I am pretty sure you have already come across cream puffs in some restaurants, bakeries (especially French bakeries), on the internet, or perhaps on cooking shows. But have you had one before? If yes, did you make it, or was it store-bought? Let me tell you this, I have nothing against store-bought cream puffs, but you will get to enjoy them more if they are freshly baked, homemade. And that is why I am presenting to you this cream puff recipe today.
But first, what is a cream puff? It is a classic French dessert filled with a sweet and moist filling. It could be custard, pastry cream, ice cream, or whipped cream. The Choux pastry balls may also be garnished with powdered sugar, as well as caramel or chocolate sauce. Cream Puffs are like a mini version of eclairs. The dough is the same but the cream filling is a lot easier.
Some people tend to get intimidated when they hear the word Choux pastry. But trust me, it is easier to make than you think. You should be able to pull this iconic French Cream Puffs recipe together at home without any problem.
This cream puff recipe is bakery quality. The gorgeous Choux pastry balls are filled with sweet cream that will surely satisfy your cravings for sweets. They are impressive. You can easily whip them up. But, oh boy, I can guarantee you that they will disappear fast!
2 (3.5 oz) packages of instant vanilla pudding mix
2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. butter
1 c. milk
1 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. all-purpose flour
- Combine instant vanilla pudding mix with cream and milk. Refrigerate to allow to set but make sure that it is covered.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Bring water and butter to a rolling boil using a large pot. Add flour and salt. Stir until the mixture forms a ball.
- Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and start beating the eggs in, one at a time. Make sure to mix well after each addition using a wooden spoon or stand mixer.
- Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet. Be sure to keep them apart (about 1 inch apart).
- Place the baking sheet in the preheated oven and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let them cool.
- Once the balls are cooled, split each one up and fill them with the pudding mixture.
- The centers of the Choux pastry balls should be dry.
- You can also utilize a pastry bag to pipe the pudding into the shells.
One challenge that you may experience is the cream puffs deflating. This could be due to opening the oven too early or under-baking them. When you open the oven too soon, the loss of heat hinders the ability of the balls to rise. If they are under-baked, they might also collapse shortly after removing them from the oven.
So how do you test them for doneness? The best indicator would be their color. They should be golden brown. When you break them open and you see that the center is still moist and spongy, continue baking for another 2 minutes.