These delicious desserts are one of a kind! This is my first attempt at making cream puffs. I failed and succeeded! I learned new techniques and conquered my fear of choux pastry! Choux pastry can be used for many desserts like cream puffs, eclairs, profiteroles and even savory pastries.
I made cream filled puffs, topped with either powdered sugar or chocolate glaze. The sky's the limit here. In the future I will add to this Instructable with different fillings and toppings.
Step 1: Gather Up Your Ingredients and Equipment
I did use a food scale for the choux dough. A scale is more precise than volume measurement
For the choux
60g of flour
100ml of water
50g unsalted butter
2 eggs beaten
a pinch of table salt
For the filling
one pint or 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Chocolate glaze topping
12 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cup of whipping cream
parchment paper (I used graphed parchment)
Kitchen Aide mixer
bowls of various sizes
1 quart plastic freezer bags or piping bag
Step 2: Whipping Cream
Using the whisk attachment on your mixer. Pour in 2 cups of whipping cream and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Set to medium. Slowly add the 1/4 cup of sugar as it is whipping your cream. Do not walk away fro the mixer -- you could end up with butter! It should not take more then 3 minutes to whip this up.
Look for stiff firm cream. Take a spatula and pick up some of the whipped cream and turn it upside down. If it sticks to the spatula, you are done.
Transfer into a piping bag or gallon size zip lock bag. I used a plastic cup to help keep me steady as I filled the bag with whipped cream.
You can use this whipped cream right away, or keep it in the fridge for up to 48 hours.
Step 3: Chocolate Glaze
Ingredients For Chocolate Glaze
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
12 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
In a medium sauce pan heat the whipping cream to just boiling point. Shut off heat and add 12 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips and whisk. No rush here but stir constantly. When chocolate and whipping cream are mixed pour into bowl and set aside. Keep at room temperature.
This will make quite a bit of chocolate glaze. There are many uses for this glaze. I use it in my morning coffee for a delicious mocha or grab a spoonful for a treat. Keep in fridge or freeze for later use. Reheat in microwave for 30-45 seconds.
Step 4: Choux Pastry Dough
Pre-heat your oven, now, to 375 degrees!
60 g of flour
100 ml of water
50 g unsalted butter
2 eggs beaten
a pinch of table salt
It is important to have all your ingredients ready to mix. Time is precious here.
In a sauce pan add water, salt and butter. Bring to a boil. Turn heat off.
Step 5: Adding Flour
Quickly add flour and mix with spatula. Once mixed and blended, turn heat to medium, keep mixing for 2-3 mins. Your sauce pan will have flour residue built up on it. This is a good thing! What you are achieving here is evaporation of water. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. Cool for about 3-5 mins. You can mix your dough for a quicker cool down.
Step 6: Adding the Egg
Before adding the egg, make sure your dough has cooled down. If you add in the eggs right after the cooking of the dough you might curdle the eggs and that's a no no.
I added the egg mixture slowly, saving 2 tablespoons of the scrambled egg mixture for the pastry brushing later.
My first try resulted in a very wet pancake-like dough. It went right through the piping bag! I added 1/2 cup of flour but it still produced flat choux pastry. I did some research and read many recipes that suggested using less egg. That was a key tip. So remember not to put the entire egg mixture in the dough -- reserving some for the pastry will prevent your dough from being too runny.
Step 7: Piping Out
I used a quart size zippering lock bag. I put the bag into a cup to help me balance the filling of the dough into the bag. Cut the tip just a bit.
I used a little bit of dough to stick my parchment onto the baking sheet. Just a trick that helped keep the parchment in place.
Pipe out dough onto parchment. I found that 1/2 inch diameter circles are best. You need enough dough to get a pocket in the middle when it bakes. You can always experiment with different sizes, like I did, to see what you like.
Step 8: Wet Finger
Dip your finger into water and pat down your dough. Smooth it out and round the dough. Any peaks in the dough will burn in the oven. Even an ugly dough ball can be reshaped. Either way, try it out and see how it bakes. I find making mistakes in baking (and life!) help me out in the long run. Learn from your mistakes!
Step 9: Egg Wash
With a pastry brush or basting brush, dip into the leftover egg and brush it gently over the dough. This will add a nice shine to your puffs.
Step 10: Bake!
Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.
After 15 minutes, your cream puffs should PUFF! This is truly wonderful! Do not open the door during this time!
Once out, wait about 5 mins for them to cool. Take a couple and cut them open. You should have a hollow center. It should not collapse. Go ahead -- taste it! It should be light and eggy. The tops should be brown, yellow and smooth.
Step 11: Fill Your Cream Puffs
Use a knife to make a small hole on the side of the puff or cut the top off. If you choose to make a small hole, fit the opening of your whipping cream piping bag into the puff and squeeze gently. If you choose to cut the top off, pipe the whipping cream in a circular motion in and upwards movement. Fit the top on gently.
Step 12: Toppings
I dipped my puffs into the chocolate glaze. You can take a spoon and glaze the top as well. The puff that I halved, I toped with powdered sugar using a sieve.
Step 13: This Is Not a Step! It's a First Time Failure.
This was my first time making cream puffs. My dough was very wet like pancake batter. I ended up adding more flour to it. I piped it out onto the sheet and it was a sloppy job to say the least. They came out flat but they did have the hollow center so I knew I was doing something right. They tasted great so that was a nice surprise. I went ahead and filled them with whipping cream and dipped them in chocolate sauce. The final product was delicious, but didn't look right.
I finally realized my mistake. I didn't cook the dough long enough in the pan before adding the eggs. Make sure to cook your dough 3 mins on medium heat! The dough really needs to dry out so this step is crucial. Cooking the dough allows the water to steam out. Another mistake I made was adding the entire egg mixture. I found that the entire egg mixture made my dough too wet. When adding the eggs, add them slowly and test the thickness of your dough. The dough should feel stiff, but flexible -- not as thin as pancake batter! Again, leaving some of the egg mixture (about 2 tablespoons) for brushing your puffs before the bake will help with the liquid problem I had.
The point I'm making by posting this failed attempt is this: you might fail your first time. Keep going! Baking is a challenge. Follow the recipe, follow your intuition, and learn from your mistakes.
Step 14: I Am Not a Scientist But I Love Science
It's true -- I'm not a scientist and I don't have a degree in science, but I love the science of food and baking. There are many online resources for making choux pastry dough, but this blogger The Science Chef really breaks it down. Reading her blog, I understood the science behind the dough and how delicate of a process it is. I used the recipe she posted, but tweaked it with salt and doubled the amount of ingredients.