French cream puffs

Cream puffs

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Cream puff is a sweet pastry made from pâté à choux dough, which in turn is prepare by cooking flour with hot water and fat. This dough has its origins in France and “choux” means cabbage in French, because after baking the puff looks like a small cabbage.

The perfect cream puff should be slightly brown, light and dry after baking. It can be filled with whipped cream, crème pâtissière, chocolate cream, pistachio cream or ganache.

There are two schools when it comes to baking a puff: baking at two different temperatures or baking at one constant. Baking at two different temperatures is executed by first baking the puff for 15-20 in an oven pre-heated to 215-220 degrees Celsius, and then reducing the heat to 170-175 degrees Celsius and baking for an additional 10-15 minutes. Some believe that very high temperatures allow the puff pastry to rise better. The second school of baking puff is to maintain the same temperature throughout the entire baking process – this is how I prepared the puffs in the recipe below.

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Homemade cream puffs
Cream puffs

Ingredients for cream puffs.

  • 125 ml water
  • 125 ml milk
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 120 g butter
  • 150 g all-purpose flour
  • 150 g eggs

Whipped cream:

  • 500 ml whipping cream (36%)
  • 4 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract


  • icing sugar for dusting

How to make cream puffs.

Pour milk and water into a pot, add butter, salt and sugar and bring it to boil. Stir until the butter is completely dissolved then remove the pot from the heat, add the sifted flour and stir for about 30 seconds to allow the flour to combine with the liquid ingredients. Next, put the pot on the heat and while stirring constantly, cook for 1-2 minutes. The dough should be slightly glassy, it should peel away from the pot easily and there must be no flour lumps in it. Cool down the dough to a temperature of at least 160 degrees Celsius, because it cannot be hot when adding the eggs to it.

When the dough is cool enough, start adding the eggs. Add only part of the eggs at a time, mixing the dough constantly, preferably with a hand mixer. Place finished dough in a confectionery sleeve fitted with a one-centimetre-wide tip.

Line a baking tray with baking paper and lightly sprinkle it with water. Squeeze the puff pastry on the prepared baking sheet, creating circle shapes with a diameter of 4-5 centimetres each. Preheat an oven to 190 degrees Celsius and when it is hot, place the baking tray in. Bake the puffs for about 30-35 minutes or until they become beautifully golden brown. When baked, remove them from the oven, pierce each with a toothpick and set them aside to cool down.

Pour cold whipping cream into a pot, add vanilla extract and whisk until half stiff. Then add icing sugar in batches, whisking all the time until the cream reaches a stiff consistency. Be careful not to over-whip the cream, a few extra seconds of additional whipping is enough for the cream to go wrong. Put the whipped cream into a confectionery bag.

Cut the chilled puffs in half and fill them with whipped cream. Sprinkle the puff with icing sugar on top.

French cream puffs
Cream puffs with whipped cream

Good to know when making cream puffs.

Do not open the oven while the puffs are baking, otherwise they will collapse.

After baking, I pierce the puffs with a toothpick so that the puffs dry better. By piercing the puffs, the hot air in them can escape faster.

Before putting baking paper on the baking try, grease its inner side with a little margarine. Doing so allows the paper to stick to the tray and the paper does not move when squeezing the puffs on it.

The baking time of the puffs depends on their size. Larger puffs will take longer in the oven than small ones. I bake the puffs in the center of the oven.

If you add eggs to a lukewarm dough, make sure that that the dough is completely cooled down before forming the puffs. Puffs made from lukewarm dough will have a problem with rising.

Do you like desserts with whipped cream? If so, try our recipe for Meringue roulade for whipped cream.

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