Cream Puffs or Eclairs With Vanilla Pastry Cream
My husband is not a big fan of cake, so for his birthday each year, I make cream puffs for him. He loves these so much, I have to make sure he only eats one or two at a time so he doesn't make himself sick! There are several cream puff recipes out there, but this vanilla pastry cream is a bit different from the others and it's really wonderful. Prep time does not include 2 hours chilling of pastry cream. From the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook.
- Ready In:
- 1hr 10mins
- 1⁄2 cup butter
- 1 cup water
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 3⁄4 cup sugar
- 1⁄4 cup flour
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1⁄2 cups milk
- 6 egg yolks
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1⁄2 cups heavy cream
semisweet chocolate glaze (or just dust with powdered sugar)
- 2 semi-sweet chocolate baking squares
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 3 tablespoons milk
Make vanilla pastry cream:
- In 2 quart saucepan, combine sugar, flour and salt; stir in milk.
- Over medium heat, cook, stirring until mixture thickens and boils, about 10 minutes.
- Boil 1 minute.
- In a small bowl with fork, beat 6 egg yolks slightly.
- Beat small amount of heated milk mixture into yolks.
- Slowly pour egg mixture back into milk mixture, stirring.
- Cook over medium low heat, stirring till mixture thickens and coats spoon well, about 8 minutes (do not boil).
- To check thickness, lift metal spoon from mixture and hold up 15 seconds - spoon should not show through mixture.
- Remove from heat; stir in vanilla.
- At this point I usually put this custard through a strainer to get out any lumpy cooked egg pieces.
- Cover surface with plastic wrap, and chill well, about 2 hours.
- When custard is cool, in a small bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat heavy/whipping cream till stiff peaks form.
- With a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into custard.
- Spray 1 or 2 large cookie sheets with nonstick spray. Heat oven to 375.
- In 2 qt saucepan over medium heat, heat butter, water and salt till butter mixture boils.
- Remove from heat.
- Add flour all at once. With a wooden spoon, vigorously stir until mixture forms a ball and leaves sides of pan.
- Add eggs to the flour mixture, one at a time, beating well after each addition, till smooth.
- Cool mixture slightly.
- Using a large spoon and rubber spatula, drop batter onto cookie sheets int 12 large mounds, 3 inches apart, swirling the top of each.
- (for eclairs, instead of mounds, spread the choux paste into 5" by 3/4" rectangles).
- Bake 50 minutes (this is what the original recipe says - however, I NEVER bake them that long - more like 35 minutes - go by your own oven - if they're looking puffed and browned and dry, they're probably done).
- At this point, remove from oven, cut a small slit in the side of each puff and return to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Turn off oven and let dry for 5-10 minutes (I don't usually do this and it doesn't seem to matter too much).
- When puffs are cool, slice top off of each - there will probably be some webby looking soft dough inside - carefully pull this out to make it hollow.
- Fill each shell with the chilled pastry cream.
- Replace top and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Go through the same process, but top with semisweet chocolate glaze: In saucepan, melt 2 squares semisweet chocolate and 2 T butter, stirring constantly (or heat briefly in the microwave to melt) Stir in 1 cup powdered sugar and 3 T milk till smooth.
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Because the filling is a too thin for my taste, I added about a teaspoon of cornstarch which worked well to thicken it up. If it's still too thin, then just add a bit more cornstarch but don't say it's too thin if you've only had it in there for a minute. Just mix it thoroughly first and let the cornstarch do its job of thickening the cream. Also, remember that you're chilling the mixture afterwards so it will thicken even more.Reply
So yummy! I didn't have to strain the filling. If you temper the egg yolks really well and then whisk them in, you shouldn't have any lumps. My son likes a more custardy filling, but my niece and my husband said these are the best cream puffs they've ever had. I think I may have under-baked the puffs a bit, but it didn't matter at all. Excellent recipe!Reply
Thank you, this recipe made me a superstar at a recent progressive dinner where I was in charge of dessert! I doubled the recipe and made half cream puffs and the other half larger and drizzled with chocolate. I got so many compliments and there was not one left. I had extras and found that I can easily freeze both the pastry and the cream. this is due to the fact that your recipe calls for flour instead of cornstarch. Your directions were fantastic as I had never made these before. Thanks again, this is definitely a keeper! I plan to make them again for Christmas.2Reply
Thank you, this recipe made me a superstar at a recent progressive dinner where I was in charge of dessert! I doubled the recipe and made half cream puffs and the other half larger and drizzled with chocolate. I got so many compliments and there was not one left. I had extras and found that I can easily freeze both the pastry and the cream. this is due to the fact that your recipe calls for flour instead of cornstarch. Your directions were fantastic as I had never made these before. Thanks again, this is definitely a keeper! I plan to make them again for Christmas.Reply