Easy to Make Cream Puffs
Cream puffs dusted with powdered sugar
Easy to Make Cream Puffs
Perhaps you have seen cream puffs at the bakery or your favorite supermarket and thought they are too complicated to make. Well let me tell you a little secret, they're easier than you think.
As they bake, the steam rises and creates a hollow pastry ready to be filled with whatever you choose. You can top them with powdered sugar or with chocolate. The filling I have used, and will show you how to make, is a custard. This could of course be whipped cream, chocolate, lemon curd or even ice cream, all you are making is the shell to fill and top with whatever you desire.
This is a choux pastry and can also be used for éclairs, or profiteroles.
This recipe makes about 8 which is the right amount for us. It is easily doubled if you have more to feed. It is also a great way to use up eggs. Here on our farm in Brazil, my chickens have been on overtime and I have eggs coming out of my ears!
Ingredients for choux pastry
Ingredients for Choux Pastry
Below is the recipe and photos of how to make choux pastry. First let's begin with the ingredients.
½ Cup water
¼ Cup margarine
½ Cup All-purpose flour
Boil Margarine and Water
Instructions for Choux Pastry
Preheat your oven to 400°.
Begin by putting the margarine and the water in a heavy based saucepan. Bring to a boil.
Add the flour
Stir until it forms a ball
Adding the flour
Pour the flour in and stir until combined.
Because you are using very little water,
it is necessary to keep stirring.
It will begin to get quite stiff.
Reduce the heat to low.
Stir until the mixture pulls together to form a ball.
Stir in egg
Adding The Eggs
Add the eggs to the mixture, one at a time.
The mixture is going to look sloppy.
It will even look like you have done something wrong!
Don't worry, you haven't.
Keep stirring until combined.
The batter will begin to look glossy.
Add second egg when the first has been incorporated fully.
Blend until this too has been fully mixed in.
Placing Dough on the Cookie Sheet
Now we need to put them onto a baking tray.
I like to use two tablespoons for this.
Scoop a heaped tablespoon out and push it off with the other spoon.
If you want a more uniformed looking cream puff, you can smooth the top with the spoon.
I just leave them as they are and call them 'rustic'. Or I will say, "That is how you know they aren't purchased in a store". Humor and cooking go together I find.
Leave space between them as you can see from the photos.
Bake for 30 minutes or until they are golden. Avoid opening the oven door as this may make them fall and the idea is to get the steam inside to create the hollow pocket for the filling.
I love my cooling trays. I use them several times a week for my cookies and bread rolls. I also will use one for my pies. I think allowing crusts to cool more quickly, it keeps them crisp.
Removing From the Oven
When golden brown, remove them from the oven. After a few moments carefully move to a cooling rack. Make sure they aren't in a drafty place during their cooling period. The aim here is to keep that space inside your cream puffs open so it can be filled.
Making the Custard Filling
For the custard filling you will need.
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
a pinch of salt
1/3 Cup of sugar
3 lightly beaten egg yolks
1 Tablespoon margarine or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
Making the Custard
This can be done ahead, as it will need to cool before using in your pastry.
Begin by mixing the sugar and the cornstarch together in a saucepan. Then begin to mix in your milk slowly stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Cook over low heat. The mixture will begin to thicken. Remember to keep stirring as the mixture may catch on the bottom.This step takes longer than you think and just when you are about to give up, it begins to thicken. It is best to do it over low heat though. I will confess to doing this over medium heat but with constant stirring.
Once the milk is quite hot but before the mixture has begun to thicken, add half of this mixture to the beaten eggs. The reason for this is if we added the eggs to the pan we would end up with bits of cooked egg. Stir the eggs as you pour half of the mixture in. I would have taken a photo but I would have needed at least one more hand for that.
Now pour the egg/milk mixture back into the saucepan. Continue stirring. If you see lumps of egg don't worry, we can get rid of them. Cook for a minute more or until nicely thickened.
Remove from the heat and add the vanilla and margarine/butter.
Stir until thoroughly mixed.
If any egg is still showing, you may pass the mixture through a sieve or use a small spoon and fish it out..
To keep a skin from forming on the top as the custard cools, cover with plastic wrap until ready to use.
Leave to cool.
Filling the Cream Puffs
Cut the top partially off one of your puffs. If you find that your cream puff has collapsed, don't panic. Just pick out some of the insides to make a hollow space for the filling. Be careful not to make a hole in the bottom or someone could end up with the filling in their lap!
Fill with the cooled custard, a teaspoon will work best for this job.
Put enough in but don't over-fill otherwise when eaten it will shoot out the sides.
Now arrange on a plate and dust with powdered sugar or with a chocolate sauce. Chill until ready to serve.
I do hope you give these a try, I think your family and friends will love them.
© 2011 Mary Wickison