How to Make Cream Puffs

Cream puffs
Jon Lovette / Getty Images
  • 01 of 09

    How to Make Cream Puffs

    Elegant and fun, these are perfect for both informal and formal parties. © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Learn how to make cream puffs and pate a choux pastry dough. This cream puff tutorial will take you step-by-step through making the dough and filling for these delicious cream puff pastries, which make great desserts for any occasion.

    First, find a recipe for the dough. We used this one for creating our pate a choux.

    Keep in mind while making this that eggs are a critical ingredient for the puff pastry as they provide the rise and result in a fluffy puff that has a bit of crunch on the outside. If...MORE you want to try a vegan alternative without eggs, use this recipe from OneGreenPlanet.org.

    The steps shown assume using eggs, butter, and milk. The filling can be a dairy-free cream, pudding, or this fabulous vanilla pastry cream.

    Continue to 2 of 9 below.
  • 02 of 09

    Boil the Dough Ingredients

    I try to use non-hydrogenated soy margarine when possible, such as Earth Balance. © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    In a medium-sized saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the milk, water, sugar, salt, and butter until well combined. Whisking constantly, bring the mixture to a boil and immediately remove from heat.

     

    Continue to 3 of 9 below.
  • 03 of 09

    Add in the Flour and Remove From Heat

    Once you've added the flour, it is important to mix frequently to prevent the mixture from toasting in the pan. © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    With a wooden spoon, stir in the flour (the mixture will seem slightly "lumpy"). Return the pan to the heat and keep stirring until the ball of dough pulls away from the sides and a bit of film start collecting at the bottom of the pan.

    Continue to 4 of 9 below.
  • 04 of 09

    Add in the Eggs

    To prevent cooking your eggs, it is important to beat the batter mixture well before adding. © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Transfer the dough to a medium-sized mixing bowl. With a hand mixer on medium speed, mix the dough to allow it to cool slightly before adding the eggs. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating well into the batter between each addition. When the batter is shiny and forms soft peaks, it is ready to use for the cream puffs.

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.
  • 05 of 09

    Pipe the Batter

    © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round tip with the batter. Pipe circles about 2" in diameter onto the prepared sheet.

    Continue to 6 of 9 below.
  • 06 of 09

    Bake and Cool Pate a Choux

    © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Bake for 10 minutes at 450 F. Then turn down the heat to 375 F and bake for another 20 to 30 minutes, until the pate a choux are golden brown.

    Turn off the oven and let the shells cool for 30 minutes inside the oven. Make sure to leave the door ajar.

    Next, remove them from the oven and put them on a wire rack to cool completely before making any incisions and filling with pastry cream.

    Continue to 7 of 9 below.
  • 07 of 09

    Make the Incision

    It is best to make the holes in the underside of the cream puffs with the tip of a sharp knife while they are still slightly warm. © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Once the puffs are cooled, use a sharp knife to poke a small hole in the bottom of each cream puff. This is where you'll be piping in the filling.

    For filling, you could use a chocolate pudding, whipped cream, or pastry cream

    Continue to 8 of 9 below.
  • 08 of 09

    Pipe the Pastry Cream

    You can fill the cream puffs with a variety of fillings; I prefer this vegan pastry cream, which is sweet but not quite as rich as traditional versions, which pairs nicely with the rich dough. © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    Fill a pastry bag fitter with a small round tip with the chilled pastry cream. Pipe a small amount into the bottom of each cream puff. 

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.
  • 09 of 09

    Serve and Enjoy

    Elegant and fun, these are perfect for both informal and formal parties. © 2008 Ashley Skabar, licensed to About.com, Inc.

    When cooled, dust the cream puffs with confectioners sugar and serve. Or, feel free to drizzle with melted chocolate.

    Cream puffs should be served within two hours of cooling, so enjoy!