Today I would like to bring you to the alter and have you worship homemade cream puffs. This recipe was passed down to me from my Italian grandmother. She made the best cream puffs that I can remember eating. They were huge, and glorious, and stuffed to bursting with homemade almond flavored cream that got everywhere. And it was worth every bite.
The base dough recipe that she used is basically a simplified pate a choux…or a light, airy dough that is used for cream-puffs, eclairs, etc. Delicious. Her trick though….not an ounce of flavor goes into the dough. It is literally just a vehicle for filling. And, you are definitely going to want this filling.
I make cream-puffs for parties and special occasions. They are simple and beautiful; but they are tedious. Since they are meant to be small and bite size, there is a lot of baking, filling, arranging.
They are worth every effort, however, so don’t let that put you off.
I had a birthday party this past weekend, and made these puffs two ways: sweet and savory. I love recipes that can pull double duty like that; they are wonderful (and such fun.) Today’s recipe is for the sweet cream puffs because, let’s be serious, dessert first is always the best option.
Mimi’s Cream Puffs
- Preheat the oven to 375.
- Place the butter and the water into a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Remove the pan and the dough from the stove. At this point, I like to throw the ball into an electric mixer and turn it on. Then add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.
- Using the two spoon method, or 1 inch cookie scoop, scoop out portions of dough onto a lined baking sheet.
- Bake the puffs at 375 for 30 minutes.
- Cool completely before filling.
Almond cream filling
Now you can do this two ways. You can make your own pastry cream, and flavor it with almond, which is what I usually do. The recipe from The Kitchn is a good one. But, if you’re pressed for time, or don’t feel like picking up the daunting task of making your own, you can do what my grandmother did….use a pudding mix. It comes out great, and that’s really all that matters.
I’m giving you the recipe for the lazy version.
2 boxes instant pudding mix, (I use vanilla usually, but you can change that depending on what flavor you want your filling to be)
2 1/2 c milk
2 tsp almond extract
1 container of cool whip (8 oz)
Assembling the puffs
After filling a frosting bag with the cream filling, you can fill the puffs as follows:
- Cut the tops off of the pasty, fill with cream, and replace the tops. Place on the serving dish.
- Puncture the bottom of the puff with the metal tip of the frosting bag, fill with cream, place on the serving dish.
- Puncture the bottom/side/top of the puff with your thumb and fill with the cream. Place on the serving dish.