17-15: Cream Puffs

Looking to impress? Or maybe you’ve been watching a lot of those baking shows while on lockdown and you think you’re ready for some of the “tougher” stuff. Well, here’s a good one for you to test your skills.

I made 17-15: Cream Puffs for Thanksgiving last year (TGV 2019), but haven’t written about it until now. Cream puffs feature pâte à choux, which is the puffy, airy dough that you also find in éclairs. We made profiteroles when I worked at a restaurant a few years ago, and it’s essentially the same thing.

Simply Delicious suggests you can fill your cream puffs with vanilla or whipped cream–the most traditional ones also feature pastry cream (crème pâtissière).

The ones we served at the restaurant I worked at were filled with house-made, hand-scooped ice cream that were (sometimes) baked and (often) assembled by yours truly and then drizzled with a chocolate glaze like these. It was one of those trendy gastro-brew pubs that made the beer onsite and had many beardy/tattooed gentlemen working there, so you can imagine the rest of the menu and atmosphere. At least we served most of it on a normal plate. #wewantplates

Two things I want to point out here that are IMPORTANT if you are just skimming through for the recipe and ignoring all of what I’m writing (hopefully not this part):

  • Step 1: They mean it when they say DO NOT let it boil.
  • Step 5: They mean it when they say DO NOT open the door while baking.

Ingredients. If I were doing this for impressing/testing my skills, I’d skip their suggestions for the fillings and make real pastry cream instead. Since I made this for Thanksgiving and I had enough things going on in the kitchen already, I stuck with the suggested instant vanilla pudding, supplemented by some dairy-free whip instead of the real stuff.

Starting the choux pastry dough.

This is what the ball stage looks like that they mention in Step 2. Note my use of the suggested wooden spoon.

Adding in the eggs, one at a time. Make sure you are NOT still on the heat, or you are going to have very weird scrambled eggs. Quick peek of my homemade stuffing in the background.

They advise dropping the dough onto a greased baking sheet by spoonfuls in Step 4, but I can’t in good conscience do that when I know that true profiteroles are piped with a bag. I said I wasn’t getting fancy, but there’s no excuse to be sloppy. If you don’t have pastry bags, a gallon Ziploc bag with the corner cut off works JUST fine.

My profiteroles could use some work, but I still feel like they’ll be better than just lumps.

After baking (and without opening the door). I probably could have let them go maybe one minute longer, but they go so fast I didn’t want to risk it.

Cooling on the rack. Definitely not an ad for Costco plastic wrap, but that stuff really is good.

Now, full disclosure–I stopped here on Thanksgiving and never finished them that night because we ended up with a ton of desserts, one of those being 16-49: Chocolate-Glazed Raspberry Tart. I bagged up the puffs and waited a week or two to make the rest of the recipe.

Fast forward…..and play.

Pudding after it set up. You can tell by the test scoop along the side. The whipped cream was long gone (along with the guests), so the filling will be pudding only.

Melting the chocolate and butter in a rigged-up “double boiler”.

. Pudding-stuffed puff.

Not a great look, but I’m just trying to drag this thing over the finish line at this point.

Puffs have their tops on, and the glaze is almost finished.

Final picture, just to make sure it was all worth it. They were still good (even after a week), and that plate didn’t last too long after I took this picture.

Grade: A