Cream puffs look fancy and hard-to-make, but they’re actually a super easy dessert to make with only four ingredients you probably always have in your pantry.
Today I’m sharing my simple, easy-to-make recipe for cream puff shells from my soon to be released cookbook, Simply Sweet Dream Puffs! Cream puffs are a French pastry made with Pâte à Choux dough. You use the same dough to make cream puffs, eclairs, and profiteroles (ice cream filled cream puffs). Click here to pre-order it!
Don’t be intimidated that they’re a French pastry. I’ve created a fun, short how to make cream puffs video that will show you just how easy they are to make.
Now that you’ve seen how easy it is, I’ll break it down for you step by step with photos and additional info. So let’s get started.
First, assemble all your ingredients. As soon as your water comes to a boil, you’re going to add the flour. So have it measured and ready to use. You’ll be surprised how quickly this dough comes together.
If your eggs aren’t at room temperature, put them in a bowl of water to warm up while you’re making the dough. Your cream puffs will rise bigger if you use room temperature eggs.
Next, in a large saucepan, combine the water, butter, sugar, and salt, and bring it to a boil. Stirring the water frequently while it comes to a boil helps to melt the butter.
Once the water boils, remove it from the heat and add the flour all at once. Stir it until all the flour is incorporated, about 1 minute. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly until dough forms a smooth ball, only 1 or 2 minutes more.
The next step is adding the eggs to the dough you created on the stove. Let the dough cool for five minutes in the bowl of an electric mixer before you add the eggs.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating until each egg is incorporated and the dough is smooth. Fit a pastry bag with a plain 5/8-inch tip, folding the top of the bag down to make filling easier. Fill the bag with dough.
You don’t need to use a pastry bag to make cream puffs, you can just use an ice cream scoop or even two spoons to portion out the dough on a baking sheet.
Here’s a link to the templates I created that you can print on your home computer. Using the templates helps to space out your cream puffs so that you can fit 16 on a sheet without them touching each other.
Hold the bag vertically about 1 inch above the pan. Pipe the dough into tall cone shapes. Dip a finger in some water and smooth out any peaks. Brush the dough with an egg wash if you want them to have a golden, shiny top.
Then pop them in the oven and watch the magic happen as they puff up, turn golden brown, and create a hollow middle that’s just waiting to be filled.
You can fill them simply with whipped cream and dust them with powdered sugar. Or let your imagination run wild and fill and top them however you’d like.
Shown above are my Cherry Almond Cream Puffs, Pumpkin Pie Cream Puffs, Black Cherry Profiteroles (filled with vanilla ice cream), and Coconut Almond Cream Puffs. Pictured at the top of the post are S’mores Cream Puffs, Churro Cream Puffs, Vanilla Bean Profiteroles, Rocky Road Profiteroles, and Graham Cracker Cream Puff Shells.
Cream Puff Shells - Pâte à Choux
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- Egg Wash (optional)
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon water
Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper. Measure flour and set aside.
Bring butter, sugar, salt, and 3/4 cup water to a boil in a 3-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Immediately remove from heat, and quickly stir in flour mixture all at once. Return to heat and stir with a wooden spoon for 1 to 2 minutes, or until dough is smooth and forms a ball. Transfer dough to the bowl of an electric mixer, and let cool 5 minutes.
Add 3 eggs, 1 at a time, beating until mixture is smooth and glossy. Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip. Pipe dough onto prepared pans into 1 1/2-inch rounds (1 1/2 inches high). Smooth out peaks and round tops with a moistened finger.
Whisk together remaining 1 egg and 1 tsp. water. Brush tops of dough with egg mixture.
Bake at 425° for 5 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 375°, and bake 30 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Turn oven off; let shells stand in closed oven 10 minutes. Remove from baking sheets to wire racks, and cool completely.
You’ll find lots more great tips on making cream puffs, eclairs, and profiteroles, and all of my fun, fabulous recipes in my new cookbook, Simply Sweet Dream Puffs, available as an e-book on October 6, 2015.
I’m so proud of this cookbook. It’s a beautiful cookbook filled with fun, easy recipes. I can’t wait to share it with everyone.
You can download Simply Sweet Dream Puffs from Amazon. Amazon has a Kindle app that you can use to read e-books on almost any device, including laptops and desktop computers. You can pre-order the e-book and it will download to your Kindle app on October 6, 2015, or just wait until October 6th and download it then.