In this instructable, I will show you how to make cream puffs! They are delicious, and I love making them. I haven't perfected it yet, but i have learned some tips to make it easier. :)
Step 1: What You Need!
Most cream puffs have 3 basic parts: the puff, the pastry cream, and the whipped cream. We will be making all three.
For the puff itself you will need:
1 cup water
1/2 stick butter
1 cup flour (all-purpose)
4 large eggs
I am using this recipe for the shell.
For the pastry cream you will need:
1 1/2 cups whole milk or half and half (I'm using milk)
4 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
I'm using a second recipe for the pastry cream.
For the whipped cream you will need:
Heavy whipping cream
For toppings/ overall prettiness(optional):
Equipment you will need:
Sauce pan or other heavy bottomed pot (for both the pastry cream and the puff dough)
Parchment paper (or butter/ non-stick cooking spray)
Stand mixer (or bowl and whisk) for making the whipped cream
Piping bag (optional)
STRAINER!(I didn't strain my pastry cream and it was lumpy!! That's not delicious.)
Step 2: Lets Make the Puff Batter!
First, you will need to put the stick of butter and cup of water into a sauce pan. Then, you will stir them over medium to medium high heat on the stove, until the butter is melted. Then remove from heat.
Next, you'll add the flour to the mixture in the sauce pan. I just dumped it in all at once. Stir it up a bit, then put it back on the heat. Stir it until the mixture no longer sticks to the sides of the pan(see picture). It kind of looks like play-dough at this point.Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool before moving onto the next step. Putting it into a different bowl and stirring it can help it cool down faster.
Finally, you're going to add the egg. Mix in the eggs one at a time until the consistency is like thick cake batter (it will come off the spoon after a second or two). Don't freak out if the egg doesn't look like it's going to mix in at first, it will. The video shows how disastrous it can look at first.
Once you're done, you can either spoon the dough onto the baking sheet, or move onto the next step! :)
I want to stress that you MAKE SURE the dough isn't hot anymore before you add the egg. You don't want scrambled egg dough.
Step 3: Piping the Dough and Putting It in the Oven!
I used a pastry bag with a star tip to pipe my dough, but you can always drop it by spoonfuls onto a cookie sheet instead. Make sure your cookie sheet is lined with parchment paper or lightly greased.
I filled my piping bag by sitting it in a large cup and opening it up around the rim of the cup. It is the easiest way that I've found to fill it.
To pipe the dough, hold the pastry bag straight up and start to apply pressure. Move the bag in a small circle, then release the pressure. Pull the bad straight up. I like to pipe two of these so my puffs are taller.
Use water and a fingertip to pat down any peaks on your puffs.
Put your puffs into the oven, and cook them until golden brown. The recipe says 25-35 minutes, but mine cooked much longer(probably because they were so large). They ended up being in the oven around 50 minutes, and probably could've been in a bit longer.
Step 4: Making the Pastry Cream
First, I mix the flour, salt, and sugar together(this usually helpsprevent clumping). Then, you mix your four egg yolks into the flour mixture.
Heat the milk on the stove at medium heat until it is warm. Then, mix a little bit of the milk at a time into the egg mixture; you don't want to cook the eggs yet. Keep adding milk to the egg mixture until the mixture is warm. Then, add the mixture into the pot with the rest of the milk. Return the pot to the stove. Cook the pastry cream on the stove until it thickens and starts to bubble.
I like my pastry cream very thick, if you want it thinner, use less flour.
After it thickens, remove it from the heat and add the vanilla extract. If you have a strainer, this is when you would strain it.
Pour the pastry cream into a container and cover with plastic wrap(the plastic wrap is to prevent a "skin" from forming on the pastry cream). Refrigerate the pastry cream until it is cool.
I HIGHLY recommend using a strainer. Lumpy pastry cream can ruin an otherwise perfect cream puff. Although it doesn't affect the taste much, it can make the puffs not look as good, and you can feel the lumps sometimes.
Step 5: Homemade Whipped Cream
You wouldn't wanna top your homemade puffs and homemade pastry cream with store-bought whipped cream. So, lets make homemade whipped cream!
First, pour your cold whipped cream into a bowl. Metal bowls work the best because they stay cooler. Then, add your sugar. I used a few teaspoons. Next, whisk until the cream is doubled(roughly) in size and has stiff peaks. It may take some time(especially by hand) but it'll get there.
Step 6: Putting It All Together!
You can either cut your puffs in half or just pull them apart(mine were easy to pull apart because of the way I piped them).
I like to melt chocolate and put it on the bottoms (this is optional). Then, you can either fold some of the whipped cream into the pastry cream and fill them with the mixture, or you can fill with the pastry cream then the whipped cream. You put the pastry cream on bottom so the whipped cream doesn't deflate.
Step 7: Eat It :D
Make sure you store your cream puffs in the refrigerator. Mine normally never last more than a day or two, but according to The Food Channel, they can keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and can be frozen for several weeks.
Step 8: Sources!
Good Dinner Mom - http://www.gooddinnermom.com/aunt-pats-famous-cream-puff-recipe/
theKitchn - http://www.thekitchn.com/back-to-basics-making-a-great-109229
The Food Channel - http://www.foodchannel.com/articles/article/what-is-the-best-way-to-store-cream-puffs/