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A cream puff filled with vanilla pastry cream.
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Cream Puffs

These delicate cream puffs bursting with vanilla infused pastry cream make for an unforgettable treat. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 24 puffs
Calories 166kcal

Equipment

  • Baking Sheet
  • Medium pot

Ingredients

For the Filling:

  • 2 cups whole milk 480mL
  • 1 vanilla bean OR 1 tbsp extract or paste
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar 133g
  • 1/4 cup corn starch 30g
  • 1 tbs butter unsalted, cold

For the Pastry:

  • 1 cup water 240mL
  • 1/2 cup butter unsalted, 113g
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 120g
  • 3 eggs extra, if needed

For the Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp water or cream

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup heavy cream 240mL
  • 2 tbsp confectioner's sugar

Instructions

For the Filling:

  • Cut a vanilla bean down the middle then use the knife to scrape the seeds out.
  • Add the milk and vanilla seeds to a medium pot and place on medium-high heat whisking occasionally. Bring to a boil and immediately turn off the heat and set aside. In a bowl, whisk the sugar, salt and corn starch together then add the egg yolks and whisk until lighter in color and smooth. Whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the saucepan.
  • Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and slowly boiling. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
  • Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours or until ready to serve. The custard can be made up to 2 days in advance.

For the Pastry:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. 
  • In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, salt and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. 
  • Add all the flour at once and stir hard with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Return to the heat and cook, stirring for about 60 seconds.
  • Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or use a hand mixer). Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, add 3 eggs, 1 egg at a time. Stop mixing after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the remaining 1 egg and mix until incorporated.
  • Transfer dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe dollops roughly 1.5-2 Inches in diameter and an inch high. Lightly wet a finger and tap down the spike on top.
  • Egg Wash: In a bowl, whisk the egg and water together. Brush the surface of each with the egg wash.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes at 425F. Try not to open the oven door during the bake. Poke holes in the puffs and return to oven to bake an extra 2-3 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet. You can leave the puffs in the oven with the door cracked open after baking if you'd like them to really dry out.

For the Assembly:

  • Whip the cold cream and sugar to make whipped cream then remove the custard from the fridge and whisk it to break it up and smooth the texture out. Whip about 1/2 cup of the whipped cream Into the custard then fold in the rest.
  • Cut the puffs either in half or 2/3 the way up with a serrated knife. You can scoop out some of the softer strands inside but that's optional.
  • Transfer the filling to a pipping bag fitted with a star tip and pipe custard into each pastry then place the cap on, lightly dust with powdered sugar and enjoy.

Video

Notes

  • In a rush? Fill these with whipped cream and enjoy!
  • Wet your finger and pat the tops of the puffs down after piping them to round them out, those spikes will burn in the oven. 
  •  If you haven't made pastry cream before then you should check out my full how to blog post with video tutorial!
  • Using the corn starch is a bit of a cheat, you can reduce or omit it if you’re feeling the brave traditionalist.
  • You can fold melted and cooled chocolate into this or add a fruit reduction instead of the vanilla; so many options!
  • This custard can be made up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate until 1 hour before using. I almost always fold in whipped cream to lighten the filling up, this is now called Diplomat Cream.

Nutrition

Serving: 1puff | Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 90mg | Sodium: 109mg | Potassium: 63mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 18g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 35mg | Iron: 0.5mg