Long before DH, I was making cream puffs for dinner guests. They are always so impressed with cream puffs, as if they are a super complicated French recipe. Unh unh. Cream puffs are super easy as well as being quick to put together. In fact the hardest part of cream puffs is cutting off the tops. Honest!
So go ahead. Keep this to yourself and let them think you are Julia Child reincarnated or spill the beans about how easy it is to make this favorite dessert.
There are many cream puff recipes on line. Give some of the others a try along with this one. At the end I suggest three ways to fill the puffs to give some variety to the same base--the puff itself.
Mini-Cream Puffs Three+ Ways (makes 12 mini-puffs)
½ cup water
3 tablespoons butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ cup flour
Preheat oven to 400°. Prepare baking sheet with non-stick spray. Sprinkle on flour and then bang pan in sink to shake off the excess.
In a small saucepan, bring water, butter and salt to a boil. Remove from heat and add the flour. Beat vigorously. The dough will form a ball that comes off the side of the pan.
Add one egg and beat well until fully incorporated. Then add second egg, beating again until the batter looks smooth and shiny.
Put about about 2 tablespoons per puff on the prepared pan. You should have 12 puffs. They will rise so allow at least two inches between puff.
Moisten a finger and smooth the top of each puff.
Bake about 25 minutes until the puffs are golden and then remove them from the oven. Turn off oven but leave door closed.
Immediately puncture the side of each puff to allow the moisture out. Put puffs back in the oven for 12-15 minutes so they will dry out more.
Remove puffs and put on cookie rack to cool. Once cool, cut off the top of each puff with a serrated knife. Handle carefully as they are delicate.
After all the tops are cut off, with a small fork twirl around the inside of the top and bottom of the puff to remove the remaining wet dough. Discard the dough.
Fill puffs right before serving as they get soggy. Refrigerate leftovers or freeze the ice cream ones. You can use a single filling or a variety of fillings. Notice the beautiful plate fellow writer and fused glass artist, Caryn McGill, made for me!
3 Ways to Fill:
Fill with whipped cream (traditional) and dust with powdered sugar (optional)
Fill with ice cream of choice and drizzle on chocolate and/or caramel sauce
Fill with a lightly sweetened cream cheese-fruit combo
I’ll bet you have your own take on the classic cream puff. I'm thinking lemon curd would be tasty. Please give me more filling ideas in “comments” below!
NOTE: I keep flour in a plastic shaker top container to put on baking pans or add thickening to a gravy. I’ve never tried to do anything with the doughy centers I discard. I’ve thought about tossing with a cinnamon sugar mixture and baking to make crumbs for ice cream or fruit, but I’ve never done it.
DH’s RATING: 4.5 Tongues Up
I served him three puffs: whipped cream, ice cream with chocolate and caramel, and cream cheese with strawberries and blueberries. His least favorite was the whipped cream, but the others were 5 Tongues Up, so I averaged them. His #1 choice? The caramel and chocolate ice cream one!