Cream Puffs are a classic french pastry. The airy baked shell is filled with sweetened whip cream. It is rather simple to make but the result looks like a special little treasure.
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The shells are made from a dough called pate a choux. It is cooked twice, once on the stove and then once in the oven. The dough can also be used to make eclairs. It may seem like a lot of steps but they are really hard to mess up.
They can be filled in a variety of ways such as ice cream or Bavarian cream. Simply topped with a dusting of powdered sugar or melted chocolate. My recipe for the lemony whipped cream fluff from this recipe for Lemon Blackberry Cupcakes makes a good filling too.
With Easter around the corner, I decorated these cream puffs with melted chocolate, mini chocolate eggs, tiny meringue kisses, and sprinkles. The filling is a chocolate whipped cream with a surprise dollop of creme egg filling. You know those yummy chocolate eggs with creme in the middle. The creme filling is actually super easy to make and is a perfect complement to these Easter cream puffs.
Make the pate a choux
Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees. Next, in a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 4 tablespoons of butter with a half cup of water. Cook until the butter is completely melted and the mixture is just boiling. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in a pinch of salt and half cup of flour. When completely combined, place the pan back on the stove. Stirring constantly continue to cook, until the dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Remove the pan from the heat again and allow to rest and cool for about 5 minutes.
Time for the arm workout. I mean time to add the eggs. Add in 3 eggs one at a time stirring vigorously. It will look like a mess but it will come back together. It takes a bit of arm strength. For help, you can transfer the dough to an electric mixer before adding the eggs. I would just rather not dirty another bowl so I just mix right in the pan.
Transfer the dough to a piping bag and pipe about 12 dollops of dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment or a Silpat. To smooth the tops, dip your (clean) finger in water and then gently smooth the top. The water will keep the dough from sticking to you. Bake in a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes.
They will come out of the oven all puffy and golden. And you will want to eat them right then because they are so cute. Patience though. We have to fill them and fancy them up. Allow them to cool completely before filling them.
Make the Fillings
For the chocolate whipped cream, whisk together 1 cup heavy whipping cream, 3 tablespoons cocoa powder, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. Transfer to a piping bag to make it easier to fill the puffs.
For the creme egg filling, cream together 1 1/2 tablespoon corn syrup, 1 1/2 tablespoon butter, and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Then slowly whisk in 1 cup of powdered sugar. You can leave the filling white but I wanted it to look like the inside of the egg so I colored it yellow.
Assemble and Decorate the cream puffs
Now there are two ways to fill them…push a filling tip into the bottom or side and fill them. Or the easy way which I chose of course. Slice them in half and fill them like a sandwich.
After I sliced them in half and before filling them, I decorated the tops. To go along with the Easter theme, I dipped them in melted pink chocolate and randomly added sprinkles and easter mini eggs and some tiny meringue kisses. Then set them aside to let the chocolate harden.
You do not have to decorate the tops like this. Don’t let that hold you back from making these treats. I just wanted something a little fancy for Easter. They can be just dipped in chocolate or even a simple light dusting of powdered sugar is pretty.
When the tops were set, I piped the chocolate whipped cream onto the bottoms. And followed that with a little spoonful of the creme egg filling in the middle. Then placed the top back on.
However you fill or decorate these little puffs, they will certainly be delicious. Now go get your Cream Puff on!