Cream Puffs and Éclairs: puff & stuff

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About a month ago, I posted the following question on our King Arthur Flour Facebook wall:

“Question: Have you, would you, or are you interested in making cream puffs, chocolate éclairs, and/or profiteroles (ice cream-stuffed puffs)?”

I expected a moderate response. I mean, cream puffs and éclairs aren’t the most au courant dessert these days. Compared to cupcakes, they’re positively old school.

Well, guess what? Our Facebook followers, which I know include a lot of you, dear readers, are apparently not averse to “old school.”

Over 1,000 of you responded in the affirmative: YES, bring those cream puffs on!

Which positively warms my heart.

Maybe it’s the fact I’m a Wisconsin native, and the cream puff – to be exact, the dinner-plate-sized, stuffed-with-about-a-quart-of-whipped-cream cream puff – is, as of last July, the state’s official dessert.

Which makes sense, given Wisconsin’s license-plate moniker: The Dairy State.

Bet you didn’t know that that over 400,000 puffs are sold each year at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Or that at that fair last October, the Guinness record for World’s Largest Cream Puff was set by the Wisconsin Bakers Association. Big Choux to Fill will tell you all about this 125.6-lb. puff; the headline alone is worth its weight in gold (ink).

But you know the very best part about cream puffs – and their pastry-cream-filled counterpart, chocolate éclairs?

They’re just so gosh-darned easy to make.

Nothing fancy; no tricks. Just good, simple ingredients – and lots of cream.

What’s not to like?

If you haven’t made cream puffs in awhile, dig out your favorite recipe and get going.

If you’ve never made cream puffs – read on. Before you know it, you’ll be making not only cream puffs, but chocolate éclairs and ice cream profiteroles: three siblings under the same (pastry) skin.

Let’s start with the pastry shells, made from all-purpose puff paste, a.k.a. choux paste (“Big Choux to Fill” – HA!).

Now, before we begin: note that the following pastry recipe will make 12 cream puffs OR 12 éclairs. The filling recipes (one for whipped cream, one for pastry cream) make enough for 12 pastries each. The chocolate icing recipe makes enough for 12 éclairs.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

Combine the following in a saucepan set over medium heat:

1 cup water
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/8 teaspoon salt

Heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.

Remove the pan from the heat, and add 1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour all at once, stirring vigorously.

Return the pan to the burner and cook over medium heat, stirring all the while, until the mixture smooths out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than a minute.

Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It’ll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the temperature should be below 125°F.

Transfer the mixture to a mixer, and beat in 4 large eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl as needed.

The mixture will look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for at least 2 minutes after adding the last egg. See how silky it gets?

Using a generously filled tablespoon cookie scoop, or a level muffin scoop, drop the thick batter onto the prepared baking sheets in 3- to 4-tablespoon mounds.

The muffin scoop will make slightly larger puffs; either tool is a good choice. If you have neither, drop the dough from a wet spoon.

Space the mounds about 3″ apart, to allow for expansion.

Bake the puffs for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 25 minutes, until they’re a medium golden brown. Don’t open the oven door while the puffs are baking; like popovers, they may fall a bit.

Remove the pastries from the oven.

Make a small slit in the top of each, and return them to the oven for 5 minutes, to allow the steam to escape.

Place them on a rack to cool. When they’re cool enough to handle, split each in half to make top and bottom pieces; splitting and exposing the centers to air will help keep them from becoming soggy.

And now, as the puffs cool – a word from our sponsor. If you want to prepare the whipped cream filling for these puffs ahead of time, it’s a good idea to use whipped cream stabilizer, which helps whipped cream hold its shape.

The puffs in the back were filled with stabilized whipped cream. In front, cream that was whipped without stabilizer, then refrigerated overnight. See the difference?

OK, back to the recipe.

Pour 1 pint heavy or whipping cream into a mixing bowl, and begin to whip it on high speed (using your mixer’s whisk attachment, if you have one).

