Cream Puffs or Eclairs With Vanilla Pastry Cream

READY IN: 1hr 10mins




  • 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.
  • Puffs:
  • 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.
  • For Eclairs:
  • 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.