For Easter, me and my sister decided to make something different than our usual chocolate chunk and banana bread pudding. Although it's totally delicious and our family always begs for it, we felt like making a new tradition. Finally, after much recipe searching, we decided on a simple fruit tart with vanilla custard. Using the leftover custard from the tart, I decided to make cream puffs too. They are incredibly simple, way more simple than I ever could have imagined. Making them happens very quickly so you have to prepare yourself for some quick movements and have everything mise en place (or "put in place").
Fresh vanilla cream ready to be filled into lovely cream puffs:
For some reason my cream puffs came out kind of flattened, but I realized that I read somewhere in some recipe that you should prick the cream puffs in the middle of their baking time to allow steam to escape. Oops... no matter how flat they turned to be, they were still incredibly delicious!
Choux Pastry/ Cream Puffs
Yields: about 16 - 18 large puffs
For the pastry:
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup all purpose flour
5 large eggs, room temperature
For the vanilla custard:
2 large boxes of french vanilla pudding
2 1/2 cups of whole milk ONLY, no substitutions!
1 1/2 cup of heavy cream
Fresh out of the oven:
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to a rolling boil in a large pot. Reduce the heat to medium and mix in the flour, stirring constantly with a spoon until the dough starts to come together. Continue stirring the dough in the pan for another 2 - 3 minutes. The dough should be smooth and soft now. Pour the dough into a bowl and begin to add the eggs, one at a time. At first, the dough will begin to separate but as you keep mixing it should come back together. Immediately shape/ pipe the dough onto parchment paper lined baking sheets and bake for about 5 - 7 minutes (depending on you oven, mine tends to over bake). Then, quickly use a toothpick to prick each cream puff to allow the steam to escape. Next, slip the handle of a wooden spoon between the oven and its door to keep the door ajar and bake for another 5 - 7 minutes. Next, rotate the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to back then continue baking for another 6 - 8 minutes until they are puffed, golden, and firm. Let them cool completely before filling them. For the custard, whip everything together until pudding has become thick, about 8 - 10 minutes.
* Once you pipe the dough it can be frozen for later use. Just pipe the dough and slide the baking sheet into a freezer. Once frozen, you can re-pack them into freezer bags. They can be kept in a freezer for up to a month. They will be baked in the same way, just add a couple more minutes to the baking time.
* Cooked choux pastry (unfilled) can keep in an air tight container for 3 days and can be frozen for up to three weeks