Gradually pour in 1/4 cup granulated sugar (or to taste) as the cream whips. If you’re whipping cream more than a few hours ahead of time, mix 1/4 cup whipped cream stabilizer with the sugar before adding.

Whip cream until stiff, but be careful not to over-whip; it should still look smooth.

Fill each puff with about 1/3 cup whipped cream.

Yes, this is quite a lot; we Wisconsinites love our whipped cream!

Sift confectioners’ sugar over the puffs, and serve.

OK, I hear you – “I want to make these ahead of time…”

Make the shells, and store them at room temperature, lightly covered; they’ll stay pretty good for a few days. If you can’t use them within a few days, don’t split them in half after baking; place cooled puffs on a baking sheet, and freeze. Transfer to airtight storage of some kind, and freeze for no longer than a few weeks.

Your best bet is to whip the cream no more than several hours ahead of time, unless you stabilize it with whipped cream stabilizer, as mentioned above; in that case, it can be whipped a couple of days ahead.

Thaw frozen puffs at room temperature, uncovered. They won’t be as crisp as they were when freshly baked; if desired, refresh them in a 350°F oven, lightly covered with foil, for about 10 minutes.

Fill puffs with whipped cream just before serving. If you can’t manage that – fill no more than several hours ahead, and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Now, how about chocolate éclairs?

Same pastry, different shape; different filling, added icing.

Pipe the puff batter onto a parchment-lined or lightly greased baking sheet. Make 5″ logs about 1/2″ to 3/4″ in diameter.

To shape éclairs without a pastry bag, place a sandwich bag into a glass, to hold it securely upright as you fill it. Roll the bag’s edge over the rim of the glass, to hold it in place.

Spoon the batter into the bag. Cut off one corner of the bag, making a 1/2″ cut. Squeeze the batter onto the baking sheet through the hole in the corner.

Bake éclairs the same way you would puffs; see oven temperature and baking time above.

To make the éclair filling, prepare your favorite pastry cream. You’ll need about 3 cups of filling.

While homemade pastry cream is delicious, I have to admit to taking an easy shortcut 99% of the time: jazzed-up instant pudding.

Pour 3 cups milk into a bowl (the higher-fat the milk, the richer the filling; I often use half & half or even light cream).

Add the contents of 2 regular-size boxes of vanilla instant pudding mix (sugar-free is fine), plus 2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Beat until thick, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Spoon the filling into the split éclair shells.

To make the icing, place 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped semisweet chocolate and 1/2 cup heavy or whipping cream in a small saucepan or microwave-safe bowl or cup.

Heat over low heat (or in the microwave) until the cream is very hot. Remove from the heat, and stir until the chocolate melts and the icing is smooth.

Spoon over the éclairs, spreading to the edges.

Serve immediately; or refrigerate for up to several hours.

Now, how about profiteroles? Fill cream puff shells with ice cream, and drizzle with the sauce of your choice; chocolate is traditional.

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Cream Puffs and Eclairs.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. Tonia

    Cookie scoop for the cream puff!!!! Excellent idea! Thank you! Oh, and a lovely idea for cream puffs that a local bakery (alas, no longer in business, closed after 20+ years) used to do is put a little raspberry jam on the bottom before filling with whipped cream; very yummy! :-)

    Now there’s inspiration, Tonia – love it! One of our Facebook fans from the Netherlands commented on our wall this morning that over there, the puffs are served with fresh berries. Do I see an international theme here? :) PJH

    Reply
  2. sandra Alicante

    Yum, I love them, may make them for an afternoon tea with friends soon.
    My favourite way of doing them is to fill with ice cream, and I like milk chocolate on top! Over here, I have to make them myself or find if I buy them, that there is alcohol in the filling, yuck!

    Milk chocolate sauce – that’s a nice change from dark chocolate, Sandra, isn’t it? I love caramel sauce on profiteroles (ice cream filled puffs), too. Thanks for sharing – PJH

    Reply
  3. Nene Adams

    For New Years Eve here in the Netherlands, I make a batch of choux paste and add a finely chopped apple, then drop by tablespoons into very hot (not smoking) oil. Remove when brown on both sides, and straight into cinnamon sugar. The traditional holiday treat is a fried dough called an oliebol (oil ball, literally) – I find these much lighter. I imagine you could do something savory, too, like add shredded cheese.

