Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Month-of-Eggs: Vanilla Cream Puffs

I’ll bet you thought we were done with sweet egg-heavy recipes. But I’ve got a few more up my sleeve. They need to make February longer so I can cook everything I want. Oh, right. They did this year. Well, it’s still not enough days for me!

I’ve made cream puffs before on this blog when I did mini-dessert cream puffs
but this time we are doing grown-up size ones and filling them with a delicious vanilla cream. We are egg-intensive today!

Before starting the cream puffs, make your vanilla cream filling. It takes a while for the filling to thicken up and cool down.

Don’t be intimidated. This recipe sounds harder than it is. But it is somewhat time intensive so allow for that.

Vanilla Cream Pudding (~3 ½ cups—eat extra as pudding with fruit)
(serves 8)
3 egg yolks
3 cups of milk
½ cup sugar (or equivalent sweetener)
1/3 cup cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
1/2 vanilla bean, split

Before you start mixing, get a bowl larger than your pan and fill it with ice. Set aside.

With a mixer, beat egg yolks in medium-size bowl. Once eggs are frothy, add milk slowly while continuing to mix.

In a pan, whisk sugar, cornstarch, and salt. When well-combined, whisk in a small amount of the egg mixture, enough to make a smooth, not thick paste.

Slowly add in the remaining egg mixture, whisking all the while. Keep mixing with a spoon until well-blended.

Cook the mixture in the pan over a medium-low heat. Stir continuously all sides and bottom of the pan.

When the thickened mixture comes to a boil (takes about 20 minutes), let boil for one minute as you still stir.

Add water to the bowl of ice and immediately cool the mixture by placing the pan in the bowl of ice water.

Continue to stir the pudding as it sits in the bowl of ice water for a few minutes to speed up the cool down.

Scrape vanilla bean seeds into the pudding mixture and add the pod pieces, too. Stir to incorporate.

Cover pudding to keep air from forming a skin on the vanilla cream pudding.

Refrigerate for at least one hour.

Begin making the cream puffs for filling.

Cream Puffs
1 cup water
6 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs

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. (Or line the pan with your Silpat sheet or parchment paper.)

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. Continue adding in eggs one at a time.

Put about about 3 tablespoons per puff on the prepared pan. You should have 8 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.

If ready to serve dessert, get the vanilla cream pudding from the refrigerator. Remove the vanilla pod pieces and stir the vanilla cream pudding.

Fill puffs right before serving as they get soggy when left too long. Store unfilled cream puffs in a zipper bag or freeze.

NOTE: The way to a perfect vanilla cream pudding is a heavy pan and low heat. Constant stirring keeps it from burning or curdling. Be sure you mix in pudding from every surface of the pan so it cooks evenly.

DH’s Rating: 5 Tongues Up  Even though it is a generous dessert portion, it is light and doesn’t taste too sweet or heavy.


  1. I love cream puffs! though vanilla isn't my favorite

    1. Add some Nutella to the vanilla mixture or just put Nutella right into the shells! Try them with cookie butter, too.