Weekend Cooking: Cream Puffs
I’ve made (and posted about) these cream puffs before–they are always a crowd pleaser. Though a bit time consuming (baking the shells, cooling the shells, piping in the filling), they are worth the effort. In a fresh twist for my nephew’s birthday yesterday, I made a chocolate ganache (chocolate mixed with heavy cream) to cover some of the puffs and powder sugared the rest.
I found the recipe for the shells in a cozy mystery–Cream Puff Murder by Joanne Fluke–and am sharing it in conjunction with Candace’s Weekend Cooking Challenge at Beth Fish Reads. Enjoy!
Cream Puff Shells
(from Joanne Fluke’s Cream Puff Murder)
- 1 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) UNSALTED butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 cup flour, packed down
- 4 eggs, room temperature
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
On medium heat in a small pot or sauce pan, pour in water. Chop butter into pieces and put into water. Let it melt. Add salt and sugar. Bring to a boil.
In a bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Once water mixture is boiling, turn heat down to low and dump in flour/baking powder mixture. Stir quickly for about 30 seconds–mixture will form a dough ball. Remove from heat and let the dough cool for about 20 minutes on the counter.
Once dough is cool, break one egg and mix it into the dough until smooth. Repeat with remaining eggs, one at a time until mixture has a smooth, taffy-like consistency–about 3-5 minutes with mixer. Don’t overmix.
For mini-cream puffs, drop a teaspoon of batter per puff on to the parchment-lined cookie sheet. You can fit 12-15 per sheet–don’t crowd them. Cook them for about 25-40 minutes depending on size; when you take them out of the oven, pierce the sides with sharp knife to prevent collapses. If you’d like to make large puffs, cook them for about 55 minutes. Let the puff shells cool away from drafts. Yield 25-50 mini puffs or 10-14 large ones.
When they are cool, cut the top 1/3 off and remove any stringy dough. Fill with custard or the simple filling I use.
Easy Cream Puff Filling
1 3.5 oz box of Jell-O INSTANT vanilla pudding
2 cups heavy cream
Pour heavy cream and instant pudding mix into a bowl. Whip with a whisk or mix master until it’s the consistency of whipped cream–light and fluffy.
Scoop filling into a quart-sized Ziplock bag. Cut off the bottom right corner of the bag. Pipe filling into shells. Add lids. Sift powdered sugar on top of cream puffs or dip them in chocolate ganache. Watch them disappear.
There are many variations of this recipe but all you really need is some heavy cream and good chocolate. I used a bit less than half of a 12 oz. bag of Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips and half a cup of heavy cream.
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 4 oz. chocolate (chips, chopped bar, etc)
Chop chocolate (if using a bar) and place in heat-proof bowl; set aside. Over medium heat, bring saucepan of heavy cream to a boil. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Whisk until smooth. (You can add additional chocolate if the ganache is too watery.)