    Nene

    Nene, our “200th Anniversary Cookbook” has a recipe for “olie bollen” – bet it’s basically the same thing, but I love the addition of the chopped apple. I’m going to have to try that come fall. Thanks! PJH

    Reply
  4. sohn

    Mmmm. I have to bake something for my last class of the year (hurray!) tomorrow and I was trying to figure out what. This will impress all the students…Thanks! I enjoy your blog immensely–a great way to start off the day!

    Very celebratory indeed – I’m sure all concerned will enjoy this. Congratulations on your last class! PJH

    Reply
  5. erinhibshman

    “It’s my birthday and I’ll bake what I want to, bake what I want to…” What a great treat to see this recipe step by step! I know just what I am going to bake for my birthday dinner with family! I am thinking eclairs, with some fresh strawberries from my in-law’s garden – YUMMY!

    “You would bake too, if it [a birthday] happened to you!” Hey, I’m with you – éclairs with strawberries sound like the perfect birthday treat. Happy b-day, Erin! :) PJH

    Happy puff day to you…Happy puff day to you…Happy PUFF day dear Erin…Happy puff day to you!!!! <3 ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. jcanfiel

    I used to make cream puffs and profiteroles all the time – not sure why I stopped! My mother gave me a recipe for a Kahlua Paris-Brest that had Kahlua and crushed Heath in the filling – it was delicious. Or I would just do a ring and fill the center of the hole with fresh strawberries and do a chocolate glaze on top. So easy to make and so impressive looking. I might have to visit my cream puffs again soon. Though I will be visiting with choux paste this weekend to make churros for Cinco de Mayo!
    Love the Kahlua idea, betting the Heath filling gets nice and half-melty, half-crunchy too. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  7. Tippywi

    Thank you for posting this recipe. I didn’t know about putting them back into the oven after piercing to release the steam. I used to make the Puffs a long time ago. Maybe it’s time I made them again. :>)) We Wisconsin folks love our dairy.

    Happy Birthday Erin! Mine was yesterday!! :>))

    Happy Belated Puff Day to you too Tippy! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  8. kfreshwater

    I used to make cream puffs when my kids were small and they are now in their 40′s and 50′s, I think it’s time to make them again. Hmmm, i think I used chocolate pudding and chocolate icing. That was a VERY long time ago. Thanks for the memories.
    Chocolate and chocolate? DEFINITELY time to make them again! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  9. Lisa P

    If I wanted to make them smaller and more bite size is it as easy as just plopping a smaller size on the sheet before baking? I want to make these for a wedding shower and the ‘ladies’ will pretend smaller is better. :)
    You can absolutely make them bite sized. Try putting the batter in a strong ziplock bag and snipping off one corner. You can then pipe little daubs onto your baking sheet. ~MaryJane

    Reply
  10. mumpy

    my gang loves these – in either style….but we also love them made bite-sized (use a teaspoon cookie scoop) and filled with savory stuff like crab dip…best appetizer imaginable….i’ve never had a problem with leftovers!
    Mmmm, soooo gooood! We do a cheese version on our New Year’s Eve appetizer class, sounds very similar. Thanks for sharing. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  11. juthurst

    My Dad would love these for Father’s Day… ;)
    Any reason why I can’t load up my pastry bag with stabilized whipped cream and pipe it into the hole I made to let out the steam?
    Just to keep the creamy goodness from oooshing out all over when we bite into the cream puffs…
    I think these would freeze well too… so I can make them in advance and take some on vacation. :)

    No reason not to pipe the whipped cream into a hole in the bottom (or side, or top); I just wanted to write the directions to include those who might not have a piping bag. As for making in advance – I wouldn’t fill them in advance, OK? Freeze the shells, but best to fill just before eating. Enjoy – PJH

    Reply
  12. barrie2

    I just made eclairs for Easter. I’m not sure why I don’t make them more often because, as you said, they’re really not that hard! I never get them when we go out because everyone else is way to chintzy with their fillings and chocolate ganache! :) Mine weigh about a ton each – as it should be. LOL I had trouble this year with the shells puffing up sufficiently. Not sure what happened (they still tasted delicious!). It was nice and dry in the house, so humidity not an issue. I have never let the hot choux paste cool a little before adding the eggs (I just beat them really fast!). I wonder if that would help?

