I’d never heard of this interesting pastry before watching the Great British Bake Off. And I’d certainly never made it. But after seeing the different éclairs and profiteroles and fillings and coatings possible with this unique pastry, I knew I wanted to try it!
Choux is a mixture of water, flour, salt, and egg that is cooked first on the stove top. Then it gets piped or dropped onto a baking sheet and baked in the oven.
This is where the magic happens.
The water in the pastry turns to steam and creates a huge air bubble in the center of the pastry. It’s what makes this pastry ideal for filling. Lemon curd with whipped cream… mocha mousse… strawberries whipped into cream cheese… the options are endless!
I intend to take FULL advantage of this versatility in the future! 🙂 But for this first time, I chose a simple sweet whipped cream filling.
The choux itself was so much easier than I thought!
First I boiled butter, water, and salt on the stove. Once it boiled, I added in the flour all at once and stirred until it came together.
Then I took it off the heat and set a timer for 10 minutes. After the timer went off, I mixed in the eggs one at a time until it looked like this.
I was feeling fancy, so I put this mixture into a pastry bag and piped little puffs out onto a baking sheet with parchment paper. This became a ridiculously messy process (at least for my hands and the bag) because I stupidly tried to fit the whole batch of dough my pastry bag. Next time, I’ll start with just half and then refill. 🙂 They turned out so cute, though!
I used the Better Homes and Gardens recipe for cream puffs. I got 55 bite-size puffs from this dough recipe. I baked the first 22, then I piped and froze the rest for another day. I’ll let you know how they turn out! After researching multiple cream puff recipes, I decided to change the baking instructions. I bumped up the temperature to 425 degrees for ten minutes, then down to 350 degrees for fifteen more minutes. (Instead of 400 degrees across the board.) Then I punctured each puff and let them dry out two more minutes in the oven so they didn’t become soggy.
Next came the fun part (and this was where I made some major mistakes).
First, I whipped up about 1/2 cup heavy cream with about 1 TBSP vanilla pudding powder, which was delicious and just lightly sweet. (This works best if you stick your empty bowl and beaters in the freezer for a few minutes before pouring in the powder and cream.)
My first mistake was thinking that this small batch of filling would be enough for this one pan of puffs I wanted to fill (22 mini puffs). Even though the puffs are pretty small, they can take A LOT of filling.
My second mistake was thinking I could poke into the puffs using a cupcake filler tip. This worked for about the first five puffs. But the shells were beautifully crisp, which made them quite difficult to poke into with a pastry tip. I was squeezing the pastry bag like crazy to try and poke the holes.
Have you ever squeezed a pastry bag like crazy? Maybe the great quality bags can take it, but my disposable pastry bags tend to pop when I put that much pressure on them.
And that’s exactly what happened. My bag popped.
Sweet cream splattered EVERYWHERE.
On my glasses and forehead… and the table… and the floor. My children happily licked up the cream between fits of giggles at Mommy and the cream all over her face.
So, the five cream puffs that got a significant amount of cream were indeed quite scrumptious! Everybody in the family got to try one. 🙂
I tried to salvage the others, tearing a hole and inserting a teeny bit of cream from what was left in the pastry bag. Alas, they were not so tasty. Cream puffs were meant to be full, just shy of overflowing. And even without all the lost cream, my small batch would not have filled all 22 puffs this well.
So next time, I think I’ll use about one cup of cream for a batch this size (2 cups of cream for the full recipe of dough). I think that would be enough if I manage not to pop half of it out of my pastry bag. 🙂 And I’ll use a knife to make a good hole before squeezing in the cream. 🙂
Have you ever made cream puffs? What’s your favorite filling? Do you have any great tricks for inserting the cream? I’d love to hear your tips!
Have a scrumptious day!
If you enjoyed this post, check out my other first time culinary creations on this page: The Goal is Scrumptious.