Monday, January 2, 2012

Chocolate Cream Puffs: National Cream Puff Day

Today is National Cream Puff Day. Cream puffs are actually one of the easiest pastries to make, and incredibly versatile. You can stuff them, top them, add flavoring to the choux and really change them up! For example, during the holidays, you can make a Croquembuche, a pyramid of cream puffs drizzled with chocolate or spun sugar. You can stuff Cream Puffs with all manner of sweet and savory fillings.

The Cream Puff is a baked puffed shell of choux pastry. In spite of the Betty Crocker Vintage Ads from the 1950s for Cream Puff mixes displayed on this page, they're really simple to make from scratch.  Following is an easy basic recipe for Cream Puffs and Chocolate Cream, as well as a non-traditional recipe for Chocolate Cream Puffs. I posted a different Chocolate Cream Puff recipe on the Croquembuche post last year, and you might want to try that recipe, too.


1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour (some people use bread flour and that will really give these a different taste and texture, give it a try)
4 eggs

Preheat Oven to 425.
1. In large pot, bring water and butter to rolling boil.
2. Stir in flour and salt until mixture forms a ball. Transfer dough to large mixing bowl.
3. Using a wooden spoon or mixer, beat in the eggs one at time, mixing well after each.
4. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.
5. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry.
6. When the shells are cool,  split and fill.
How easy is that!

Chocolate Cream Filling

14 ounces chocolate (65-85% cacao), finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar


1. Place chocolate in ttop pot of a double boiler over simmering water in lower pot (or in double boiler). Stir just until chocolate melts, then remove from heat.
2. Pour cream into bowl. Using electric mixer set on high speed, beat until soft peaks form. Add 1/4 cup sugar and beat until stiff peaks form, about 20 seconds.
3. Pour all of  melted chocolate into the whipped cream quickly, and continue to mix on high speed until evenly combined, about 1 minute.
4. Place chocolate cream in a clean pastry bag fitted with 1/2-inch plain tip. Pipe into bottoms of cooled cream puffs. Replace tops on the filled bottoms and serve immediately. Alternatively, spoon cream onto the bottoms being careful not to put too much. Of course, it looks pretty when it's piped!

Or you can make Chocolate Cream Puffs. The following recipe adds cocoa to a traditional cream puff recipe. Stuff with sweetened whipped cream. You don't need to add the sugar in the cream puff recipe, but I find the chocolate cream puffs taste a little better since there's no sugar in the cocoa. Of course, you could try this recipe with sweetened cocoa. Let me know what you think if you do that.


1 cup water
1/2 cup sweet butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons cocoa
2 tablespoons sugar
4 eggs

Preheat Oven to 400
1. Combine flour, cocoa and sugar in small bowl.
2. In heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring water, butter and salt to a boil.
3. Stir in flour, cocoa, sugar mixture, until smooth ball forms. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat until smooth and shiny.
5. Drop by heaping tablespoonfuls (golf ball size) 3 inches apart onto greased (or parchment lined) baking sheets.
6. Bake (in middle of oven) at 400 degrees F for 30-35 minutes or until set and browned.
7. Remove to wire racks. Let cool before splitting. Cool puffs completely before filling with whipped Cream, Ice Cream, or whatever!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for awakening an old memory about cream puffs and reminding me how easy and versatile they are.

When I was a French teacher I had my students make them and the smiles on their faces told me how much they enjoyed making them and later eating them.

And of course they can be made for savory dishes as well. Stuffed with crab, they make a great hors d'oeuvre.

Happy New Year!

Chele said...

S'cuse me while I lick the screen!!