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Classic Cream Puffs

 

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I have never met a Cream Puff that I did not like.  Have You?  I mean how could anyone not like a soft flaky pastry shell that’s airy and light inside and piped full of the most delectable pastry cream filling…omg…Do you know how hard it is to make these wonderful bites of bliss without eating all of the pastry filling before piping it into the cream puffs!  Oh yes, and the wonderful aroma when you’re cooking the pastry cream….oh my!  Okay, the dough for a cream puff, (pate a choux), is basically the same with most recipes.  The recipe I chose to make here is from Martha Stewart, and it will turn out perfect, if you follow my step by step instructions.  

My friends, I’m here to tell you that anyone can make these cream puffs!  Now I don’t want to hear you say that you can’t make these.  I’m going to show you step by step, how to make these cream puffs turn out perfect, even if you’ve never made them before.  So….come on, I’m gonna show you how I made these, and when you make them, you’re gonna be SO glad you did and you’re gonna be SO proud of yourself….are you ready?  Oh and don’t get intimidated by all of my pictures to follow…there are three steps ya know, the pate a choir, (the pastry puff itself), the pastry cream and of course the chocolate, if you decide to dip the tops.  Okay come on…First I’ll show you step #1… how to make the Cream Puffs.  Oh yes…if you feel you don’t need to look at my million pictures to follow, and you want to go right to the recipe, just scroll past all of the pictures and I promise you will come to the recipe itself.

Here’s how I made ’em…

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First, I combined some butter, sugar, salt and water in a medium pan over medium high heat…  

classiccreampuffs - 10 I brought the mixture to a boil….

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Then I added some flour while stirring constantly…

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The mixture thickened up within seconds, and as soon as it started to form a film on the bottom of the pan, I removed it from the heat…What I basically did was cook off the moisture, then when I added the eggs next, I added moisture back in.  It’s important that you see a film on the bottom of the pan before you remove it from the heat.

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I placed it in a large bowl, spread it out a little with a spoon and let it cool for about three minutes…

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Next I broke four large eggs in a bowl, and then I removed those nasty little white things that were attached to the eggs, see my post on what’s that nasty little white thing on my egg

Next I added my eggs one at a time….it’s important to totally incorporate one egg into the mixture before adding the next one…very important…

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So here I added eggs #1

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See how the mixture separated after I added the first egg….it will separate, but you have to keep stirring vigorously to incorporate the egg and finally…

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the dough came back together again…

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Next I added egg #2…

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Once again it separated and I kept stirring vigorously until….

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it came together again…

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then I added egg #3…and once again stirred vigorously until…

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the mixture came together again…

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Then lastly I added egg #4 and mixed vigorously again until…

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it came together again.  The dough should be rather thick at this point.  If you take a spoon and swirl the dough upward, it should hold a peak on its own and not fall….

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Next I placed one egg and one tablespoon of water in a small bowl…

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Then I whisked the two together and set it aside…

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Next I fitted a pastry bag to a 5/8″ round pastry tip…

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Then I transferred the pate a choux to the pastry bag.  I alway place the bag in a mason jar and fold it over the sides.  It makes for easier filling…

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I filled the pastry bag about two-thirds of the way full, then I pulled the sides up.  You don’t want to fill a pastry bag any more than two-thirds of the way full, or it will overflow when you twist the top of the bag…

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Now for a little tip…next I squeezed a tiny amount of the dough on each corner of two cookies sheets…why you ask?

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Because next I lined each cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper.  The dough helps to hold it in place when you pipe the dough onto the parchment paper…

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Okay, for the fun part…Next I piped rounds of about 1 1/2 inches onto the cookie sheets…

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When you form a round and want to finish off the top, you want to make a quick swirl and then straight up and away from the round, so as to not leave a tip on top.  Tips will brown too much and burn before the rest of the puffs get brown.

classiccreampuffs - 32But don’t worry if you do have tips, because the person talking to you is far from perfect and had several tips.  Therefore, all I did was dip my finger in water and very gently press down on the tips to flatten them.  Trust me, you can probably make prettier cream puffs then I did.  Some of mine weren’t too purdy…

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Okay, next I lightly brushed the tops with the egg wash mixture…

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Then I baked them in a hot oven for about 30 minutes until they were golden brown on top, making sure to not open the oven door while they were baking.  Oh my gosh….they miraculously turned into these wonderful, I repeat, wonderful, light and airy little pockets of heaven…The picture above is what a perfect cream puff looks like my friends….light and airy with a small hollow pocket inside, which is just perfect for piping wonderful pastry cream into.

Okay friends, this completes step #1, making the Cream Puffs, and I promise after you make these one time you will see that they really aren’t that hard or intimidating….okay, let’s go to step #2, making the wonderful pastry cream…

Here’s how I made it…

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Okay, first I placed 6 egg yolks in a large bowl, and yes I removed those nasty little white things again…

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Then I added some sugar and whisked the two vigorously until they were thick and light…

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Next I added in some flour and cornstarch, (yes I added two different thickening agents), and I whisked the mixture vigorously again…

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Until it was smooth and creamy, then I set it aside…

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Next I poured some milk into a medium pan…

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and brought it to a boil over medium heat, while whisking constantly…

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Then I slowly poured the milk into the egg mixture while whisking very vigorously, (you don’t want the hot milk to cook the eggs)…

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Next I poured the mixture back into the pan and returned it to the heat and I kept whisking it constantly….

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Until it thickened, about two minutes or so, and the mixture was starting to pull away from the sides of the pan…

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Then I removed it from the heat and added some pure vanilla and whisked it to blend in the vanilla…

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Next I used a rubber spatula and pressed the mixture through a sieve and into a bowl.

