AUNT PAT’S FAMOUS CREAM PUFFS

OMG! These are so easy and so delicious that they’re aren’t enough stars for this one! I had no idea these were so simple to make – had I known that I would have been making these long before now! And what’s really great is you can fill them with just about anything and decorate them so they look pretty and very elegant – a real crowd pleaser.

You look like some sort of genious without a lot of effort. Heck you’ll have people thinkin’ your some distant cousin of Martha Stewart wtih these little babies! I followed the advice of “MommyFromSeattle” and had no trouble at all.


AUNT PAT’S FAMOUS CREAM PUFFS

Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 35 mins
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins

INGREDIENTS

Cream Puff Shells
1 cup water
½ cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

Custard Cream Filling
¾ cup sugar
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups milk, heated to warm
4 egg yolks, beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla

For the sweetened whip cream:
1 pint whipping cream
Granulated sugar to taste
Vanilla to taste
Confectioners’ sugar
Cook’s note: You will need a total of 8 eggs for this recipe, but you use 4 eggs in the cream puff shells, AND then 4 egg YOKES (yellow part only) for the custard.

INSTRUCTIONS

For the cream puff shells:
  • Place oven rack one place below middle. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Set aside a large (12 or more) muffin tin, very lightly buttered. Note: If you can, use a regular aluminum muffin pan, NOT a dark non-stick pan. The puffs will be much bigger with the regular “silver” colored pan. It’s worth investing in one of these pans, as you’ll be making these again and again.
  • In a medium sauce pan, bring water and butter to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add flour, stirring well until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating with spoon or large fork until dough is smooth. Beat additional 10 seconds to continue to increase volume of the dough.
  • Using a tablespoon, drop dough into deep muffin tins. This doesn’t have to be an exact measurement, but depending on how big you want your shells to be. Divide all the batter between 12 tins.
  • Bake shells in 400 degrees F oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Important that the puffs are golden/crisp or they may collapse. Even when they look done, I leave them in a full minute or so longer to ensure the inside is cooked well. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  • (The shells can be prepared the day before. Just lightly cover with foil when completely cooled and let sit at room temperature.)
  • Cook’s note: Ingrid just baked the shells on a baking sheet about three inches apart, but my smart aunt decided the muffin tins make a nice shape to hold the cream. Either method works, but Ingrid’s way will produce a little flatter shaped shell.

For the custard cream filling:
  • Place the 4 egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk them together and set aside.
  • Mix sugar, flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in warm milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly. Mixture will thicken and bubble. Once it starts to bubble, cook one minute more while still stirring.
  • Remove from heat. Stir about half of the mixture into beaten egg yolks.
  • Blend this back into remaining hot mixture in the saucepan. Stir constantly just until mixture begins to bubble again.
  • Add vanilla and stir until combined. Remove from heat. Set aside and let cool completely.

For the sweetened whipped cream:
  • Whip your cream using electric beaters and add sugar and vanilla to your liking.
  • Assembling the cream puffs:
  • Pour about one cup powdered sugar into a bowl to dip the cream puffs in.
  • Cut off shell tops and scoop out the insides of top and bottom to make room for the custard and whipped cream. (The insides might be a little wet, totally normal. Just pull that all out)
  • Dip the bottom of the puff into powdered sugar, then repeat with top of puff. This will coat the puffs more than dusting and gives a “French pastry” decadent look to the finished cream puffs.
  • Fill bottom of puff with Custard Cream Filling. Top generously with sweetened whipped cream.
  • Replace top of puff. Place puffs in refrigerator, uncovered, chilling for 4 hours (at least one hour). Do not cover the puffs in fridge or you run the risk of the powdered sugar disappearing. Puffs can remain in fridge overnight this way.

More notes for preparing ahead of time:

  • You may completely assemble cream puffs the night before serving, but do not cover them.
  • For transporting, place completed cream puffs back into muffin tins, cover lightly with foil and they’re ready to go!
  • Makes 12 cream puffs if made in muffin tin.