Introduction: Mega Cream Puffs

Cream puffs are awesome. Usually I just make the regular sized cream puffs but I thought it would be cool to try and make giant puffs. I was kind of surprised it worked out so well. So in this instructable I'm going to show you how to make super-sized cream puffs.
Cream Puffs seem pretty difficult to make but they're actually pretty easy. You can also fill them with what ever you want: custard, chocolate mousse, ice cream, even fruit. I'm going to show you how to make the puffs (aka. choux pastry) and whippy custard filling (aka. creme diplomat [I think]). I'll start with the custard since it needs to cool completely and be cold before putting it in the cream puffs.

Step 1: The Custard

This is just a basic vanilla custard. It's pretty easy although I find it easiest to have someone help when I'm tempering the eggs. If you don't want to make custard you can use instant vanilla pudding in place of the custard. If you want to make whippy custard (or pudding) your going to need a cup of heavy cream later.

For this you'll need:

1 cup whole milk
3/4 - 2/3 cup sugar
4 eggs
3 tbsp corn starch
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract

Step 2: Making the Custard

In a small bowl, beat together the corn starch and eggs and set aside. In a medium sized sauce pan, heat the milk and sugar until they are just boiling. Continually whisk it so it doesn't burn.

Step 3: Temper the Eggs

Once the milk starts to boil, your going to want to call your kitchen helper. One of you is going to very slowly pour the milk into the egg mixture while the other one quickly whisks the egg mixture. Keep pouring until a little more than a third of the milk mixture is mixed into the eggs.

Tempering the eggs will stop them from cooking too fast and curdling when you pour them in the hot milk.

Once the eggs are tempered, slowly pour them into the pan with the rest of the milk mixture and whisk it all together. Bring this mixture back to a boil while stirring constantly. After a little while it will thicken and be able to coat the back of a metal spoon.

Step 4: Cool the Custard

Once it's thickened remove it from the heat and continue stirring for a minute then add the vanilla and stir some more. Allow the custard to cool for about ten minutes then cover it with plastic wrap and press it onto the custard to stop it from skinning over and put it in the fridge to finish cooling.

Step 5: Cream Puff Dough

This is also a mostly basic cream puff dough. However, no other recipes I've seen add sugar and vanilla. I always found those recipes tasted kind of eggy. After some experimentation I found adding vanilla and sugar made the puffs taste much better. I think they might poof a little less but they still poof enough and are hollow inside. I think less poofy, better tasting puffs is a good trade off.

You either use this dough to just make a couple mega puffs or you can also make some regular sized ones too. Make sure to cook different sizes on separate trays. I made a tray of regular sized puffs so I could compare them to the mega puffs.

For the dough you will need:

1/2 cup of Butter

1 cup Water

1 cup Flour

1/4 tsp Salt

1 tbls Sugar

1 tsp Vanilla extract

Step 6: Starting the Dough

Set your oven to 400F

Whisk the four and salt together.

Heat the butter and water in a medium sauce pan until it starts to boil. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it forms a nice shiny but not sticky ball. Once it does, remove it from heat and allow it to cool a few minutes.

Step 7: Adding the Eggs

Next, add the eggs one at a time making sure one is fully combined before adding the next. With the last egg, also add the sugar and vanilla. When you first start adding the eggs it's going to look like it's never going to mix in but just keep at it until it does.

Step 8: Put the Dough in a Bag

Let the dough cool for a few minutes so it's cool enough not to burn you. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper.
Scoop the dough into a quart freezer bag, seal it and cut the tip off one of the bottom corners to make a piping bag.

Step 9: Pipe the Puffs

I always do a test batch of two or three regular sized ones to test the dough just in case something is wrong with it. I've only had them not work out once but since I started with a test batch I only lost three instead of a whole tray before I fixed the problem (The puffs didn't puff and weren't hollow. I found out the dough was too dry and mixed some more water in and saved the rest of the puffs).

For the mega puff, pipe the dough into the parchment paper in a flat swirl pattern to make a disc about a half inch thick and two to three inches in diameter. Next, make a swirl going up, kind of like soft serve ice cream or frosting on a cupcake. Make sure to leave a pocket of air inside. (This pocket is just to help it cook all the way through. It's still going to puff and be hollow and a normal sized one can be solid and doesn't need an air pocket inside). Once you have a big swirl, use a tooth pick to smooth the sides a little.

For regular sized puffs, don't swirl them and just make a blop of dough about an inch tall and and an inch wide. These cook for about 15 minutes.

Step 10: Cooking the Cream Puffs

Put the mega puffs in the oven and cook them for about 20 minutes. After about fifteen minutes it's best to keep a close eye on them and and watch for them to turn a rich golden brown.
Once, they are done cooking, remove them from the oven and immediately poke a hole in each one using a tooth pick to release steam so they don't get soggy.
Next, you can either leave them on the counter to cool or put them back in the oven with the oven turned off and the door cracked open. Cooling them slowly in the oven helps dry out the inside so they are less likely to deflate. But if you only have one oven and multiple batches of puffs, cooling them on the counter works too. If they do deflate just remember your going to be stuffing them with custard later and that will poof them right back up again.

Step 11: Whippy Custard

You can either fill you cream puffs with the regular custard or add whipped cream and make whippy custard.
To make the whippy custard, beat a cup of heavy cream until it's a stiff whipped cream. Then slowly fold in a cup of the custard until it's all combined. Boom! whippy custard!

Step 12: Fill the Puffs

Put whichever filling you are using in a quart baggy and cut one of the bottom corners off (if you have a filling tip for a piping bag go a head and use that. I lost mine a while ago and haven't gotten around to replacing it yet).
You either can use a tooth pick to make a hole in the side of the puff big enough to fit the tip of the bag into or just gently pull the top off the puff and fill it like a sandwich. If you are filling it through a hole, fill the puff slowly and watch for the puff to start expanding (or ooze cream out of a different hole) to know when it's full.

Step 13: Eat the Cream Puffs

Now it's time to eat the cream puffs! Put any additional toppings you want on your mega cream puff and enjoy!

These are best eaten fresh as they will start to get soft and mushy if left too long. Unfilled puffs can last a couple days but are best the first day.

I hope you like this instructable!

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