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Then I placed a piece of plastic wrap directly over the mixture and placed it in the refrigerator to cool…

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Okay, after I cooled it, I fitted a pastry bag to a 1/4″ round pastry tip…

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I spooned the pastry cream into the pastry bag that I placed in a mason jar for easy filling…

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Next I took a sharp knife and cut a small “X” in the center of the bottom of each cream puff…

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Then I piped the pastry cream into the puffs.  You can actually feel the puff filling up with the pastry cream and when you can feel it, you know it’s time to stop filling it…

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You will see it when you look at the bottom, but it should not be oozing out…

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Okay, I’m sorry my friends…but at this point I couldn’t resist pulling one of these wonderful little dreamy confections apart….oh my…need I say more!  As a matter of fact, I love these cream puffs just like this…I don’t even need the added chocolate on top.  They are wonderful either way, but oh my gosh, you have to try these…of course I had to eat this one….Did I say YUM!

Okay, that’s it for step #2, making the Pastry Cream…now step #3 dipping them in chocolate, so easy…

Okay here’s how I did the chocolate…

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First I used some good chocolate…I used the one pictured above, but you can use any kind you prefer…

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Then I chopped it up coarsely with a knife…

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I placed the chocolate and a little bit of corn syrup in a heat proof medium bowl…

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Next I poured some whipping cream in a small pan and brought it just to a boil over medium heat and removed it from the heat.

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I poured the hot whipping cream over the chocolate and let it set for a couple of minutes…

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Then I started whisking it….

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And I kept whisking it until it was smooth and blended…

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Then all I did was dip the top of each cream puff in the chocolate…

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And that’s it my friends….Whew Wee, I bet you’re glad I’m finished….Okay, I know I showed you a lot of steps for making these, but don’t let the steps intimidate you.  They’re here to assist you along the way if you’ve never made cream puffs.  I promise that after you make these one time, you will make them again and again, and you’ll see how easy they really are to make…..and you’re family will love you!!!

Enjoy!

Your foodie friend,

Cindy

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Classic Cream Puffs


  • Author: Cindy Gibbs @ My Country Table
  • Prep Time: 40
  • Cook Time: 35
  • Total Time: 75
  • Yield: 28

Description

A light and airy Cream Puff filled with a wonderful creamy pastry cream!


Ingredients

For the Cream Puffs, (pate a choux)

  • 1 stick real butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse Kosher salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 large egg

For the Pastry Cream

  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1 cup 2% or whole milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate

  • 4 ounces good chocolate, semi sweet or bittersweet, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Prepare two cookie sheets with two pieces of parchment paper.

For the Cream Puffs (pate a choux)

  1. In a medium pan, over medium high (#6) heat, combine the butter, sugar, salt and 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil and quickly stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Stir constantly until a film begins to form on the bottom of the pan. This whole process takes about 2-3 minutes from start to finish. Transfer the pate a choux to a large bowl and allow it to cool for 3 minutes. Add four of the eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition and making sure that each egg is totally incorporated before adding the next one. Each time you add an egg, the mixture will separate at first and finally come back together after you vigorously stir it.
  2. For the egg wash, whisk together the remaining egg and 1 tablespoon of water in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Fit a large pastry bag to a 5/8″ (Wilton 2A) pastry tip. Place the bag inside and up and over the sides of a mason jar for easy filling. Spoon the pate a choux into the pastry bag.
  4. Squeeze a small dot of the pate a choux on each corner of the two cookie sheets and then place the parchment paper in place. This will keep the parchment paper from moving when you are dispensing the pate a choux.
  5. Pipe rounds of approximately 1 1/2″ in diameter onto the parchment paper, leaving some room in between them. If any of the rounds have a pointed tip after you pipe them, wet your finger in water and gently push them down. If you don’t, the tips will burn while baking.
  6. Lightly brush the tops of the rounds with the egg wash.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until the cream puffs rise and turn a golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

For the Pastry Cream

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture is thick and light. Whisk in the flour and cornstarch and set aside.
  2. In a medium pan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil, whisking constantly, and remove from the heat. Slowly add the hot milk into the egg mixture while whisking vigorously. (You do not want to cook the eggs in the hot milk). Pour the mixture back into the pan and return to heat. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly and cook until the mixture starts to thicken and pull away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
  3. Using a rubber spatula, press the mixture through a sieve into a bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the mixture and refrigerate until cool.
  4. Fit a pastry bag to a 1/4″ (Wilton #12) plain round pastry tip. Place the bag inside and over the edges of a mason jar for easy filling. Spoon the pastry cream into the pastry bag.
  5. Using a sharp knife, cut a small “X” in the center of the bottom of each cream puff. Pipe the pastry cream into the cream puffs and place hole side down on a lined cookie sheet, while you make the chocolate.

For the Chocolate

  1. Combine the chocolate and corn syrup in a medium heat proof bowl and set aside.
  2. In a small pan over medium heat, bring the whipping cream just to a boil and remove from heat.
  3. Pour the whipping cream over the chocolate and let set for two minutes. Stir or whisk until the chocolate becomes smooth.
  4. Dip the top of each cream puff in the chocolate and set back on the cookie sheet until the chocolate sets.
  5. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes

There are four main tips for making perfect Cream Puffs

  • 1. Cook the pate a choux until a film forms on the bottom of the pan.
  • 2. Totally incorporate each egg before adding the next one.
  • 3. Bake them at a high temperature.
  • 4. Do not open the oven door for any reason, while they are baking.

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