    I wonder if your batter wasn’t just a tiny bit too dry? Maybe the eggs were a bit smaller than usual? I don’t think the temperature would make the difference… Anyway, glad they were tasty. PJH

    Reply
  13. lillabit2001

    Oh, so many memories! I went back to the Wisconsin State Fair a few years ago, for the first time since I was a kid. First stop was at the WBA building for a cream puff! My friend and I were going to split one, so we would have room for some other junk food, but . . . by the time we got to the front of the line, temptation got the best of us and we each ordered and ate our own cream puff. No regrets–they were even better than I remembered them! When our kids were little, we lived in Clinton, Iowa, and I took them across the river to Dutch Days in Fulton, Illinois, every year. We always bought olie bollen and letterbanket at the bakery there. What a treat! And I remember my mom making crab-stuffed mini-puffs for a special anniversary celebration. They were yummy too. So many good family memories are associated with food. It’s amazing that I don’t weigh half a ton! :-D

    HA, I had to laugh about you and your friend not being able to resist “personal cream puffs” – I’ve heard those Wisconsin State Fair puffs are enormous, too. You’re right, so many memories are built around food – one of my first memories of my younger sister involves her experience with a package of Chuckles candy… :) PJH

    Reply
  14. mamsis

    I don’t make puffs often, but they are wonderful for so many occasions. We made 200 small ones (ahead of time, of course), split them and stored them till the wedding date. Then we filled them earlier in the day with chicken salad for the wedding brunch – not one left! Sweet or savory, these shells are versatile and delicious!

    So true – they can be sweet or savory, you can add grated cheese to the batter, and spices/herbs… there’s no limit to the ways you can enjoy choux paste shells, is there? PJH

    Reply
  15. HayleyCakes And Cookies

    So I first started decorating cookies with the King Arthur all things cookies cook book, and have since turned it into a business! AND NOW i follow all of the posts, and I decided to make this recipe for me and my boyfriends 1st anniversary tonight. and let me tell you, these are AWESOME!!!!!!!! I’m a Texas girl, and I’ve never even had a cream puff or eclair but they are his favorite, and I know he is going to flip over them!! THank you thank you thankkkk youuu for sharing this recipe!!!!!!!!!

    –Hayley Callaway

    Happy 1st anniversary Hayley! I hope the puffs turned out to be everything you’d hoped… as well as the celebration! Thanks for your kind words here – PJH

    Reply
  16. "ktrgo10@cox.net"

    I fill my cream puffs using 1/2 instant vanilla pudding mix combined with 1/2 Tru-Whip Whipped Topping. I find this makes it less rich, and less filling. Also, to fill my cream puffs, I use an icing tube. I fill it with my filling, and then poke a small hold in the top of the cream puff. I fill it gently until the cream puff feels like it’s “heavy”. Then I know it’s full. I continue to do this with each cream puff, filling the icing tube as it needs it. Then, when they are all done, I put my powdered sugar in a duster and apply to the filled cream puffs. No filling oozing out the sides, and not as filling if whipped cream was used.

