Japanese Shu Cream

Japanese shu cream puffs on a plate

The Spruce / Ana Zelic

Prep: 40 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 85 mins
Servings: 4 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
491 Calories
18g Fat
73g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4
Amount per serving
Calories 491
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 10g 48%
Cholesterol 255mg 85%
Sodium 189mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 73g 27%
Dietary Fiber 1g 2%
Total Sugars 57g
Protein 11g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 116mg 9%
Iron 2mg 11%
Potassium 186mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Shu cream is a Japanese dessert inspired by the famous French "choux cream." Although these decadent puffs are French in origin, they have become a Japanese culinary staple that kids of many generations have grown up eating. They are available everywhere from high-end patisseries to vending machines.

When small individual choux pastry puffs are baked, the interior becomes light and airy and the exterior turns crisp and golden. The puff is then filled with a sweet custard filling. Before serving, the shu cream is gently dusted with confectioners' sugar.

While the traditional shu cream has a plain puff pastry and classic yellow custard cream filling, another popular version of shu cream involves covering the shell with a generous layer of dark chocolate. Other modern versions of the pastry use flavored custard cream fillings such as chocolate, green tea or matcha, strawberry or blueberry cream, or even coffee or peanut butter. Although the possibilities for flavored creams are endless, the favorite shu cream is still the classic custard cream filling.

This recipe makes eight puffs, but it's likely that your guests will be asking for more. If you'd like, you double the recipe, and recruit the family for help, as these puffs are as fun to make as they are easy to eat. You can fill them a day in advance of serving.

Ingredients

For the Choux Pastry:

  • 2 medium eggs

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 cup flour

For the Custard Cream:

  • 2 large egg yolks

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 2 tablespoons flour, sifted

  • 1 cup milk, warmed

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

For Dusting:

Steps to Make It

Make the Pastry

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Japanese shu cream

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  2. Heat the oven to 375 F. Prepare a baking sheet by layering a piece of parchment paper or a silicone sheet.

    Parchment paper on a baking sheet

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  3. Beat the eggs in a small bowl and set aside.

    Eggs beaten in a small bowl

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  4. Place the butter, sugar, and water in a pan and bring to a boil over medium heat.

    Butter, sugar, and water bubbling in a pan

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  5. Add the flour to the pan and incorporate into the butter mixture by stirring very quickly. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove.

    Add the flour to the pan and incorporate into the butter mixture

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  6. Add the beaten eggs slowly into the pan with the dough mixture, stirring well with a wooden spoon. Mix well to avoid lumps in the dough—it should be smooth and even, firm but pliable.

    Beaten eggs added slowly into the pan with the dough mixture

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  7. Fill a piping bag—or sturdy zip-close bag with a snipped corner—with the dough.

    Piping bag filled with dough mixture

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  8. Gently squeeze out eight small mounds of dough onto the baking sheet. With wet hands even out the surface of each little ball.

    Dough circles on parchment paper

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  9. Bake the puff pastry for 30 minutes. Allow the puffs to cool on a cooling rack.

    Baked puff pastry on a cooling rack

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  10. Cut the puffs in half horizontally. Reserve.

    Cut the puffs in half horizontally

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

Make the Custard

  1. In a medium-size pan, mix the egg yolks and sugar, stirring well.

    In a medium-size pan, mix the egg yolks and sugar

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  2. Add the flour into the pan and mix well.

    Add the flour into the pan with the egg mixture

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  3. Gradually add the warm milk into the egg mixture, stirring constantly.

    Gradually add the warm milk into the egg mixture

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  4. Place the pan on low heat and stir the mixture constantly until it has thickened, or about 5 to 7 minutes.

    Place the pan on low heat and stir the mixture constantly

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  5. Remove from heat and add the melted butter, mixing well.

    Remove the egg mixture from heat and add the melted butter

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  6. Let the cream cool off, covered in plastic wrap.

    Let the cream cool off

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Assemble the Shu Cream

  1. Top the bottom halves of puffs with a dollop of custard cream and place the top halves on top.

    Bottom halves of puffs topped with a dollop of custard cream

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

  2. Dust the finished cream puffs with confectioners' sugar.

    Assembled cream puffs dusted with powdered sugar

    The Spruce / Ana Zelic

Variation

For a flavorful take on the classic custard, use matcha powder.

  • Dissolve 1 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder in 2 teaspoons of water.
  • Add 2 to 3 spoonfuls of the already prepared custard cream into the green tea mixture and stir well.
  • Add the green tea cream into the rest of the custard cream. Mix well until fully incorporated, and use to fill your puffs.

How to Store and Freeze Japanese Shu Cream

You can make the puffs up to a day in advance. Store them unfilled in an airtight container at room temperature. Any leftover filled puffs can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two days.

You can also freeze any unfilled puffs. Put them on a baking tray lined with wax paper in the freezer until they freeze, and then transfer to a zip-close bag for up to two months.

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