I haven’t made a lot of progress lately towards completing all of the items on the Year of Fearless Cooking list that I posted in January. But today I made a Boston cream pie and successfully (I think, we haven’t eaten it yet) crossed an item off of the list. While making the Boston cream pie, I remembered that I never wrote about the cream puffs I made many, many months ago.
If you’re able and willing to use a pastry bag and tips, you should most definitely learn to make cream puffs – a combination of pâte à choux, a light pastry dough, and some type of cream filling. They’re frequently filled with pastry cream, but I chose to fill mine with a lemon curd and whipped cream filling.
Cream puffs have been a favorite dessert of mine for years. In high school, whenever I would eat at a sandwich shop in the town next to mine, I would buy a few to eat. And before I baked at home so frequently, I would often buy a big tub of frozen ones at Costco. Needless to say, these homemade ones were much better and I doubt I’ll ever buy them again.
As I do with every new type of food I get it into my head to make, I did a little bit of cookbook and Internet searching for the perfect recipe. In this case, I ended up with two perfect recipes. At some point in my search, I decided I want a whipped cream based filling so that helped narrow the field a little bit.
In the end, I used a pâte à choux recipe from Steamy Kitchen and a lemon cream filling recipe from Bon Appetit (just make the lemon cream filling and skip the pastry recipe in favor of the Steamy Kitchen one). For once, I didn’t alter either of the recipes – in part because I’ve never made choux pastry before and in part because the recipes looked good as is. Both the pastry puffs and the filling turned out perfect and I’ll definitely make these again the next time I get a craving for these sweet little bites. Or I’ll use the Steamy Kitchen recipe again to make gougères as they’re also on the Year of Fearless Cooking list.