Pipe the dough onto your baking sheets. I swirled the dough into a 2″ circle, and got 16 cream puffs from this recipe. You can make smaller puffs or eclairs, but you’ll have to adjust your cooking time. Keep in mind that the dough will triple in size, so leave plenty of room between puffs. Wet your finger and smooth the top of the puff – the ‘curli-cues’ that you create when piping will burn, so you want to smooth them down.
Baking time will vary depending on the size of your puffs. I baked mine for 20 minutes and they were pretty close – they probably could’ve baked another 5 minutes. When your puffs are a medium brown color, you want to take them out. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN while they are cooking. Just don’t do it.
When the puffs are done, immediately slash into each of them with a sharp knife. I would recommend a top slash, as this is also the hole you’ll want to pipe your filling into. A top slash will prevent your cream from oozing out. (Although oozing pastry cream is not a bad thing. Trust me.) This slash lets out the steam and prevents the inside from getting soggy. You can then return the puffs to the oven for a few minutes. To ensure there will be no sogginess whatsoever, some people cut open the puffs and let them dry out a bit in the oven, but I sort of like some softness inside so omitted this step. I put mine back in the oven and propped the door open for 45 minutes.
Once cool and dry to your liking, you’re ready to fill!
Pastry Cream Ingredients:
3/4 cup sugar (I recommend baker’s/ultrafine sugar)
1/4 cup flour (white, all-purpose)
1 and 1/2 cups milk (I used whole)
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 large egg yolks, lightly beaten.
1 and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, extra cold
In a small/medium bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Set aside, next to your stove top for tempering.
Whisk together sugar, flour and salt to combine. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine sugar/flour/salt mixture and milk, and begin stirring. Stir constantly for about 10 minutes, or until mixture thickens and boils. Once boiling, mixture should be thick. Boil for one minute more, stirring the whole time.
Temper the egg mixture – add 1/2 cup (or so) of your hot milk to your egg yolks. Whisk to combine completely. Add another 1/2 cup of hot milk to eggs again. Whisk to combine again. Then, add the EGG mixture back to the MILK mixture on the stove and return to medium heat. Stir/whisk constantly until mixture thickens. You’ll know it’s thick enough when it coats the back of a spoon completely and holds it’s shape for 15 minutes.
Once mixture is thickened, transfer to a bowl to refrigerate. Cover the cream with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic right on top of the cream to avoid a skin. This mixture needs to be refrigerated 2+ hours.
Once refrigerated, whip your whipping cream. Fold the whipping cream into the pastry cream until light and fluffy. If you have lumps, you can force the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve, but then you need to re-refrigerate the mixture another 30 minutes before filling. Put mixture into a pastry bag with a 1/4″ tip for piping into choux. Find the slash you made before and fill ‘er up!
12 oz bag dark chocolate
3/4 cup whipping cream
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and softened
In a double boiler, heat whipping cream until steaming hot but not boiling. Add chocolate and remove from heat. Whisk chocolate and cream together until smooth. Add softened butter and continue whisking until butter is melted and ganache is shiny.
Use a spoon to dollop the chocolate on top of filled choux pastry, and smooth slightly with back of spoon. Refrigerate finished pastry until well-chilled and ready to eat.