Most bakeries will make small, more bite-size cream puffs—but I like big beauties, even if that means eating them with a knife and fork (and maybe even a spoon). I pipe mounds of pâte à choux about ¼ cup in heft to produce these towering cream puffs, filled with diplomat cream (aka pastry cream lightened with whipped cream—double the cream, double the fun) and finish them with a thick coating of bright berry glaze. —Erin Jeanne McDowell
Test Kitchen Notes
Bake It Up a Notch is a column by Resident Baking BFF Erin Jeanne McDowell. Each month, she'll help take our baking game to the next level, teaching us all the need-to-know tips and techniques and showing us all the mistakes we might make along the way. Today, a lesson in all things pâte à choux—the fancy-sounding French pastry that's actually a cinch. —The Editors
- Prep time 1 hour 30 minutes
- Cook time 40 minutes
- makes 12 large cream puffs
- Cream Puffs
recipe pâte à choux (https://food52.com/recipes...)
Egg wash, as needed
- Pastry Cream & Berry Glaze
1 1/2 cups
(345g) whole milk
fine sea salt
(99g) granulated sugar
vanilla bean, halved and seeds scraped
egg yolks (64g), at room temperature
1 1/2 cups
(353g) cold heavy cream
recipe fresh fruit glaze, made with berries of choice (https://food52.com/recipes...)
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Place the pâte à choux in a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip. If desired, pipe a small amount of pâte à choux at the corners of the parchment paper to help keep it in place while you work.
- Hold the pastry bag straight up and down above one of the baking sheets and pipe 2-inch mounds of pâte à choux onto the baking sheet, spaced at least 1 inch apart, and staggering the rows as you pipe. As each round nears the correct size, release the pressure on the bag and use a quick flick of the wrist to help break the connection between the dough and the pastry tip.
- Use a fingertip dipped in cool water to smooth the edge where you finished piping, if desired. Let the puffs sit at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Brush the puffs with egg wash. Bake until golden and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. (Optional: Once the puffs have become lightly golden and the structure is set, about 30 minutes into baking, you can remove the trays from the oven and let cool completely, then return to the oven for 5 to 10 minutes more. This helps the choux brown more evenly.)
- When you remove the choux from the oven, immediately use a paring knife to poke a small vent into the side of the puffs to allow steam to escape (this will help to keep them crisp). Cool completely.
- Make the pastry cream: Combine the milk, salt, about half of the sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and pod in a medium pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat.
- Meanwhile, in a medium, heat-proof bowl, whisk together the remaining sugar with the cornstarch. When the mixture comes to a simmer, remove the vanilla pod, and turn the heat to medium-low.
- Whisk the egg yolks into the sugar and cornstarch mixture, then gradually pour about ⅓ of the hot milk into the bowl, whisking constantly to combine. Return the mixture to the pot, and cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly until the mixture begins to thicken (at which point it can be helpful to switch to a silicone spatula), and continue to cook until the mixture gets very thick and fat bubbles break the surface towards the center of the pot, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, and stir in the butter. Strain the pastry cream into a medium-heat safe bowl, cover the surface directly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until well chilled. 10. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream to medium-stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the chilled pastry cream, and transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a Bismarck or medium round pastry tip.
- Insert the tip into the base of the cooled puffs and fill with diplomat cream until they feel heavy and full. Repeat with the remaining puffs.
- Make the berry glaze, and spoon it over the puffs. Let the glaze drip down the sides. Let set for 15 minutes for the glaze to firm up. Serve within 8 hours.