Cream puffs are elegant, versatile, and I always make them fresh because the store-bought versions are just not the same for me. Freshly made cream puffs are the only way to enjoy them.
They are easy to make at home and I began making them at a young age after my mom taught me how – thank you mom! The crisp exterior and the eggy soft center are comforting and there is nothing else like it… and I crave them. I make these often for dinner guests and fill them with pastry cream (vanilla custard), Chantilly cream, or vanilla ice cream. A simple dusting of confectioners’ sugar makes a perfect presentation. Chocolate ganache, or just chocolate sauce, drizzled over the top is luxurious.
You can easily make these smaller or larger depending on how you want to serve them. One of my favorite presentations is to make a cream puff ring. I spoon or pipe the dough in a circle with each mound touching. After baking, and cooling, I very carefully slice and lift off the top. I then add the filling, replace the top, dust with confectioners’ sugar, and sprinkled fresh blueberries and raspberries around the ring and in the center.
Once you make these at home, you will never consider purchasing pre-made ones from the grocery store.
Important Note to Keep in Mind: The cream puffs may deflate if the oven door is opened during baking – especially in the beginning, if the oven is not fully pre-heated before putting the cream puffs in to bake, or you removed the puffs from the oven too soon. Temperature is especially important to the puffs rising. Every time you open the oven door, cool air rushes in, and the heat temperature is no longer accurate. High heat is critical for the puffs to rise and stay puffy.
Storing Unfilled Cream Puffs: Unfilled cream puffs can be stored at room temperature for 24 hours or frozen covered for 1 month.
Re-crisp the Exterior: The exterior will be softer and not crispy like when first out of the oven. To re-crisp, room temperature cream puffs, preheat oven to 300°F, place cream puffs on baking sheet and bake for 5 to 8 minutes. For frozen cream puffs, bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400° F and place a rack in the center.
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or lightly grease the baking sheets with butter.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Whisk to combine.
In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, add the butter and water and bring to a boil.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the flour mixture, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined.
Return saucepan to the heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about 2 mins.) This is important that you don’t stop until the dough is at the correct stage. Set aside for about 5 minutes to cool enough so the eggs do not begin to cook when added.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well and fully incorporating the egg before adding the next. The dough should thicken and look shiny and smooth.
Using a spoon, scoop the dough onto the prepared pans in dollops about 2 inches across. Leave about 2 inches between each mound. You can make them larger if you wish.
For a more polished appearance, spoon the mixture into the pastry bag and pipe out 2-inch rounds onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving 2 inches of space between each round. You can make them larger if you wish.
Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until they are a deep golden brown all over. Do not open the door until they are close to the end of baking – they may deflate if the oven is opened early on.
Transfer to wire racks to cool completely before filling. You can poke a small hole in the side of the cream puffs to let steam escape if you do not want the inside too moist.
Once cool, use a serrated knife to split the cream puffs horizontally.
Vanilla Cream Custard Filling
In a large mixing bowl, combine the pudding mix, heavy cream, milk, and vanilla. Whisk until fully combined.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 0Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 0mgCarbohydrates: 0gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 0g