He’s told me that his mother used to make them years ago, so I should be able to make them, too. So, one day, I hunted up a recipe and made them.
My first batch was a flop. It was a recipe from one of those sites where you can leave comments and ratings for each recipe, and this one was highly rated. A few people had problems with the recipe, though, and said as much, but then other commenters broke in with criticisms like “This is so easy. How stupid would you have to be to screw it up?” Which wasn’t exactly, ah, heartwarming, you know?
I looked around some more, and found a better recipe at the Joy of Baking. The list of ingredients was identical in both recipes, but in the Joy of Baking recipe, it said to keep stirring the dough in the pot until the dough forms a thick ball.
Then, beat the dough until the dough becomes lukewarm – this releases a lot of steam.
Considering that I live in a high humidity area, these two steps, which both reduce the amount of moisture in the dough, are probably what makes all the difference in the world from dense awful cream puffs to cream puffs that rise and expand like you wouldn’t believe!
- 70 grams (1/2 cup) all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 57 grams (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 120 ml (1/2 cup) water
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 205C (400F, gas mark 6).
- Sift together flour, sugar, and salt.
- Put butter and water into a pot over medium heat and bring to a boil.
- As soon as it boils, remove from heat and add the flour mix.
- Return the pot to heat and stir constantly until the dough comes together to form a thick ball.
- Transfer the dough to a mixer (or, in my case, food processor that pretends to be a mixer) and beat on low speed until the dough is lukewarm and the steam has been released.
- Add eggs gradually to the dough while continuing to mix it until it forms a thick paste.
- Spoon or pipe mounds onto a baking sheet (you can line it with parchment paper if you like).
- Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the oven to 177C (350F, gas mark 4) and bake an additional 30-40 minutes or until the cream puffs are a nice golden colour and dry inside.
- Turn the oven off and let the cream puffs dry out another 10-15 minutes.
- Fill with whipping cream, custard, icing, or whatever your heart desires.
- I’ve used aluminum bakeware (cream puffs stuck) and glass (got a very shiny, hard texture on the bottom of the cream puffs), and wasn’t overly happy with either. Silicone was fantastic, as was a non-stick baking sheet. I haven’t used parchment paper because it doesn’t exist here. 🙂
- Cream puffs can be filled with sweet or savoury fillings.
- Best when made shortly before consuming, especially if you live in a humid area like we do. By the next day, the cream puffs are completely floppy and almost rubbery. They still taste fine, but the texture isn’t, ah, quite what it could be.
- The finished cream puff pastry dough can easily be refrigerated or frozen with no ill effects. I’ve done both quite a few times and there’s been no difference in the quality of the resulting cream puffs.
- The Joy of Baking website adds an egg wash glaze. I’ve been too lazy to do that step and mine still turned out fine. 🙂
Cream puffs are a LOT easier to make than you might think. They were a lot easier than I thought they would be.
Fahim’s mom loves eating them plain. Fahim prefers them stuffed with chocolate buttercream icing. I’ll take them with chocolate buttercream icing, or whipped cream, or lemon curd with whipped cream, or…
What about you? How do you like your cream puffs?