Don’t be intimidated! Classic Homemade Cream Puffs, with their fluffy dough and their lighter-than-air filling, are surprisingly easy to make and totally worth the effort!
Caution: the words in the following paragraphs are potentially hazardous to your kitchen and your waistline. You’ve been warned.
Y’all, Classic Homemade Cream Puffs are way easier to make than you might think. The dough doesn’t have any finicky steps, and the cream filling is literally just whipped cream (it’s also called Chantilly cream; use that term if it makes you feel fancier).
The dough is made on the stove top, which at first glance makes it seem a little trickier than most doughs, but there’s nothing to it. No thermometer or special gadgets required. Just a little bit of stirring and, voila, you’ve got your dough (called pâte à choux, another fancy term) faster than it takes to whip up a batch of chocolate chip cookies.
The puffs bake for under 25 minutes and then, because they’re light and airy, they cool quickly. The whipped cream filling, which you can totally customize based on your own preferences, comes together in just a few minutes. Fill those little beauties with cream and your done!
So if you’ve been avoiding making your own classic homemade cream puffs because you feared they were far too difficult for the average home cook to pull off, let me tell you, you’re wrong.
Like I said, you’ve been warned.
Classic Homemade Cream Puffs
1 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter, diced
3 tbs sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/3 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
more powdered sugar for dusting
In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter, and sugar. Stir over medium heat until butter is melted and mixture begins to boil. Add all the flour and continue stirring. Stir until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and form a ball, about one minute.
Remove pan from heat and allow the dough to cool for five minutes. Transfer the slightly cooled dough to the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat on medium speed and add the eggs one at a time, continuing to mix, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Transfer dough to a zip-top bag and cut off one corner of the bag. Use your makeshift pastry bag to pipe two-inch rounds of dough onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. When your sheet is full, use a wet fingertip to smooth down the points of dough created by lifting the bag after piping.
Place baking sheet in oven and immediately increase heat to 450 degrees. Bake for 10 minutes and then decrease heat to 350 degrees and bake 12-14 minutes more. Do not open the oven when reducing the heat. Remove baking sheets when puffs are golden and sound hollow when tapped.
Transfer cooked puffs to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. While they’re cooling, prepare the cream filling. In a large bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and then mix until the peaks before slightly stiff.
Transfer whipped cream into a piping bag or another zip-top bag (trim the corner again). Poke a hole in the bottom of each cooled puff and fill with whipped cream. Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.
- Be sure to follow the oven temperature instructions to ensure your cream puffs puff properly.
- You don’t have to use a piping tip to fill the puffs, but I recommend it because it makes poking the holes easier.
- You can freeze baked, unfilled puffs. Simply thaw for a few hours before filling with cream.
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