Adding nut paste or butter to whipped cream can help naturally stabilize it, which make these particularly good cream puffs to prepare in advance. Look for Sicilian pistachio paste to produce the greenest hue naturally—or add a drop or two of food coloring to adjust the hue, if you like! —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 cream puffs
recipe pâte à choux (https://food52.com/recipes...)
Egg wash, as needed
1 3/4 cups
(411g) heavy cream
(38g) powdered sugar
fine sea salt
(6 oz.) pistachio paste
pure vanilla extract
Powdered sugar, for finishing
- 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 pistachio cream: In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, whip the cream and powdered sugar to soft peaks. With the mixer running on medium speed, add the pistachio paste in 4 to 5 additions, allowing each to incorporate fully before adding the next. Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
- Cut the puffs in half horizontally. Pipe swirly mounds of pistachio cream onto the base of each puff, then place the top of the puff on top. Repeat with the remaining puffs.
- Sift powdered sugar on top of each puff. Serve within 8 hours.