Cream Puff Recipe

Baker and food writer Mark Beahm of The Sunday Baker has fond memories of all sorts of baked goods, but homemade cream puffs have a special place in his heart. "I remember having frozen cream puffs at family parties at my aunt's house growing up. For some reason, she seemed much more elegant to me for serving those than the usual brownies or cookies from a box," he says. How to take things up even another notch? Make your own cream puffs from scratch. "Homemade cream puffs are a bit of a project, but they're even better. They don't even compare to the frozen ones," Beahm says.

This is a recipe you should try out a few times before putting cream puffs on the menu for that dinner party or holiday gathering because it's entirely possible your first try will involve over-whipped cream, a collapsed pastry, a burned puff or two, and other issues. But chances are equally good that by your second or third batch, you'll be baking up cream puffs you'll be proud to serve to family and friends and to share on social, too.

Gather your ingredients for these cream puffs

To make these cream puffs, you'll whole milk, water, butter, granulated sugar, salt, all-purpose flour, five large eggs, heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla extract.

Beyond the ingredients, there is also some hardware you should really have on hand, including two baking sheets (with parchment paper), a stand mixer, a whisk (Beahm says: "A lot of recipes for choux pastry say to mix using a wooden spoon. Save yourself the trouble and use a whisk"), and a piping bag with a 3/8-inch round tip. However, Beahm adds: "If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a plastic zip-top bag and snip off a corner."

Got all that? Okay, let's bake.

Preparing choux paste for your cream puffs

First off, as with many recipes, you should start be pre-heating the oven. For this cream puffs recipe, we'll need it set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now bring the milk, half a cup of the water, the butter, granulated sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. As soon as it boils (and the butter has melted), take the pan off the heat and add the flour, all at once, whisking vigorously to combine. "Work quickly to whisk it in and form a paste," says Beahm. "Adding the flour all at once and using a whisk will do much better at preventing clumps than using a wooden spoon."

Place the pan back over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the paste pulls away from the sides of the pan and starts to leave a thin film on the bottom of the pan, which will take about a minute or two.

Continuing preparing the choux paste for your cream puffs

Transfer the paste to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or if using a hand mixer, to a large mixing bowl. Beat the paste on medium speed for about a minute to cool it, then add four of the eggs, one at a time, beating until the mixture is completely smooth before adding the next. 

The mixture will break apart at first, but it will come back together as you continue to work it. Pause after the second egg to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then continue adding the remaining eggs one at a time. The choux paste should be smooth and glossy at this point.

Form the cream puffs

Transfer the choux paste to a piping bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip. (Remember, If you don't have a piping bag, use a plastic bag and snip off a corner, or just use a couple of spoons to make mounds with the choux paste.) Line your two baking sheets with parchment paper and pipe out one and a half-inch rounds about two inches apart, about 12 per sheet. 

In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with the remaining teaspoon of water to make an egg wash for your cream puffs, and brush the surface of the pastries with a light coating of said egg wash using a pastry brush.

Bake the cream puffs and make the whipped cream

Bake the cream puffs at 400 degrees until they have puffed up, which will take about ten minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. "Do not open the oven," says Beahm. "It might be tempting to open the oven to check on the pastries, but try to resist that urge. Opening the oven could cause the choux pastries to collapse."

Continue to bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes until they pastries are golden brown, then remove them from the oven and transfer them to a cooling rack. Allow the pastries to cool completely before filling. And if you're on the fence as to whether they are done, Beahm says: "Worry more about underbaking than overbaking. As long as they don't get too dark in the oven, they should be fine. But if they're underbaked, they'll collapse when they cool."

While the pastries cool, make the whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer), whip the heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla into stiff peaks. On medium-high speed, this will take about three to four minutes.

Fill the cream puffs with cream

To fill the choux pastries, slice the tops off with a serrated knife. Pipe or spoon in generous dollops of whipped cream and then replace the tops. You can also cut a hole in the bottom of the pastries and pipe the whipped cream inside if you prefer.

Now serve and enjoy, meaning both the taste and the accolades.

And on the off chance there any are left, you can store filled cream puffs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Unfilled choux pastries will keep at room temperature for a day, for up to five days in the refrigerator, or will remain good for up to a month when frozen.

Cream Puff Recipe
5 from 31 ratings
Baker and food writer Mark Beahm of The Sunday Baker has fond memories of all sorts of baked goods, but homemade cream puffs have a special place in his heart.
Prep Time
20
minutes
Cook Time
35
minutes
Servings
24
cream puffs
cream puffs served
Total time: 55 minutes
Ingredients
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • ½ cup plus 1 teaspoon water, divided
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs, divided
  • 2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
  • ¼ cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Bring the milk, ½ cup of the water, butter, granulated sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Take the pan off the heat and add the flour, all at once, whisking vigorously to combine. Place the pan back over medium heat and cook, whisking constantly until the paste pulls away from the sides of the pan and starts to leave a thin film on the bottom of the pan, about 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Transfer the paste to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or if using a hand mixer, a large mixing bowl. Beat on medium speed for about a minute to cool. Add four of the eggs, one at a time, beating until completely smooth before adding the next. The mixture will break at first, but will come back together as you continue to mix. Pause after the second egg to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then continue adding the remaining eggs one at a time. The choux paste should be smooth and glossy.
  4. Transfer the choux paste to a piping bag fitted with a 3/8-inch round tip. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and pipe 1-½-inch rounds about 2 inches apart, about 12 per sheet. If you don't have a piping bag, you can use a plastic zip-top bag and snip off a corner or use a couple of spoons to make mounds.
  5. In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with the remaining teaspoon of water to make an egg wash. Brush the surface of the pastries with a light coating of egg wash using a pastry brush.
  6. Bake until the pastries have puffed up, about 10 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not open the oven. Continue to bake for a further 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown. Remove the choux pastries from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely before filling.
  7. When the pastries have cooled, make the whipped cream. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or in a large mixing bowl with a hand mixer, whip the heavy cream, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla to stiff peaks on medium-high speed, about 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. To fill the choux pastries, slice the tops off with a serrated knife. Pipe or spoon in the whipped cream and replace the tops. You can also cut a hole in the bottom of the pastries and pipe the whipped cream inside.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 137
Total Fat 11.4 g
Saturated Fat 6.8 g
Trans Fat 0.1 g
Cholesterol 74.1 mg
Total Carbohydrates 6.3 g
Dietary Fiber 0.1 g
Total Sugars 2.3 g
Sodium 49.5 mg
Protein 2.4 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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