Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Any one for Cream Puffs

Baking was my hobby for many years and it all started with Cream Puffs.  I remember going to our favourite bakery on Saturday morning to purchase these delicacies.  I only wanted half dozen or so and sometimes I would be able to buy them.  Other times I left with only one or two.  Then one day I arrived to find that they were sold out.  They only make a limited number each day and they take pre-orders.  One time I was in the line waiting and I was looking at all the cream puffs on the counter, and guess what ?   Yes, the person in front of me bought them all, leaving me with none.

Then I was at the front of the line and the bakery lady said "why don't you order them a week ahead ?"  I thought to myself, "how would I know what I wanted to eat next week?"  I thought it can't be that difficult, and that was how this all started.

If you follow along, you too can make your own Cream Puffs.

Take a pot and pour 1 cup of milk and 1/3 rd cup of butter into it and bring it to a boil

In a separate mixing boil ADD;  1 cup of sifted flour,  1/8th Teaspoon of Salt and combine

When the milk / butter mixture above comes to a boil remove from the heat and wait a minute before adding the flour / salt mixture ALL at ONCE and start mixing manually.  I used a wooden spoon

The flour mixture is using the residual heat from the milk/butter.   Mix vigorously until you get stiff peaks and it sort of dries out, just a minute or so

Don't dilly dally for too long as you need the heat to incorporate the eggs, one at a time until they do not look slippery

Mix vigorously until the eggs are incorporated into your mixture and the dough can form peaks without falling over.   I found that you only need 2, or perhaps 3 eggs which must be at room temperature.   I usually take the eggs out of the fridge and put them in a boil with hot tap water for a few minutes to bring them to room temperature.  If the eggs are too cold they will cool down the milk/butter mixture too much

For Vegan puff shells you can use Xanthan Gum instead of eggs, more info here .   I found some at our local organic store and I nearly fell over when I noticed the price.  I plan to experiment more with Vegan recipes when I get snowed in

My batter is nearly ready but I put in one too many eggs.  It should not affect the shells but you will have more filling to remove

The dough is very sticky.  I make small diameter balls and use two spoons to place them on my cookie sheets

Into our nearly new gas oven on the middle rack.  400°F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F for 25 minutes

I can't help myself, I like to look into our oven window and see them start to rise

Soon they are ready.  You should leave them somewhere warm so that they don't collapse and wait for them to cool .    When they are room temperature you take a small knive and make a diagonal cut to open them up

and sometimes you have to take a small spoon and take out some of the filling as you only need the outer shell

I do the same for all my shells

Whipping cream whips better if your mixing bowl is cold.  I used to put it in our freezer but I don't have room so I fill the bottom with ice and put a plate on top to keep the cold air in, and then wait 20 minutes or so until you feel that the bowl is cold

I remove the ice and take a towel to remove the moisture, then pour in a cup or so of whipping cream (Heavy cream), and make sure to use your wire attachment so you can incorporate more air.  Turn your mixer on high speed and add icing sugar until you get the sweetness you like.  Don't over whip the whipping cream or you will just get milky water.

One of the benefits of whipping the cream is that you get to clean the attachment

I overfill the shells with as much whipping cream as I can, using a small spoon

soon all my shells are fill with whipping cream

and I put them on a plate.  I prepared the chocolate topping the evening before

I use a small pot on top of another pot of boiling water, sort of like a double boiler so the chocolate gets indirect heat.  I use the lowest heat I can and stir constantly

It depends on how much chocolate you need.  For these few cream puffs, I used:

1 Teaspoon of butter
1 cube Baker's semi sweet chocolate square (1 oz)
6 teaspoons of Whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

and add icing sugar until you get the sweetness you like
if too thick you can add more whipping cream or milk

It was easy to remelt this chocolate by putting this container over a pot of boiling water

I took my spoon and drizzled the chocolate over the puff shells and put them into the fridge for the chocolate to set.

It was our son's birthday and these cream puffs didn't last long . . .

For Vegan whipping cream alternative, use Coconut Cream, something like this

Coconut cream behaves and mixed nearly the same as whipping cream (heavy cream), just mix on high speed using your wire whisk attachment and add icing sugar to taste

There you are .  I have used this recipe for years and if I can do it so can you


  1. I hope your hotel in SF has cooking facilities..you so going to be cooking for me!

    1. Roger:

      If you wish to save some $$, perhaps I can talk my host into letting us use her kitchen on Friday night, but you may have to take BART to Oakland

  2. Yacht charter dubai its a fun place i really like traveling specially in yachts.

    1. Jony:

      there is nothing better than to have a cream puff on a yacht somewhere warm, especially in Dubai

  3. Those look really good Bob. You're making me hungry!

    1. Erik:

      The Cream Puffs are easy to make, just time consuming. Most times during Christmas I add a Teaspoon of Grand Marnier to the cream before beating, or you can also add some cocoa powder to give it a chocolate flavour. I have done both. I don't mind experimenting a bit.

