My first post! If you’re reading this, welcome to Katie in her Kitchen. I can’t wait to take you along with me on this sugar-coated, food-filled adventure. So, get your aprons out and your whisks ready. We’re making cream puffs.
Cream puffs always intimidated me. They’re the kind of pastry that ambitious competitors make on TV, the ones that don’t rise in the oven so they get left off the plate. I’ve always been interested in learning how to make them, but I am a perfectionist and sometimes do not enjoy it when my baked goods don’t end up how they should. So, I stayed away.
But imagine my surprise when both my grandmothers told me that they used to make cream puffs all the time and that…. (drumroll) they’re easy?! I decided it was time to tackle my fears, so I got my grandmother’s cookbook out and got to work.
Cream puffs, or profiteroles, are filled French choux pastry balls. For this recipe, I didn’t bother with flavoring the choux pastry. My grandmother’s recipe is a simple one (photo of original recipe below) and only includes how to make the choux pastry itself. You can fill these with whipped cream, ice cream, or custards. However, I decided to make a pastry cream base so that I could play with the flavors. I chose to make vanilla, matcha, and guava because they’re flavors that my family and I love (and I also happened to have everything I needed around the house).
Some quick tips: Making the choux pastry is a quick process, so work fast. The dough should be thick and very sticky. I didn’t end up piping the choux pastry onto my baking sheet, but I found that using a spoon and my hands (again, it’s very sticky so be careful) works just as well.
As for the pastry cream: After making the base, I divided it in half and added sifted matcha powder to one. Instead of making the pastry cream guava-flavored, I decided to throw a dollop of homemade guava jelly onto the vanilla pastry cream. The mix of both helped to mellow out the bold tart flavor of the guava. The pastry cream reminds me of what I know a cream puff to be (*reminiscing about Beard Papa*), but feel free to fill them with whatever you want.
These were so much easier to make than I thought. And they rose perfectly in the oven! I could’ve jumped for joy when I cut into the first cream puff.
These are best enjoyed the same day they are assembled. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to two days. The pastry cream will start to soften the cream puff. Not ideal, but still delicious!
Vanilla, Guava, and Matcha Cream Puffs
Cream Puff Pastry
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp. matcha powder, sifted (optional)
- guava jam or jelly (optional)
Cream Puff Pastry :
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, heat water and butter over medium-low heat. Cook until boiling, stirring occassionally.
- Quickly stir in flour and salt until a dough starts to form and leaves the side of the pan. Remove from heat.
- Beat in eggs, one at a time. Ensure that the egg is well blended before moving on.
- Using a pastry bag, ice cream scoop, or spoon, drop 10 rounded balls of batter onto the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool completely.
- In a large sauce pot, combine milk and 1 tablespoon of sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer.
- Mix together cornstarch, egg yolks, and remaining sugar.
- Before milk can come to a boil, slowly add the milk mixture to the egg mixture, about 1/4 cup at a time. Whisk as you add the milk to distribute the heat and prevent the eggs from curdling. Add milk until there is about 1/4 of the mixture left in the saucepot. Pour all the egg-milk mixture back into the saucepot.
- Bring stove heat down to medium. Constantly stir mixture until the custard has thickened. Continue to mix until the custard comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
- Add butter, salt, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth.
- Divide custard into two equal parts (if you decide to flavor your pastry cream, and dependent on how many flavors you choose). Add sifted matcha powder and mix until combined.
- Line a baking sheet with two pieces of plastic wrap. Pour the hot vanilla pastry cream into one. Spread evenly into a thin layer. Cover with more plastic wrap. Do the same for the matcha pastry cream in the other piece of plastic wrap.
- Place both in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, until pastry cream has cooled to room temperature. Remove from freezer. Transfer to an airtight container and keep chilled until ready to use.
- Slice off the top 1/3 of cream puffs.
- Using a pastry bag, small cookie scoop, or spoons, fill with bottom cavity with pastry cream. If using guava jam/jelly: place a dollop on top of vanilla pastry cream.
- Place cut piece back on top of filled cream puff. Repeat with remaining cream puffs. Dust with powdered sugar.