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How to Make Homemade Cream Puffs and Eclairs from Scratch

By Edited Oct 31, 2016 3 3

Have you ever wanted to make some homemade cream puffs? This recipe will help you make this delightful sweet in the comfort of your own home. Cream puffs are a pastry like, custard filled sweet that most anyone enjoys eating! This cream puff recipe makes a custard filled pastry. However, it can easily be transferred into other fillings. It can also be transformed into elegant eclairs. The directions are included for this in the variations. Family and friends will be begging for these little delicate treats and guest will be dazzled with your skills. Who says you have to be a pastry chef to be a culinary artist?

 

Homemade Cream Puffs

 

Cream Puff Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of butter
  • 1 cup of boiling water
  • 1 cup of sifted all purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 recipe of French custard filling, recipe follows
  • 1 recipe of chocolate sauce, recipe follows
  1. Bring the water to boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Place the butter in the boiling water to melt.
  3. Add in the sifted flour and salt, and stir it immediately and vigorously.
  4. Reduce the heat and cook, while stirring constantly, until the mixture pulls away from the side of the saucepan and makes a ball that doesn’t fall apart.
  5. Remove the pan from heat, and allow it to cool slightly.
  6. Add in the eggs, one at a time. Beat vigorously after adding in each one until the mixture is smooth.
  7. On a greased cookie sheet, drop the dough out by the heaping tablespoonfuls about 3 inches apart.
  8. Bake them in the oven for 15 minutes at 450 degree Fahrenheit. Then turn down the eat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and continue to bake the puffs for another 25 minutes.
  9. Remove the puffs from the oven. Do not turn the oven off immediately.
  10. Split each and every cream puff shell in half and return it to the cookie sheet.
  11. Turn off the oven, and place the split puffs back into the oven for drying out. Shut the door and leave them for about 20 minutes.
  12. Remove the dried out puffs from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
  13. Right before serving the cream puffs, place the custard filling in the center. Place in the center of only one, because these will be sandwiched back together. For fancier pastries, use an icing decorating bag with a large opening, fluted end to put the cream in.
  14. Assemble them back together and drizzle the tops with the chocolate sauce.
  15. Garnish with chopped nuts if desired.
  16. For parties and social events, place each one in a small, slightly flattened out cupcake holder. The tops can also be sprinkled with powdered sugar.

Variations:

For people who do not like the custard style filling, replace it with sweetened whipped cream. Simply beat heavy cream to a state of firmness, but not overly stiff. Add some sweetener and some cornstarch to stabilize it.

To make fancier elegant like eclairs, make the pastry batter as normal. However, do not drop it out into spoonfuls on a cookie sheet. Instead place it into a pastry tube and make 4 inch stripes about 3/4 of an inch wide. Do this on a greased cookie sheet and bake as directed for the cream puffs. Frost the outsides with a delicious recipe of chocolate icing. Wait until serving time to fill the insides with the custard or cream filling. Cream cheese filling also taste great inside of these. Simply replace the French custard filling with the cream cheese filling from the recipe included at the bottom of this article. The possibilities are endless to which filling to use. Some people even use a chocolate butter cream frosting to fill these eclairs.

French Custard Filling Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 3 cups of milk
  • 2 egg yolks, well beaten
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 1 cup of heavy whipping cream
  1. Combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt together in a saucepan.
  2. Slowly and gradually stir in the milk
  3. Heat and stir the ingredients over medium heat until it thickens and begins to boil. Continue to cook it for 2 or 3 more minutes.
  4. Stir a small amount of the mixture into the egg yolks and then return it all to the hot mixture.
  5. Heat and stir constantly until it just begins to boil.
  6. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  7. Cover the top with wax paper or plastic wrap. Then set it aside to cool.
  8. Beat the heavy whipping cream until it becomes stiff, but still fluffy.
  9. Once the custard is completely cool, fold in the whipped cream.

Chocolate Sauce Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 3/4 cup of water
  • ½ cup of light corn syrup
  • 3 ounces of unsweetened chocolate bar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  1. Melt the chocolate in a thick bottomed saucepan and set aside.
  2. Combine the sugar, water and light corn syrup in a saucepan and bring it to a boil.
  3. Gradually add the boiling mixture, to the melted chocolate, blending well.
  4. Bring the mixture to a gradual, gentle boil for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  6. Cover the top with plastic wrap, and set it aside to cool.

Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 6 ounces of cream cheese
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
  1. Soften the cream cheese and the butter. Please use real, unsalted butter for cooking rather than margarine.
  2. Cream the cream cheese and butter together until light and fluffy.
  3. Add in the vanilla extract and blend thoroughly.
  4. Gradually mix in the powdered sugar until well blended.
  5. Add a tad of milk if the mixture is too thick, and add a tad of powdered sugar if it is too thick.
  6. Lemon flavoring can also be added for a zestier, cool tasting cream filling.

This is make directly before filling the eclairs, because this mixture does not hold well it hot weather, but does not taste well in eclairs if it is cold. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in a cool spot or the refrigerator.

For special events, we make a variety of these. They look great placed in the pastel colored cup cake holders for spring events and baby showers. A variety of these cream puffs look great on a 3 tier stand as well. Presentation says a lot and along with the taste of these little treats, people will be asking if you took pastry chef classes.

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Comments

May 18, 2010 7:22am
eileen
Oh boy I would love you to cook these for me PLEASE.. They really look Yummy. I can cook cakes but not too good on this type of thing too heavy handed I thing. Great article thumbs up
Jul 30, 2011 5:53pm
Lynsuz
Yummy from me too, French custard filling with chocolate sauce is my fav, but yours all!! sound great!!
Dec 30, 2011 6:12pm
cymansays
Made this recipe last night. I felt as if I was transported to Paris. I was in a hurry so I ate the cream puffs with powdered sugar instead of the chocolate glaze, and can't wait to try them with the chocolate. The only complaint i have is that... i don't have one... 4 out of 4 stars from this chef.
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