  4. Fantastic! What a fun post!

    Plus I'm drooling...

    I've got the coffee on...could you pass the cream puffs, please? :=)

    1. Deb:

      I find that reading most recipes are boring. Just paragraphs of words. I thought I could explain mine differently in a logical sequence so you could follow along and make them for yourself. I often change the order of adding ingredients as I like to take shortcuts.

      Cream puffs are one of those tasty delights that are not hard to make but takes a bit of time waiting for things to cool down. I actually made the shells and the chocolate drizzle, the evening before. This gives time for the shells to get a bit firmer. If you bring them to a gathering, I wait until the last minute before I mix up the whipping cream so that it is as fresh as it can be. Whipping cream should be eaten while fresh, not from the day before.

  5. They look delicious, and like many pastry easy to make, but time consuming. I'm sure Sonny enjoyed them. Did you actually get any or did he eat them all?

    1. Chris:

      I know you are an excellent chef too. I've seen photos of you in your kitchen. We actually used to go out a lot but you can make most things better at home. Especially Hollandaise sauce, I love my eggs benedicts and I put in much more lime and lemon, plus I smother my eggs with lots of sauce. In a restaurant the sauce runs out before the eggs are gone.

      We had two cream puffs each. They don't taste the same the next day.

  6. Yumm. Looks good Bob.

    I have only ever made cream puffs once - about 15 years ago but I liked the end result.

    I haven't tried to make vegan ones as I don't think items that normally take more than one or two eggs would turn out very well when changing them that drastically. You never know though.

    1. Trobairtiz:

      I think this would turn out just fine as a Vegan treat by Veganizing it with my suggestions using the Xanthan Gum. (I put that link in just for you). I can bring a package to SF if you want to try it ?

      This Vegan recipe is not much different than the one I use. Click theLINK HERE Xanthan Gum is different from Egg replacer and I think it may be better for baking. I plan to try it soon. Check out that link and the shells look like they had no trouble rising. From what I have read, I think the Xanthan Gum will work, whereas the Ener-G won't.

      Of course you don't have to fill with whipping cream. You can put other things in there.

  7. Hey Jack Riepe said he could use a hand in New Jersey getting his books out. Send him a puff pastry recipe instead of a cheque. He says that will work just as well.

    1. Mr Conch:

      If I could get to Tom's River, NJ, I would certainly help him. I spoke to him a long while ago but he told me to hang back and not send any $$ yet, but he was going to save me a few of his books. But now, I am not getting any. I suppose mine is in the waterlogged, lost shipment that Sandy took away

      I thought he was more of a "Twinkies" or "Snow Balls" man. He mentioned about buying a supply before Hostess closed down. If you email me his physical Tom's River Address I will send off my check . . .

    2. Jack is in Tom's River?? I just visited his blog yesterday for the first time and didn't yet have a chance to 'place' him. My friend Diane lives just east of downtown Tom's River; she was fairly lucky. So sorry to hear about the books.

    3. Coop:

      Next year I will finally meet Jack, on the road somewhere . . . he mentioned Deadwood. It would be good if Diane was a Dominatrix, Jack would like that

  8. BOB - I am now wanting cream puffs.....Darn it man! They look yummy!

    1. Dar:

      There is nothing so sensual as a mouthful of freshly whipped, whipping cream . . . and they were very tasty

  9. I like Julia but I'd rather learn from bob

    (We stuff ours with revved up chicken salad)

    1. Coop:

      or shrimp, or crab, or . . .

      We buy what is on sale, sometimes it works out and sometimes not. I'd rather follow Julia but I need to speak with a French accent

  10. So when is the video coming out? If a series of photos is good then video must be better, eh?

    Fortunately, I'm not tempted as they aren't in my diet...

    1. Richard:

      I'm shy . . .

      One day I'll find your achilles "diet" cravings

    2. "I'm shy . . . "

      What! Who are you trying to kid....

    3. Richard:

      Yup, it's true, ask anyone . . .

  11. My mom used to make them when I was a kid. She made a custard filling.
    Whip cream sounds like it's an easier alturnative.
    Looks good! Wish I was there to help devoure them.