On Sunday evening I had a HUGE craving for Oreos. Since I didn’t have any, I thought about making some homemade Oreos. This led to a yearning to try to make éclairs. After searching online for recipes, I finally decided on making some cream puffs. They ended up being the most delicious thing I have ever made, so I highly recommend it!
First, I made some vanilla pastry cream. I had to combine a few different recipes I found due to lack of ingredients, so here is what I came up with:
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 2 cups Heavy Cream
- ½ cup Sugar
- Pinch Salt
- 5 Egg Yolks
- 3 tablespoons Cornstarch
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) Unsalted Butter
- 1 ½ teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
To begin with, heat the heavy cream and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until creamy. Add the cornstarch to the egg mixture and whisk until the mixture has thickened (it doesn’t really thicken that much, but turns a nice light yellow color).
When the half and half begins to simmer, remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pot and place over medium heat. Whisk constantly until the mixture has thickened and bubbles start to form on the surface, about 2-5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Continue to whisk occasionally as it cools down (just enough to keep it smooth). Press plastic wrap directly on the surface, and place in the refrigerator to chill completely, at least 2 hours (you could probably keep it like this overnight if you wanted to make it ahead and add it to the puffs later).
My next step was to make the pâte à choux (french pastry dough used for éclairs, cream puffs, and all sorts of other delicious things.
My first attempt was miserable. This is what my cream puffs looked like when they got out of the oven:
Sad, right? The only thing I did differently between the two batches (that I can tell) is I did not use a wooden spoon to beat the eggs in. That sounds totally ridiculous, but seriously using my metal spoon when I was beating the eggs in I made it super runny!
So… use a wooden spoon!
Pâte à Choux
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
In a medium saucepan combine water, butter, and salt. Bring to boiling. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition.
Drop dough by 12 heaping tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 degree for 30-35 minutes or till golden. Don’t open the oven to check on your puffs while baking or they will fall flat!!!
After your puffs have cooled, cut them in half most of the way, and scoop about 2 tablespoons of your pastry cream into the puff (if you made 12, you’ll end up with the perfect amount of pastry cream).