    Sounds good – thanks for sharing these tips… PJH

    Reply
  17. Aunt Dee

    I was always sooooo afraid of attempting cream puffs…everyone kept telling me they were so hard to get right! Tried this and now, it is my go-to recipe, especially if I need something in a hurry for short-notice company! Make, bake and then fill with ice cream. A dessert that looks like it took hours. I also have used the King Arthur non-melting sugar dusted over them. Great because it is not absorbed by the pastry and they continue to stay crispy longer! Thanks!
    Thanks for sharing the tip on the non-melting sugar and glad you dared to try this recipe. ~Amy

    Reply
  18. Cindy Leigh

    Oh what timing! I visited KAF TODAY, and sampled the eclairs! The lady behind the demo/sample counter said they were made from the box mix. They were awesome!!
    I can remember my grandmother’s sister making cream puffs from scratch They were divine.
    Hey there,
    I left you a note on your community post about your visit. I know what the frosting glue is! <3 ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  19. nanny432

    My mom used to make cream puffs all the time when I was growing up. She would take the traditional cream puff shape and put her home made pastry cream in. But she always split the puff and took out the “guts” before doing this. Any reason to do this versus not to do it?
    I think for some it’s just a personal preference to clean out the soft insides. It makes more room for the filling! ~Amy

    Reply
  20. jenaij

    I wonder if this recipe would turn out well using GF flour and some xanthan gum. Do you think it would still puff up when baked? I figure the taste would be about the same, but I’m not sure how the puff pastry would turn out. I guess even it it turned out as a flat cookie, it’d taste great with some whipped cream and/or chocolate on it. :)

    No, unfortunately I don’t think this recipe would work in a GF version, Jena – unless, as you say, you’re OK with flat, pancake-like “puffs.” The flavor would also be slightly different. But hey – nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Give it a go, see how you like them. PJH

    Reply
    1. Julie Payne

      Here is a Gluten-free version for you. Good Luck. I haven’t tried them yet, but I want to. I love cream puffs and eclairs. I grew up knowing them and love them.

      Ingredients:

      For the Cream Puffs
      •1 1/8 cups + 2 teaspoons Carla’s Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour Blend Recipe*, sifted
      •1 teaspoon sugar
      •6 large eggs, at close to room temperature
      •1/2 teaspoon salt
      •7 Tablespoons butter
      •1 cup water
      •Powdered sugar (optional for top of shell)

      For the Strawberry Sauce
      •7 strawberries, pureed (¾ cup pureed)
      •4 teaspoons sugar

      Suggested Fillings:
      •Gluten Free Pastry Cream
      •Gluten Free Bavarian Cream
      •Gluten Free Crème Brûlée
      •No Cook and Sugar Free Gluten Free Chocolate Mousse
      •Sweetened Whipped Cream
      •Regular or Dairy-Free Gluten Free Vanilla Pudding
      •Gluten Free Sauteed Apples
      •Whatever your heart desires!

      Instructions:

      To Make the Cream Puffs
      1.Preheat oven to 475°F.
      2.Either line a baking pan with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, which is best to prevent over browning
      3.In a medium sized pan, add water, butter, salt and sugar. Once it just begins to boil remove from heat and add the flour mixture all at once. Quickly stir with a wooden spoon until the dough no longer sticks to the sides of the pan. Be certain to blend all dry flour until it is moist.
      4.Add the dough to the bowl of your mixer; allow to cool for about 3 minutes; add eggs one at a time and beat each on medium speed (no. 4 on a KitchenAid mixer) until it is well incorporated.
      5.Either drop mounds of dough onto your baking sheet or use a pastry bag to pipe out about a 3-inch circle**. No need to leave much room between each cream puff, as they will not expand much. You may smooth out any peaks that form on the top with a wet finger.
      6.Turn the oven off and allow them to dry out for 10 minutes. Turn the oven on to 350°F; bake until they are very golden brown, about 55 – 60 minutes for 1 1/2-inch piped dough minutes, and longer for larger ones. I made about 11 larger cream puffs and baked them for about 75 minutes.
      7.Remove cream puffs from oven; remove from baking pan and place on a cooling rack. Immediately slice the top half off, leaving a deep enough bottom to fill.
      8.They’re best the same day, however, if you desire to make them a day in advance, leave them out overnight to continue to dry out. They will shrink a little by the next day, but definitely in shape to serve. Do not place them in the refrigerator, as moisture will soften them. Store them in an air-tight container until ready to fill. Do no fill them until ready to serve, as the filling will soften them.

