These homemade cream puffs are just as delicious as the ones at the bakery. You won’t believe how simple and easy these elegant little pastries are to make!
easier than they look!
Hello Lil’ Luna readers! My name is Alicia and I blog at The Baker Upstairs. I’ve brought one of my favorite treats to share with you today… homemade cream puffs! However intimidating they seem, cream puffs are actually very easy to make… almost like magic!
The pâte à choux (the pastry part) comes together very quickly and easily, and bakes up into wonderful puffy little pieces of heaven. And I’m already drooling thinking about the cream filling! Trust me when I say these are just as delicious as any cream puff you would find in a bakery.
What is the difference between a cream puff, eclair, and a profiteroles? They all use the same basic choux recipe. The differences are the shape and fillings:
- Cream Puff: round, typically filled with pastry cream and topped with powdered sugar
- Eclair: oblong, filled with pastry cream and topped with chocolate.
- Profiteroles: round, filled with ice cream
tips on How to make cream puffs
- Make sure all the cream puffs are the same size so they all cook at the same rate.
- Once the dough has been piped onto the baking sheet, do not add more dough to the original puff.
- Hollow out the puff when it is still warm. Cut in half with a knife, then use a fork to carefully remove the center leaving a crisp hollow shell.
- Cool completely before adding the cream. Serve immediately, or refrigerate for up to two hours. Any longer, and the crispy shell will begin to soften.
Can I make Cream Puffs ahead of time? The short answer is yes! You can store the pastry dough or baked choux shell. Store the baked choux shell (unfilled) at room temperature for 1-2 days. Filled puffs are best served right away, but can be made a couple hours ahead of time and refrigerated.
Why did my cream puffs deflate? Cream puffs deflate for all sorts of reasons. Here are a few common ones to avoid.
- Not piercing the puff as soon as it is out of the oven. Pierce with a fork or knife to allow the steam to escape.
- Not blending the ingredients properly. For example, add one egg at a time then mix after each. It takes more time, but following the steps helps ensure a properly baked choux pastry.
- The oven temperature is too low or the oven was opened too many times during the cooking process.
Should I use an egg wash before baking? Some recipes will direct you to add an egg wash so the cream puff has a shiny texture. However, the extra weight and coverage from the wash may inhibit the steam from properly escaping and the puff will not rise as well. For this reason we do not recommend using an egg wash.
Cream Puff Filling
You can change up the filling based on what you like, but we like a sweet whipped cream – and it’s easy to make!
While the puffs cool, beat the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer or wire whisk). Once the cream is whipped to desired level of firmness, beat in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it is as sweet as you would like.
We use about 1 cup whipping cream with ¼ to ⅓ powdered sugar. It’s the perfect filling!
Storing and Freezing
How do I store leftovers? Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Can I freeze cream puffs? The good news is yes you can!
- Shell only: Bake according to directions, hollow and cool. Flash freeze then carefully place in a freezer safe airtight firm container. Do not use a ziplock bag as other freezer items may accidentally smash the delicate shells. Freeze for 2-3 months.
Thaw for 5-10 minutes and fill with cream. To give revive their crispness place in the oven for 350 degrees F for only 5-8 minutes. Watch carefully. Cool and fill.
- Choux dough: Pipe, or scoop, dough onto a baking sheet place directly into the freezer. Flash freeze and place in a freezer safe airtight container. Freeze for about 2 months. You can bake direct from the freezer just add about 5 minutes more to the bake time. You can also allow the dough to thaw and then bake.
- Filled Puff: Flash freeze and then place cream puffs in an airtight freezer safe container. Freeze for 2-3 months. Thaw and enjoy. Filled puffs that have been frozen will not have a crispy texture and cannot be reheated or the cream will melt out.
This is one of those recipes that I never thought I could make at home, but they are every bit as delicious as those you can buy at a bakery. And they are not only quick and easy to make, they are also impressive and elegant. Enjoy!
For more bakery style recipes, check out:
Cream Puff Recipe
- Preheat oven to 450. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone liners.
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt to a simmer over medium heat. Once a simmer is reached, remove from heat, and stir in flour all at once until the mixture forms a ball. Let stand five minutes
- By hand, or using a hand mixer, add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Mix until the dough is smooth and shiny.
- Using a pastry bag and a large tip (or just a ziploc bag with a hole cut in the corner) pipe small rounds of dough onto the baking sheets, spacing about one inch apart. Use your finger to press down the little peaks at the top of the dough, so the puffs are smooth.
- Bake at 450 for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 for 15 minutes. The puffs are done when they are lightly browned and the insides are hollow. Let the puffs cool completely.
- While the puffs cool, beat the whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer (or use a hand mixer or wire whisk). Once the cream is whipped to desired level of firmness, beat in the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it is as sweet as you would like.
- Split each cream puff in half using a serrated knife, and place a scoop of whipped cream onto the bottom half of the puff. Top with the other half and dust with powdered sugar. Bon appetit!
Adapted from Ambrosia Baking