Monday, June 20, 2011

Choux a la Creme

Cream puffs. Growing up, my mom made this really often, and her cream puffs are absolutely delicious. It was kind of daunting trying to make her cream puffs. And, sure enough, my cream puffs weren't top notch.

I messed up on the dough. It was all crumbly, but I was able to put it together and spoon it on the baking sheet. I think I didn't have enough egg whites in it. The pastry cream recipe, I think, called for way too much cornstarch. The taste was great, but the textures of the pastry and the cream were not satisfactory.

As I said in an earlier post, I do not have my camera right now. So, you'll just have to believe me when I say that I made a way better batch of cream puffs yesterday. I didn't use my mom's recipe at all. Here's the good recipe.

Choux a la Creme

Pate a Choux (recipe courtesy of Anne Burrell. Find it here)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 stick of butter
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup of all-purpose flour
2 eggs

Pastry cream (original recipe here)
2 cups of milk
1/4 cup of sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1/4 cup of sugar (originally called for 1/3 cup, but I reduced it)
2 tbs of butter
1 tsp of vanilla extract
  1. To make the pastry cream, bring the milk and 1/4 cup of sugar to a boil over medium heat.
  2. In a bowl, use a hand mixer to whisk the egg yolks and egg. Add the cornstarch and the remaining sugar, and mix until the mixture is smooth and pale in color.
  3. When the milk comes to a boil, drizzle into the egg mixture slowly so that you don't cook the eggs. Use a whisk for this process. Put the mixture back in the pan and slowly bring to a boil while continuously stirring.
  4. When the mixture thickens, remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour into a heatproof container and put a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Put it in the a fridge for at least an hour.
  5. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. To make the dough, put water, butter and salt in a pot and heat until the butter melts completely.
  7. Add the flour all at once and stir until the dough forms a ball. Dump into a bowl and let it sit for a couple of minutes before incorporating the eggs.
  8. After a couple of minutes, mix in the eggs one at a time using a mixer to ensure that the dough is evenly combined. You should end up with a pasty, sticky dough.
  9. You can either use a pastry bag or a Ziploc bag to pipe the dough on to the baking sheet. Or, you can do what I did, and just spoon it on. Whatever you do, leave at least one inch between each puffs. They grow! Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  10. After both the pastry cream and the pastries are cool, cut the pastries horizontally and fill away.
The pastry was light and it puffed up really well. The pastry cream was just the right consistency, and the recipe actually makes twice the amount you'll need to fill the profiteroles. So, I'm making some fruit tarts tomorrow (inspired by La Cuisine d'Helene's Parisian Fruit Tarts).


  1. Choux pastry or kue sus always reminds me of my late mom. She used to cater these for people. But she often made them savoury by filling with burger tempeh and lettuce.

  2. So does--or, did--my mom! She worked out of her kitchen most of the time, and I always helped her put the pastry cream in. I've never made them with savory fillings before. That's interesting. I bet this would go really great with ragout. You know, the one for risoles and croquettes. Sounds delish!