      To Make the Strawberry Sauce
      9.Puree the strawberries in your food processor or blender.
      10.Pour it into a cup or bowl, add the sugar and stir until all the sugar is dissolved.

      To Fill the Cream Puffs
      11.Remove tops from cream puffs, dust with powdered sugar (optional), pour sauce over filled cream puff, and place the lid back on top. Serve as soon as possible or leave out overnight, then place in a sealed container or ziplock bag.

      Tips

      *In making my all-purpose flour blend I give the choice of using tapioca four/starch or cornstarch. I used to use tapioca starch, but used cornstarch in this recipe due to my newly discovered tapioca allergies. If you’re concerned about using cornstarch due to most being GE (genetically modified (engineered) organism), Bob’s Red Mill brand is non-GMO, and is gluten free.

      **If using a pastry bag or similar decorating device, use a large plain tip and hold the bag/device straight up and down, about 1/8 inch away from the baking sheet. Once your puff becomes the size you desire stop the flow of the dough and lift up. Before removing the tip from the top of the dough twist the tip to prevent a tip of dough from forming.

      UPDATE: It is extremely difficult to over-bake this recipe, but it is very easy to under-bake it. Recently, I made a batch and made them slightly larger. I made a total of 8 cream puffs, about 4-inches in diameter, and they needed to be baked about 10 minutes longer. I had added 4 miniature cream puffs with the left over dough and those turned out perfect, where the larger ones were still a bit too soft. So…the smaller you make them the better they turn out. If you bake the larger ones long enough, they’ll turn out too brown.

  21. Sharl

    I’ve always liked making cream puffs and once split in half, I put chocolate pudding in the bottom half and whipped cream on the top half, and then putting them together. Yum!

    Wow, Sharl – now THERE’S an idea! Something for everyone, eh? I’ll have to try this next time – thanks. PJH

    Reply
  22. greenb1935

    I was stationed in southern Belgium for 39 months (Oct 63 to Jan 67) with the USAF. They made the best eclairs I ever tasted and the nation was famious for them. One point of interest I didn’t notice in the recipe or comments is that the word ECLAIR in French is “Lightening”! The ones I had were pretty close.

    Bob Green

    Reply
  23. sitina

    I make these every Christmas and for special occasions but I fill them with my homemade pecan chicken salad. They make great finger food and everyone absolutely loves them, I can never make enough.

    Reply
  24. "baking diva"

    Passed through the area yesterday and stopped at the store. What a beautiful building, and the store is bakers paradise! The samples of the eclairs were delicious, and we bought the brownies from the cafe and they were so delicious! Is the recipe for those brownies here on the website? I definitely need to make those.
    So glad to hear that you enjoyed your visit with us. Unfortunately our bakery recipes are not available, but I made this recipe for brownies last weekend and it was a huge hit. ~Amy

    Hi – These Brownies are the most popular recipe on our Web site – give ‘em a try – PJH

    Reply
  25. Lori

    I’m just about to attempt these. So excited! x3 I’ve noticed though that you have 2 recipes for the actually puff that are exactly the same, but in both recipes it does not specify if the oven should be off or still holding 350°F when you return them to the oven for 5 mins after you cut the puffs to let the steam escape. Maybe I’m just over thinking it?

    Yes, the oven will remain at 350 degrees. betsy@kaf

    Reply
  26. k.g.mom

    Just like nanny432, my mom used to make these all the time. She filled them with vanilla pudding.

    I had never made them, but you inspired me. I made them this weekend, a small, savory version with salt and no sugar. I filled them with a goat cheese/sundried tomato mixture – very good hors d’oeuvres! And the left overs, I filled with orange cream made with orange curd, and served them with brunch. Again – great!

    We once took a cooking class and one of the dishes was a large “cream puff” fill with smoked turkey in gravy. Also very good!

