This week, as my pregnant friend Kendra is about to pop, we hosted a baby shower at work. Since Kendra is having a little girl, I wanted to think of something festive and feminine to contribute. Of course, what could be more girlie than a delicate little cream puff?!
Cream puffs are surprisingly easy to whip up, especially if you fill them with whipped cream, as I did, rather than a true pastry cream. Homemade whipped cream takes all of a minute to prepare, and once you master a basic choux dough, the possibilities are endless. Choux dough can be used to make profiteroles, eclairs, or even a savory gougere.
I topped mine with a little glaze so I could easily add pink sprinkles, but you could also serve these up plain. The surprise inside is what really matters after all!
Basic Choux Pastry
* 1/2 c. butter
* 1/4 tsp. salt
* 1 c. flour
* 4 eggs
Whipped Cream Filling:
*1.5 c. whipping cream
*2 tsp. vanilla
*2 tbsp. confectioners sugar
*1/2 c. confectioners sugar
*1 tbsp. milk
Sprinkles, for topping
Preheat oven to 400. In a saucepan, bring butter, salt, and 1 cup of water to a boil over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in flour with a wooden spoon until the dough starts to pull away from the side of the pan and form a ball. Add eggs to the flour mixture one at a time until the mixture is smooth and shiny.
Grease and flour a cookie sheet (or line it with aluminum foil/parchment). Use a round pastry tip to pipe small mounds of the dough (about the size of a half dollar) onto the sheet. Wet your finger and gently smooth the tops to keep the peeks from burning. Bake for 30 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Remove the puffs from the oven and use a small sharp knife to poke a small hole in the side of the puff so the steam can escape. Turn off the oven and place the puffs back inside for 7 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before filling.
To prepare the filling, add the cream and vanilla to a chilled bowl. Beat on high until soft peaks form. Sift in the confectioners sugar, then continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
To fill the cream puffs, add the whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Use the tip to create a small hole in the bottom (and circle around gently) of the puff and slowly fill until you feel a bit of resistance.
To prepare the glaze, stir together sifted confectioners sugar and milk. Use a spoon to drizzle the glaze over the cream puffs and top with sprinkles, if desired. Enjoy!