Cream puffs are a cause for celebration, an ode to happiness, a work of deliciously edible art. Last Friday, Jenny and I made cream puffs during our baking lesson at George Brown College. Stomachs filled with pastry and cream, we left the building with boxes and boxes of cream-filled, chocolate-drizzled, icing sugar-dusted cream puffs. Obviously, the pastries attracted quite a bit of attraction on our trip home.
We collapsed onto the subway chairs, the boxes perched perilously on our shaky knees. Usually, on typical subway rides, I ignore the presence of other commuters as they ignore me (stranger danger and all). After Jenny got off at her stop, a guy sat down in front of me. Stealing a glance at the box of cream puffs, he commented that the pastries looked really delicious.
I got off the train and exited the station. As I rode the escalator up, a man who was coming down, peered at the cream puffs, craning his neck to get a good look. “Cream puffs,” I said, in explanation. “Those look really good!” he shouted to me as he continued to go down on the escalator and I went up.
I set my boxes down on a bench and called my mom, who was picking me up from the subway station. When I turned around, I noticed that the elderly gentleman who had been sitting on the other side of the bench had been staring at my pastries. He was too polite to say anything, so I smiled at him and left.
Needless to say, I was quite amused. The soft rolls that I had made last week had been in a brown paper bag and so had the bran muffins and tea biscuits of the week before, so I was new to the experience of carrying open face boxes containing delicious desserts in public places. Who knew that a box of cream puffs could garner so many lingering looks and solicitous stares?
Click below for the recipe
Adapted from: George Brown Baking Arts Manual
Yield:really depends on how big you pipe your cream puffs
- 250 mL water
- 125 grams butter
- 2.5 grams salt
- 185 grams flour
- 6-7 eggs
Filling and Garnish:
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, plus more for dusting
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ounce semisweet chocolate, melted
Preheat oven to 400F.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter with water and salt and bring to a boil. Add the flour all at once and then stir briskly. Cook the roux until it pulls away from the sides and a thin coating forms at the bottom of the saucepan. Let the paste cool down for 5-10 minutes and then add the eggs, one at a time, stirring thoroughly between additions. The paste should be stiff enough to stand up but soft enough to spread a little bit. If the paste is too stiff, add an extra egg, but be careful, as it cannot be stiffened with flour that has not been gelatinized (cooked).
Spoon the paste into a pastry bag and pipe the paste onto parchment-lined cookie sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each cream puff. I used a large star tip to form rosettes. Using your finger, smooth down any peaks that may have formed. Bake for 30 minutes, until the cream puffs have puffed up and are golden brown and hollow inside. The baking time will depend on how big your cream puffs are and on your oven, so I suggest checking after 20 minutes.
Allow the cream puffs to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, slice the top third of the cream puff off and pick out any soft dough inside. Repeat with the remaining cream puffs.
For the filling, in a large bowl, whip cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to beat until medium peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream into a pastry bag and pipe the cream into the bottom shell of the cream puff. Place the top shell on the cream and drizzle with the melted chocolate and dust with the powdered sugar.