CREAM PUFFS. Easy Choux Pastry. [TRADITIONAL or GLUTEN FREE]

May 2019 | The Honest Spoon

 

 

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I was having lunch recently with some girlfriends and I had quite a revelation. Quite a few people don’t know how to make cream puffs. OR, worse, they think these are difficult to make!! SAY WHAT??? My friends you have been grossly misinformed.

These may look fancy- but it doesn’t mean you need to be a pastry chef to make them! Here’s what you’ll need:

baking sheet

flour

water

1 stick of butter

4 eggs

Prepared Pastry Cream (2 batches) or Vanilla Jello Pudding (prepared using PIE instructions, not Pudding)

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See? Just a few ingredients! I think you can handle that, right?

Growing up, cream puffs have been a staple at family parties. They give your dessert table some flair, they’re inexpensive, easy to make, easy to serve, and a crowd pleaser!! Better yet, if you are looking for a gluten free option all you have to do is swap out the flour with a 1:1 gluten free flour like Bob’s Red Mill, King Arthur, or Cup4Cup (basically a rice based gluten free flour). If you have friends or relatives with allergies and need a dessert to please a diverse crowd this is an excellent option. The GF version doesn’t taste any different than the original (trust me, we taste tested). If anything, the rice flour in the GF flour gives them a lighter and more crisp texture. If you choose to go Gluten Free, make sure you find a gluten free pudding like (J-ello brand) or follow my Pastry Cream Recipe.

When making Cream Puffs, you can approach this two ways. You can pipe them or you can use a spoon and drop them onto a baking sheet. If you decide to spoon them let me give you a tip: use a teaspoon for smaller cream puffs, and a tablespoon for larger cream puffs. Using a teaspoon you can get as many as 24 (that may be a stretch). Using a tablespoon (shown here), you can yield about 12.

Another important tip is in the eggs. First, eggs should be a room temperature. Second, it’s important that eggs are added one at a time. you can do this by hand with a wooded spoon, or by hand mixture. Either way, you mix until the egg is just mixed in. do not over mix. Over mixing the eggs will reduce the lightness and result in a shell that isn’t as hollow as it should be. The goal is hollow shells. But since Cream Puffs are forgiving, it’s totally okay if your shells aren’t perfectly hollow. You wont be able to taste the difference!

 

CREAM PUFFS. Easy Choux Pastry. [TRADITIONAL or GLUTEN FREE]

makes 12-24 (depending on size |

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Cup Water

  • 1 stick (1/2 Cup) Salted Butter

  • 1 Cup Unbleached White Flour or Gluten Free Flour (like Bob Red Mills 1:1 baking flour)

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature

  • 2 Cups Pastry Cream (2 recipes) or one box prepared Vanilla Jello Pudding (see notes below)

  • Powdered Sugar for dusting

METHOD:

1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line one or two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium saucepan, on medium/ high heat, add butter and water and heat until butter is melted.

3. Lower heat and add flour. Stir vigorously with wooden spoon for about 1-2 minutes until mixture pulls away clean from side of saucepan (about 1-2 minutes). Let cool for 10 minutes.

4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing until just incorporated after each addition.

5.  Using a piping bag, teaspoon, or tablespoon (see above), evenly place cream puff dough on baking sheet. Be sure to place 2” apart as cream puff will nearly double in volume while baking.

6. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until Cream Puffs are golden. Let cool completely before filling.

TO FILL:

Cream puffs can be filled two ways. Piping from underneath, or by slicing in half and filling.

Piping: using a sharp tipped knife, puncture a small X into bottom of cream puff. Insert piping bag into the X and gently fill.

Slice/ Fill: Using a sharp serrated knife, slice cream puff in half. Spoon filling into middle and place top back on. You can also add a dollop of whipped cream on top of filling before putting the top back on.

Dust with Powdered Sugar and Serve within 2 hours.

FILLING:

1. I love to use Pastry Cream for this recipe. Even more, I love to add 1 cup of Whipped Cream to every recipe to lighten up the cream. For this cream puff recipe, I would make 2 pastry cream recipes, and fold in 2 cups Whipped Cream.

2. If you don’t want to make Pastry Cream- NO PROBLEM! you can easily use a large box of Instant Vanilla Pudding. My tip is three fold:

1. use the PIE instructions, not the PUDDING.

2. You will use slightly less liquid than what’s called for on the box.

3. Use half Milk, Half heavy cream.

Example: if the box calls for 2 cups milk, use 3/4 C milk and 1 C heavy cream. This will give you a richer texture which is perfect for cream puffs!

TIPS:

  • You can make the shells up to two weeks in advance and freeze in an airtight container, Thaw fully and reheat in oven until slightly crisp again (5-8 minutes).

  • Pasty Cream or pudding can be made two days in advance. Just give it a good stir before filling.

I also add an example of a piped variation below. There’s a lot of ways to make a cream puff!

As always, have fun and please let me know what you think! i love to hear your comments and feedback!

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