Cream Puffs | Lonumedhu

Cream Puffs

 

Cream puffs are a beloved French dessert and at its foundation is the French choux pastry made from a handful of ingredients like water (or milk), butter, salt and eggs. They definitely look creamy and dreamy, but are actually quite easy to make at home; you’ll just need to pay attention to a few details and be willing to spend like an hour of your time.

 

Makes: 18

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup butter cut into cubes (unsalted)
  • 1/3 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 250 ml whipping cream
  • 3 ½ tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla essence

 

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Alternatively you can grease the baking sheet with a little bit of oil to prevent the pastries from sticking.
  2. Add the water, butter and salt to a pot and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. When the mixture boils, remove the pot from the stove top and add in the flour. Give it a good quick mix to get everything combined.
  4. Put the pot back on the stove and cook the mixture on medium heat while mixing until everything comes together as a smooth dough in the middle of the pot. It shouldn’t take longer than two minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and let it cool down. We’ll be adding eggs in the next step. So if the dough is too warm it might end up cooking them.
  6. When the dough has cooled down, add the eggs one at a time and mix after every addition until well combined. At first it’s going to look lumpy and you might feel like it will not come together. But keep going and it will. When done the dough is going to be smooth and look a bit like cake batter. We used an electric hand mixer for this step but you can do this with a spoon too.
  7. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag with a large star or round tip.
  8. Pipe in a circular fashion to make 2 inch wide mounds on to the baking sheet you prepared before. Our mounds were about 1 ½ inches high too. Keep around 2 inches in between the mounds because they are going to puff up when they bake. Instead of piping, you can also just use a spoon and drop 2 inch mounds on to the sheet too.
  9. When done with the piping, wet your finger tips and gently tap on the tops of the mounds to get rid of any peaks left from the piping.
  10. Then sprinkle a small amount of water over the puffs and place the sheet on the middle rack of your preheated oven. By small amount we mean like doing it just once with your fingers. The water is going to create steam and this in turn will help the puffs puff up.
  11. Bake the puffs for 20 minutes. When the 20 minutes are done, keep them in the oven for around 15 more minutes without opening the oven door. This will allow the puffs to cool down gradually. Otherwise they might end up deflating. When done right, the puffs will have slightly crunchy exteriors and hollow insides.
  12. Remove the tray from the oven and let the puffs cool down completely before inserting the filling. Also, we baked our puffs in two batches because our oven was not that big. So repeat steps 8 to 12 until you run out of dough.
  13. While the baked puffs are cooling down, make the whipped cream filling by adding the whipping cream, sugar and vanilla essence to a large mixing bowl and beating the mixture on high speed using an electric hand held or stand mixer until you get medium peaks. For us this took 2 minutes. Chilling your bowl, whisk attachment and whipping cream prior to beating really helps with how fluffy the whipped cream becomes in the end. If you don’t want to whip the cream yourself, you can just use one of those whipped cream spray bottles too; the sugar level might be different from brand to brand though.
  14. Once the puffs are completely cool, make horizontal incisions on the puffs and insert the filling into the opening. You can either pipe the filling using an icing bag or just insert the filling using a spoon. You can dust the cream puffs with a little bit of icing sugar too. And that’s it. Unfilled puffs can be kept at room temperature for 1-2 days. When filled they need to be kept in the fridge, but when we did that, we didn’t like the texture much. So if you are going to be storing them, keep the unfilled shells in a closed container at room temperature and the whipped cream filling in the fridge.
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