    Wonderful, versatile pastry – thank for reminding me.

    That’s oftentimes all we need – a little reminder, some inspiration. We all have SO many recipes clipped and bookmarked, it’s hard to remember all of our favorites, isn’t it? Glad we could help – PJH

    Reply
  27. wendyb964

    these were the first item my English mum, raised in Nice, taught us to make. Of course she had a sweet tooth and ours were filled with whipped cream or ice cream. When my sons were little we down-sized them and filled with egg salad/minced vegetables, or tuna salad (their request!), pbj, and used them to decorate a styrooam cone covered with foil. Attaching each with toothpicks, we interspersed them with pitted olives, cherry tomatoes, celery, broccoli, carrots, and other items to pique their interest. This was intriguing enough to be the center of attention. It went over so well we made two trees for the adult table: one savory (mix of sm. puff pastries filled with tidbits of salmon mousse, shrimp salad, meat, pate, cheese, and/or herbs), shellfish, melon balls, and the like surrounded by crackers. The dessert tray had a tree of its own: sm puffs with chocolate, pastry, or whipped cream. Once they were secured with toothpicks we drizzled white, milk, and dark chocolate down from the top of the tree. Dusted with powdered sugar and edible silver glitter just before serving, the setting aided by twinkling little lights on cotton-laden table really appeared magical. All ages and many people worked to make it special,and it was a labor of love. Good times were had by all. This holiday season it will be a MUST. Might make some trials over the summer, heeeheee
    Wow! Sounds marvelous! Trials this summer are a must!!! Elisabeth

    Reply
  28. Liz

    If you are having trouble getting a good volume to your puffs, it could be your water. After a few experiments, I always used bottled water in mine. I made two batchesof my favorite recipe: one with tap water- pretty flat -and one with bottled water -wonderfully puffy. Our water tends to be quite acidic so it makes sense as acid cleaves the protein in the flour, which forms the stucture of the puffs.

    Reply
  29. Ellen F.

    How about a chocolate topping with some Nutella??!!

    Nutella can remain very sticky, but that’s not a bad thing by any means! You could attempt a chocolate-nutella rendition by adding a few tablespoons of nutella to the chocolate chips and reducing the heavy cream slightly OR you could add a few drops of hazelnut flavoring to punch it up! Either way, you’ll be creating something delicious! Kim@KAF

    Reply
  30. Myra Foster Smith

    Can this recipe be easily doubled? Or should I just do one batch at a time? Thank you SO much!!

    Yes, this is an easy recipe to double, Myra – go for it! PJH

    Reply
  31. Ashley

    I want to make an eclair cake/cream puff cake using the choux to make the base in a 9×13 pan. I’ve seen a lot of recipes around the web, and my plan is for a choux base, a thin layer of chocolate & coconut oil that will harden, and a pudding/whipped cream mix on top of that. I’m hoping the chocolate shell layer will keep the pudding separate enough from the choux base to keep it from getting too soggy. However, this will HAVE to be made the evening before it is served (made around 7 p.m., served the next day around 11 a.m.) Any tips for keeping the choux base as fresh as possible?

    Ashley–I must say, you can try to get the choux layers as dry as possible: try baking them to the size you want, split them, cool, and bake at a 250F oven until they dry a bit without coloring too darkly. The chocolate shell will still release moisture into the choux pastry. You could try brushing the bottom lightly with melted butter before placing down the “shell” but, you will risk yielding a soggy cake. I wish you all the best! Kim@KAF

    Reply
  32. Heidi

    I have been making cream puffs since I was a little girl. My husband’s birthday is coming up and I thought I would like to change them up a bit. The filling in my recipe from my Mother is custard with whipped cream folded in. We have always drizzled chocolate sauce over the top. This time I am going to add a bit of almond or hazelnut flavoring (depends on what mood I am in the day I make it!) and when I found an almost full bottle of Kahlua in the cupboard the light bulb went on! A nice chocolate/Kahlua sauce drizzled almond or hazelnut custard filled cream puff! Happy birthday to my hubby!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Azra, cream puffs are supposed to be dry with very little flavor; they’re valued for their crisp texture, soft insides, and ability to securely hold the rich whipped cream of pastry cream you put inside. Did you fill them? PJH

  33. M. Gray

    The first time I had a cream puff I was 24. Bought one from a local grocer’s dessert counter on a whim. Instantly fell in love with them. Making Boston cream cupcakes today, I had left over pastry cream- style filling and knew I needed a recipe for the choux dough to make my own cream puffs! I’ve seen tasty suggestions in the comments that I can’t wait to try!

