Luckily it turns out fancy-looking cream puffs are ridiculously easy to make!
Last night I made a half batch of the puffs. Since I still had several cups of the filling left this morning I decided to make a full batch, I got 33 puffs, and still have lots of cream left.
They are made from a versatile choux paste, and chantilly cream. Both recipes are via the amazing Pastry by Michel Roux.
For the Choux Paste you will need:
- 1 stick / 8 Tbsp unsalted butter diced
- .5 cup whole milk
- .5 cup water
- 1 tsp caster sugar
- .5 tsp salt
- 1 generous cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs, room temperature
- preheat oven, the original recipe calls for 350 degrees, but I found almost 375 worked better for me
- in a large sauce pan combine milk, water, butter sugar and salt
- bring to a boil over low heat and immediately remove from the heat
- dump in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until smooth
- return the pan to medium heat and stir constantly for one minute
- transfer paste to a large bowl and let cool a bit
- beat the eggs into the paste, one at a time, fully incorporating each before adding the next
- line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper
- scrape all the paste into a large ziplock or pastry bag
- snip off a small corner of the bag and pipe the paste into .5 inch mounds, staggering rows
- gently brush the tops with egg-wash and mark with the back of a fork
- bake for 25 minutes or until golden-brown and just crisp on top (be very careful not to remove them from the oven too soon or the choux buns will collapse, it happened with my first batch, the recipe said to bake for 15-20 minutes, but mine needed 25 before they were strong enough to keep their shape)
- remove to a wire rack and let cool
For Chantilly Cream:
- 1 pint / 2 cups whipping cream
- .5 cup caster sugar
- scrapings from the inside of one vanilla bean
- Chill bowl of electric mixer
- beat whipping cream, sugar and vanilla bean together for 1-2 minutes on low speed
- increase speed and beat together 3-4 for minutes
- if you want true Chantilly cream be careful not to over-whip, I turned up the speed a little too much and made whipped cream, still delicious, but less dense than might be desired
Once the choux buns are fully cooled it's time to fill them. Yesterday I piped poked little holes into the buns and piped in the cream using a ziplock. Today I just broke them open and spooned a tablespoon of cream into each one then closed it back up like a little sandwich. Do whatever you prefer, the final result tastes so good that no one will judge.
These would also be delicious as a savory pastry, just fold in some grated cheese before piping the choux buns and don't fill with the sweet cream.
And just because choux makes me think shmoo!
This totally turned into Scooby Doo.