Sunday, January 13, 2013

Cream Puffs with Vanilla Pastry Cream and Chocolate Sauce


It seems that many people have a general love of french pastries and desserts, but there also seems to be a general fear to some of making them as well. Maybe this reputation is because of their pristine perfection when made by professionals or the glistening exterior of a fruit tart, but I do try to put their difficult reputation out of my mind.

Maybe I haven't mastered macarons or learned how to properly use a pastry bag, but one thing I have learned is that pate a choux dough is wonderful and not too difficult. Granted, I've only made it three times, but I think it's super non intimidating with an amazing final result. I am so looking forward to trying different flavors of pastry creams and eclair fillings for the future.


Where many good things start, our beginning is celebrated with just water, butter and salt. After it heats for a little bit, you can add the flour. It thickens the dough, and after a while...


the dough comes together and releases from the sides of the pan.


Then, transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer.


Now is the time to add the eggs. I used all four, but you may just need three and a half or so. You can always add, but never take away.


It should be glossy and smooth.


Place the dough in a pastry bag, and pipe into small circles.


If you have any stiff peaks, just dab your fingertip in a little bit of water and press lightly on the top of each puff.


While they're baking, you can make the pastry cream.


Like the dough, adding flour is used as a thickener.


Oh look! The cream puffs are finished!


Since your puffs are baked and the pastry cream is made, you can make the chocolate sauce.


Now, take a small knife, insert into the middle of the bottom of each puff, and turn to make a small circle. Place the pastry cream in a pastry bag and fill the middle of the puffs.


For the finishing touch, dip in the chocolate sauce!


All finished, no stress.


Cream Puffs with Vanilla Pastry Cream 
from The Bouchon Bakery Cookbook, chocolate sauce from shutterbean

for the pate a choux:
1 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons (250 grams) water
4.4 oz. (125 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 + 1/8 teaspoon (2.5 grams) salt
1 cup (138 grams) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

for the vanilla pastry cream:
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (132 grams) egg yolks
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (110 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 cup + 1 1/2 tablespoons (83 grams) all-purpose flour
2 cups + 3 tablespoons (550 grams) milk
1 ounce (27 grams) unsalted butter

for the chocolate sauce:
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon butter
8 oz. semisweet chocolate
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 

To make the pate a choux, preheat the oven to 375F. Place the water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir until the butter melts. Then, increase to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the flour with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and releases from the sides of the pan. Continue to cook for an additional minute, stirring constantly.
Immediately transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Slowly add the eggs, one at a time, making sure each egg is well incorporated before adding the next. You may not need all of the eggs.
Pipe the dough onto a silpat-lined baking sheet and place in the oven. Immediately lower the oven to 350F and bake 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Allow to cool completely before filling or freezing.
To make the vanilla pastry cream, place the yolks in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add them to the bowl with the yolks. Mix on medium-low speed for about 30 seconds. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the sugar. Whisk on medium speed until the mixture lightens, about 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape the sides of the bowl and whisk on medium-high speed until the mixture is pale yellow and thick, about 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low, add the flour, and mix for about 30 seconds. On low speed, slowly pour in the milk. Mix on low speed for another minute, until combined.
Place the mixture in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir gently until it starts to thicken. Whisk until the cream comes to a simmer, scraping the bottom constantly to prevent the cream from scorching. Once bubbles begin to break the surface, cook an additional 5 minutes, whisk constantly, until the pastry cream thickens.
Pour through a strainer and whisk about 1 minutes to cool slightly. Then, whisk in the butter in 2 additions.
Pour into a bowl and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate at least an hour, or up to 4 days. When ready to use, stir gently until a creamy consistency is reached.
To make the chocolate sauce, place the heavy cream and butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Heat until bubbles form along the edges of the pan, but don't allow the mixture to boil. Add the chocolate and vanilla, remove from heat, and stir until the chocolate melts and the sauce is smooth.
To assemble the cream puffs, insert a knife into the bottom of each cream puff, rotating the blade to create a small hole. Place the vanilla pastry cream in a pastry bag and pipe into each cream puff. Dip each puff in the chocolate sauce and serve immediately. 


  1. These look totally delicious! You've reminded me that I've never made cream puffs before - I totally need to try them this year! :)

  2. These are my favourite treat but I have always been to afraid to try and make them! I love how informative this tutorial is!

  3. I'm raising my hand in fear of making things! These look adorable and must taste delicious!!!!

  4. They are seriously so easy and simple and just amazing delicious!

  5. The first time I made them was this summer and they are so much fun to make!

  6. I talk myself into and out of recipes all the time because of how difficult I think they are. I'm gradually getting better at ignoring that, but my fear still gets to me!

  7. Kayle (The Cooking Actress)January 14, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    They're so...beautiful! Cute lil delicious amazing cream puffs!

  8. Wow these look great...your choux looks perfect and I think they would be hard to resist with the chocolate sauce and pastry cream!

  9. Sometimes it's better if you're not aware of the difficulty. No preconceived notions that it's going to be hard!

  10. Your choux is perfect!! I can picture these cream puffs in the window of a Parisian patisserie. :)

  11. This is delicious! I've never made choux dough, but the filling and the coating look so appetizing that I'll give it a try ;-)
    Thanks for sharing

  12. These look perfect! I was just wondering, when you make the choux pastry, can you pipe it on to parchment paper on trays, freeze it and then bake it the next day?

  13. That sounds like it would be alright. The Bouchon Bakery cookbook actually advises on baking them and then freezing them, so I would do that. I'm not sure if you would need to stick them back in the oven after you freeze them when you're ready to fill, but you can always judge that by what your puffs look like when you take them out of the freezer!



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