Sunday, February 28, 2010

Puffed Up: Cream Puffs

I was browsing through the recipes and came across the recipe for cream puffs. I've always thought the puff shells were difficult to make, but after looking through the recipe and youtube videos, I realised it's not that difficult after all. Thankfully, my sister was interested in the making and eating of these puffs, so I got her to help out.

The choux pastry was made by first boiling the butter and water mixture, then the flour was added and stirred till it forms a ball. The dough was allowed to cooled for a few minutes before the eggs were add gradually while stirring. It was that easy. But the most tedious part was what follows.

The dough was very sticky, thus piping it was very messy, and it didn't help that I did not have a piping bag and had to use a ziploc bag which has a high tendency to split. In the end, we used a spoon instead, and it worked very well indeed.
We wanted to make eclairs initially, but gave up after the ziploc bag gave way. The baking time for each batch of puff is quite long. High temperature for the first 15 minutes, followed by lowering the temperature and baking for another 20-30 mins. My oven is so small, we had to bake it in 3 batches.

Mini eclair filled with fresh whipped cream and topped with melted chocolate and butter mixture.
The spooned batter baked to become a puff. We were not very generous with the filling due to concerns over fat content.

I love the cracks on the shells, and it's really interesting to see it puffed up when in the oven. But I'm not a fan of whipped cream. Perhaps I can make my own pastry cream next time, or better still, make durian puffs!

Anyway, lesson learnt in this session: Get a proper piping bag.

Ingredients (makes 12):
Choux Pastry:
70 g flour
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
55 g unsalted butter
120 ml water
2 eggs, lightly beaten

200 ml whipping cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

50 g semi-sweet chocolate
20 g unsalted butter

Choux Pastry:
  1. Preheat oven to 210 deg C. Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. In a bowl sift together the flour, sugar and salt. Set aside
  3. Place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, quickly add the flour mixture. Return to heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about a minute or two).
  5. Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and beat on low speed a minute or two to release the steam from the dough.
  6. Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the lightly beaten eggs gradually and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste.
  7. Spoon or pipe 12 mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart. Spray the tops with water to help the dough to rise better.
  8. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 180 deg C.
  9. Bake for a further 30 to 40 minutes or until the shells are a nice amber color and when split, are dry inside.
  10. Turn the oven off and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells dry out for a further 10 - 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.
Filling and Topping:
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whip the cream till soft peaks form. Add icing sugar and vanilla extract and whip till stiff.
  2. Melt chocolate with butter and let cool slightly.
To Assemble:
  1. Split the pastry shells in half and pipe with whipped cream.
  2. Spread melted chocolate on top of the puffs or alternatively, dust with icing sugar instead.
Adapted from Joyofbaking Cream Puffs.


  1. i like the 'lesson learnt' in every session =)

  2. As a novice baker, there are so many things to learn, and one way to learn is by the hard way: failures.