Vanilla Bean Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry)

Who doesn’t love a good Cream Puff?! For years I have wanted to make these but again, I thought it was going to be wicked hard. Turns out it is actually really easy. The Choux Pastry was the part that seemed daunting, but I found a few great recipes, and just made a dough using parts of the recipes I found. Trial and error! The first batch fell, but the second and third turned out beautifully. I found that the key to these beautiful puffs was milk! I prefer the texture and taste of the puffs much better than other recipes that don’t call for milk. They also didn’t brown as quickly. Success!

For the cream filling I made a Vanilla Bean whipped cream. It added the perfect amount of flavor to this light and airy delight.These are fun, and easy and you probably deserve to have them right now. I think these are the new bonbons! I would much rather sit around in my unmentionables eating these cream puffs than a box of bonbons. Bonbons are so 1994, in a bad way. Cream puffs are a lovely marriage of light and air pastry perfection and sexy whipped cream, with a dash of ladylike elegance that only the ground vanilla bean can offer. Cream puffs are the new sexy. 😉

So, you will need…

*Makes 30-35 puffs

  • 1/2 C. Whole Milk
  • 1/2 C. Water
  • 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1 C. All-Purpose Flour, always unbleached
  • 4 Eggs, room temperature

Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream

  • 1 C. Heavy Cream
  • 2 Tbsp Confectioners Sugar
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp Ground Vanilla Bean

Here was my process…

  1. In a medium saucepan bring the milk, water, butter and salt to a boil.
  2. Once butter is completely melted, remove from heat.
  3. Add flour all at once and stir quickly using a beautiful wooden spoon until blended.
  4. Return the pan to heat and stir rapidly until the dough pulls away from the sides of the sauce pan and forms a ball.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool to 140 degrees, about 4-5 minutes.
  6. In a smaller bowl whisk 1 egg, and add it to the cooled dough. (the dough will separate and get shiny after you add each egg, but keep stirring and it turns back into a nice smooth batter). Stir until blended.
  7. Add the remaining eggs, whisking them one at a time, and adding them one at a time. Stirring each until well incorporated.
  8. Let the dough cool for another 10 minutes or so before putting it in your piping (pastry) bag.
  9. Once cooled, fill your piping bag, and for each puff pipe out 1Tbsp of dough (some will call it paste), about 2 inches apart to allow for spreading.
  10. Bake puffs, one sheet at a time, at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown in color.
  11. Remove the puffs from the oven and immediately poke the sides with a toothpick to let the steam escape. Don’t worry, they will not collapse on you!
  12. Return the tray to the oven, turn the oven off ( leaving the door open) and allow the puffs to dry out for 10-15 minutes.
  13. Let cool completely before filling!

For the whipped cream simply combine the heavy cream, confectioners sugar, vanilla and ground vanilla bean in a bowl and beat on medium-high with hand mixer, or stand up mixer until medium peaks form.

Once the puffs are cool, fill your pastry bag with the whipped cream, and gently insert the tip of the bag into the puff and pipe it full of cream. You will feel the puffs get full, and when you see the cream start to show, you know the puff is full!

These are super fun to make and they are also great for any occasion. A wedding, baby shower, birthday, dessert party, pajama party… literally anytime is a good time for a cream puff!

Happy Baking!

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Delicate Cheese Puffs

First of all, I am a huge fan of the popover. I think they are the perfect way to eat bread. But tonight my feelings have changed, just a smidge. These puffs are so similar to a popover in texture but the process is very different. I was intimidated at first but once I started baking it was easy as pie!

The delicate puffs cave in when you pull them apart. The smell is intoxicating and the taste… well, there are only certain foods that can take my voice, and these have done it. Of course, adding a little bit of butter only makes them that much better.

My Process…

I took a cup of water and  1/2 a cup of butter and brought it to a boil. Then I took a cup of flour, a pinch of salt and two tablespoons of chives and shallots (finely minced) and threw all of that into the boiling butter/water mixture. I took the heat down to medium high and then stirred until a ball of dough formed.

Then I tossed the dough into the mixer and beat it for 1 minute until the dough slightly cooled. I beat in four eggs, individually until they were all mixed in. (It is very important to make sure each egg has been completely mixed in before adding the other). I shredded 1/2 a cup of Asiago and Parmesan cheese and mixed it in just until it was well incorporated.

Next I greased two cookie sheets with butter and spooned out 24 balls of dough about an inch apart. (My sizing and spacing leave something to be desired but what can you do?!)

The oven was preheated to 400, and I baked them for 20 minutes. Then I dropped the heat to 350 and baked them for another 20 minutes. it is very important to not exceed 20 minutes for each temperature because they will over dry.

Believe me, these are so simple to make and once you get the ball rolling the time goes by quite quickly! I’m telling you, my apron barely got a workout!

So, what you will need…

1C         water

.5C       butter (1 stick, 8 tbs)

pinch of salt

2 tbs   finely minced chives and scallions

1C       flour of your choice, I prefer to use whole wheat flour with this recipe

4         large eggs

.5C     shredded Asiago and Parmesan cheese

Happy Baking!