Mmm.  If I had to pick a favorite pastry, creme puffs would be in the top running.
There is something about their light, fluffy poof and cream
That creates a sort of denial of the calories they contain.
It's like the pillowy puff will allow you so much less guilt, than any richer dessert.

I've been a fan of creme puffs for years, and have literally tried my hand at them 
Ever since I was like 13 or 14.  A long time, folks.
But this past Christmas, I made some that just reminded me all over again, Why I love them so much.

I did these for a banquet, and easily doubled and even tripled the recipe with great results.  If this is your first go
at creme puffs, then I'd suggest you start with just the basic amounts before you get too crazy about going for doubles or more.  It will blow your mind how very simple they are to mix and bake.

Here is the recipe:
  • Puff Shells
  • 1 C water
  • ½ C butter (1 stick)
  • 1 C all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • Custard  
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 C warm milk
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Sweet Cream:
  • 1 pint heavy whipping cream
  • Granulated sugar to taste
  • Vanilla to taste
  1. For the shells:
  2.  Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Set aside a large (12 or more) muffin tin, very lightly buttered.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, bring water and butter to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add flour, stirring well until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating with spoon or large fork until dough is smooth. Beat additional 10 seconds to continue to increase volume of the dough.
  4. Using a tablespoon, drop dough into deep muffin tins. Divide all the batter between 12 tins. You can also divide the dough by TBfuls onto a cookie sheet, for less puffy, more spread out, shells.
  5. Bake shells in 400 degrees oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Important that the puffs are golden/crisp or they may collapse. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  6. (The shells can be prepared the day before. Just lightly cover when completely cooled and let sit at room temperature.)
  7. For the custard cream filling:
  8. Place the 4 egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk them together and set aside.
  9. Mix sugar, flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in warm milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly. Mixture will thicken and bubble. Once it starts to bubble, cook one minute more while still stirring.
  10. Remove from heat. Stir about half of the mixture into beaten egg yolks.
  11. Blend this back into remaining hot mixture in the saucepan. Stir constantly just until mixture begins to bubble again.
  12. Add vanilla and stir until combined. Remove from heat. Set aside.
  13. For the sweetened cream:
  14. Whip heavy cream until soft peaks form, and add sugar and vanilla to your liking.
  15. Assembling the cream puffs:
  16. Cut off shell tops and scoop out the insides of top and bottom to make room for the custard and whipped cream.  Often the puff is so full of air inside, there will be a natural indentation and you won't need to do this step.
  17. Dip the bottom of the puff into powdered sugar, then repeat with top of puff. This will coat the puffs  and gives a "French pastry"  look.
  18. Fill bottom of puff with Custard Filling. Top generously with the whipped cream.
  19. Replace top of puff. Place puffs in refrigerator, uncovered, chilling for 4 hours (at least one hour). Do not cover the puffs in fridge or the powdered sugar will disintegrate into the puff. 
Makes about 12 cream puffs if made in muffin tin.

These cream puffs make an excellent carrier for chicken salad, tuna, eclaire fillings, fresh fruit and cream, and the list is almost endless.

*On a side note: I have no idea why the French word for cream puff is sometimes Profiterole.  All I can think of when I read that is: Profit and roll.  Elementary, I know.  I'm just thinking that if I had a restaurant, I'd be making creme puffs to make a profit-roll too.  (I'm not even sure that I should be laughing at myself right now either-major eye roll)

laissez les bons temps rouler!

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