Growing up, my mom always made us Choux à la Crème – the fancy french version of cream puffs. In fact, I’m pretty sure my mom was eating them throughout her pregnancy. One day she thought she was having cramps from eating these delectable mini puffs, but turns out, they were contractions. No wonder I adore them, I was eating them in my mother’s tummy!
My first attempt at the chou pastry was a huge fail. They turned out dense, didn’t puff up, and just entertainment for me and my girlfriends. Turns out, I was doing it all wrong until I found the recipe from Joy of Baking and hooray! They turned out beautifully and just as delicious as they look. I can’t wait to pass down the tradition of Choux à la Crème to my kids one day 🙂
Choux à la Crème
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup (4TBS) unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/4 TSP granulated sugar
- 1/8 TSP salt
- 2~3 eggs, lightly beaten
- Preheat oven to 400F
- On heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine water and butter over medium heat. When the mixture starts bubbling, remove from heat and add all the sifted flour, sugar, and salt.
- Stir with wooden spoon – the mixture should come together pretty easily into a dough.
- Over medium heat, stir the mixture until the dough forms into a ball. Transfer dough to a bowl and use the wooden spoon or hand mixer to release the steam and cool the dough.
- When the dough is lukewarm, start adding the eggs little by little. At first, the mixture might seem to separate, but keep stirring and the it’ll turn into a batter. The mixture should be a thick, smooth paste with slight elasticity. When you scoop up the batter, it should slowly ooze and drop back into the bowl in a “tear shape.” Use two eggs at first, if the batter seems to dry, whisk up a third egg and slowly add to the batter until you get the right consistency.
- Pour the batter in a piping bag (or a heavy duty ziplock bag and cut off the corner) and pipe on the pans.
- Brush on some leftover egg on the surface.
- Put in the oven. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. The will end up puffing up!
- Lower the temperature to 350F and bake for an extra 30~40 minutes, until the outside becomes a nice amber color.
- Leave the oven door slightly open and let the choux dry out for 10~15 minutes. Then put the choux on cooling racks to completely cool.
You can fill your cream puffs with whip cream, but I grew up eating them with a custard filling.
- 3 cups (750 ml) milk
- 3 eggs
- 3/4 cup (175 ml) granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup (50 ml) all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. (15 ml) cornstarch
- 2 tbsp. butter (25 ml)
- 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla (7 ml)
- 2 cups (500 ml) whipping cream
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat milk until it starts steaming. Meanwhile, in a bowl, whisk together eggs, sugar, flour and cornstarch; gradually pour in milk in a thin stream, whisking constantly. Return mixture to a clean pan. Cook over medium heat, whisking until the mixture thickens into a custard cream. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla.
- Pour into bowl; place waxed paper (I just used saran wrap) directly on surface to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool (at least 4 hours). Whip cream, gently fold into pastry cream with spatula just until combined.
Cut the choux pastry in half and fill with the Crème filling. Sounds like a lot of work, but truly, it’s not and they are oh so delicious.