Easy Cream Puffs with Pastry Cream are elegant, impressive, and surprisingly simple to make. Dust them with powdered sugar, dip them in chocolate, and don't even think of eating them politely with a knife and fork. Dig in, make a mess, laugh out loud, and make it awesome.
My husband and I met in Taiwan and moved in together after only knowing each other for seven months. This is a little bit more astonishing given the fact that we had only been in the same country for the first three of those seven months. We mostly fell in love and learned we didn't want to live without each other online. The Universe meant for us to be together. There's just no denying it.
One of the first things we learned about each other after moving in together was how much we both loved desserts. There was this little bakery around the corner from our apartment in Taiwan that sold cream puffs, and we'd go there way too often in the evening and get three each. We'd dip them in some Hershey's chocolate syrup I'd procured from who knows where and inevitably make a giant mess as cream oozed out over our fingers. It was almost perfect happiness. After so many years of despair and confusion, that simple moment was a revelation.
What makes Cream Puffs so awesome?
I love the contrast of textures in cream puffs, aka profiteroles. The pate choux bakes up airy and crunchy, and the pastry cream inside is smooth and creamy. Nothing is overly sweet. It's just so simple. I could eat a hundred.
If you wanted to change things up, you could fill these with ice cream or chocolate ganache. You could buy custard or fill them with sweetened whipped cream. Pate choux can also be used to make puffy savoury treats, so the whole thing is really super customizable. Like, what if you filled them with mac and cheese for a quick party bite? That would be awesome, right?
How to make Cream Puffs
Pate choux is different from other baked goods. You need to cook the flour with water and melted butter first, then beat in eggs, off the heat, to form a thick, sticky dough. You then pipe it into the shape you want it to puff up into, in this case, just simple little balls. Then once they hit the heat of the oven, they fill with steam and puff up all beautiful and golden.
In my opinion, making the pastry cream or custard is a little bit more difficult, just because it will split if it gets too hot. So just go easy with the heat and be patient. Don't panic and stop cooking too soon, though, or your pastry cream will be too runny like mine was in the photos. Just keep whisking over low heat until it's nice and thick. This is not a beginner recipe, but it's totally doable by a baker with a little bit of experience.
Ice cream, chocolate ganache, butterscotch pudding, nutella mixed with cream cheese, flavored whipped cream, this list could go on and on. You get the idea.
Magickal properties of butter
Have you ever made your own butter before? Doesn't it just feel like magic? Just by shaking, churning, or otherwise agitating cream, this rich, white liquid, you can end up with golden smooth butter. I think butter would be ideal to use anytime you want to transform something good in your life into something even better.
Traditionally, butter is associated with peace, spirituality, and Faerie. If I was a woodland spirit and somebody left me a buttery offering, I know I'd want to be nice to them.
It's amazing how something so simple can become so significant. These Easy Cream Puffs with Pastry Cream will always make me smile, and I hope they do the same for you.Print
Easy Cream Puffs with Pastry Cream are elegant, impressive, and surprisingly simple to make. Dust them with powdered sugar, dip them in chocolate, and don't even think of eating them politely with a knife and fork.
- Prep Time: 30
- Cook Time: 40
- Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
- Yield: 18 1x
- Category: Dessert
- Method: Baked
- Diet: Vegetarian
For the pastry cream
- 1-½ plus ⅛ cups whole milk
- ⅜ cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- ⅛ cup corn starch
- 2 egg yolks
For the pate choux:
- ½ cup water
- 3 tablespoons butter
- Pinch of salt
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 eggs
For the pastry cream
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine 1-½ cups whole milk, sugar, and salt. Allow it to heat up until it starts to bubble.
- While you're waiting for this to happen, combine your remaining ⅛ cup milk with the corn starch in a small bowl. Stir together until dissolved.
- Separate your eggs and whisk your egg yolks together in a bowl.
- As soon as the milk and sugar on the stove starts to boil, pour in the milk and corn starch mixture while whisking gently. Continue to stir as it thickens. This will take about two minutes.
- Scoop out a few tablespoons of the hot milk mixture and gently whisk them in to the egg yolks, then add the egg yolks back in to the pot and continue to whisk gently for another two minutes or so until thickened. The pastry cream should look yellowish, thick and wobbly.
- Pour the cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap, allowing it to actually touch the complete surface of the cream in the bowl. Put this in the fridge to chill for at least two hours. Overnight is fine.
For the pate-choux
- Preheat your oven to 400 F (200 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment or a silicone baking mat.
- Add the water, butter, and salt to a medium sauce pan over medium high heat. When the water is boiling and the butter is melted, add in the flour. Stir this together with a wooden spoon until it forms one big dough ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
- Transfer your dough to a bowl with an electric mixer, if you have it. (This can also be done with a wooden spoon and a strong arm.) Turn the mixer on low and add the eggs, one at a time. Allow this to mix for several minutes until the dough is smooth.
- Transfer your dough to a pastry bag or zip top bag and snip the tip. Pipe your dough onto your parchment-lined baking sheet in small round dollops, about the size of a ping pong ball.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Allow puffs to cool completely before filling.
- The assemble, open up each puff by cutting about three quarters of the way around the circumference of each puff. There should be a cavity in the middle created by the steam.
- Transfer your pastry cream to a pastry bag or zip top bag and snip the tip. Gently lift up the lid on each puff, and squeeze some cream inside. Dust with powdered sugar if you like.
If you made this recipe, don't forget to leave a rating and a comment to let others know how you got on. Thanks so much!