | Vitamin A: 151IU (3%) | Calcium: 12mg (1%) | Iron: 0.4mg (2%)