    Reply
  34. Betsy

    I had been so terrified of making cream puffs, scared it would be a huge mess with no success…NOT with this recipe! Thank you so much. The family loved them and wants them ALL the time now.

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Ah, Betsy, isn’t it wonderful when you find a recipe that yields great results with not nearly the degree of technique or amount of time you’d imagined? Glad you and your family enjoyed them – next time, fill with ice cream and top with fudge sauce. YUMMMMM…. :) PJH

  35. Anne

    I also make chocolate cream puffs. I add 2Tbs cocoa powder and 1 Tb sugar to the dry ingredients. I fill them with vanilla pudding in the chocolate puffs and chocolate in the original puffs and top them with sifted powderoed sugar. I make mini ones so guests may have more than one. Very pretty stacked on a cake stand!

    Reply
  36. Loni

    I made lots of éclair shells and a bowl of pastry cream with cornstarch and egg yolks for a tea luncheon that is being postponed 2 weeks due to weather. Can I freeze them and is it best to do that separately or fill them first?

    Reply
    1. Susan Reid

      Definitely freeze the eclairs unfilled; if they’re not as crisp as you like when you thaw them they can be refreshed in a 350°F oven for 5 to 10 minutes. The pastry cream will have to be remade; it won’t freeze and thaw intact, I’m afraid. Susan

  37. MJKIRKJUDYANDJIMKIRK

    I want to increase the volume capacity by reducing the amount of soft egg stands left inside the Cream Puff.

    Should I increase the amount of egg white or add a small amount of baking powder?
    Should I add the baking powder to the batter or the egg whites?

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Your best bet is simply to remove the puffs from the oven, split them open, and scrape out the eggy part, leaving you with crisp shells. I’ve never experimented with the changes you suggest, so honestly can’t predict what will happen if you try them. If you do, though, let us know how your puffs turn out, OK? Others might want to try the same thing. Good luck – PJH

  38. farida

    I will try to bake these. They look so good! A question: since we have 2 baking sheets, the recipe doesn’t mention if the pans should be one on the upper level and on on top, or should we bake one pan then the other? Could you please clarify. I would appreciate. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. MaryJane Robbins

      Here in the kitchen we generally bake just one pan at a time in the center of the oven. If you do 2 levels, you may want to switch them after half of the bake time. ~ MJ

  39. patti bittner

    I love to make these… I have been making them since I was a little girl with my mom… I am making eclairs right now with for my daughters confirmation party… and was wondering if I could use pudding instead of making my homemade custard… thank you so much for the quick stress free recipe !!! so my question is this… the little pudding mixes to three cups milk or the large??? it said regular sized so I’m assuming the small ones, but I thought I’d check… thank you !!!

    Reply
    1. PJ Hamel , post author

      Patti, that’s two boxes of standard-size pudding mixes (the “little ones”), to 3 cups of milk. Enjoy – PJH

  40. Pat

    Same recipe – spread dough on jelly roll pan or cookie sheet. all one no spaces. bake as directed.
    Let cool. spread with flavor of pudding, layer of whipped cream, drizzle with chocolate, sprinkle with toffee bits or mini choc. chips. Chill and serve. We called it “Moon Cake” . ( cake falls when it cools) Yum!!

    Reply
  41. Diana

    My go-to filling is instant vanilla pudding (preferably French vanilla) made with half milk and half sour cream. It tastes like an elaborate pastry cream without all the fuss!

    Reply

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