The perfect cream puff is made with choux pastry and filled with vanilla pastry cream. It's a simple and elegant dessert, and the contrast between the crispy shell of the pastry and the luscious pastry cream is quite stunning.
To make frozen cream puffs, fill them with vanilla ice cream and then keep them in the freezer. Then when it's time to serve them, drizzle them with chocolate syrup.
Note: The procedure below assumes you've finished mixing up your choux pastry dough, but you haven't baked it yet. To review, here's the recipe for choux pastry. You're also going to need a batch of pastry cream for the filling.
- 1 batch choux pastry dough
- 1 batch vanilla pastry cream
- Optional: Egg wash for brushing
- Garnish: powdered sugar for sprinkling
- Fit your piping bag (or pastry bag) with a ½-inch tip (1 cm) and fill it with the choux dough. It's easiest to do this if you fit the bag point-down into a quart jar, drape the cuff of the bag over the rim of the jar, and then spoon the mixture in.
- Pipe 1½-inch (4 cm) mounds of dough onto a greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, making sure to leave about 2 inches between each one. Now is when you'd brush them with egg wash if you wanted a bit more golden color.
- Transfer the sheet to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 375°F and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown with a nice crisp shell.
- Now turn off the oven and let the puffs cool in the oven for 30 minutes with the oven door partway open.
- Take the puffs out and let them cool the rest of the way on a rack. They need to be fully cooled before you cut them and fill them.
- When the puffs are cool, use a sharp knife to carefully slice off the tops. Imagine you're making each one a little hat.
- Fill a fresh pastry bag with your pastry cream, and pipe each puff full of cream. Then replace the tops, dust the tops with powdered sugar and serve.