Cream Puff Fun Fact #1: Cream Puffs are made by stuffing choux pastry balls with whipped cream or custard. But that wasn’t the fun fact. This is the fact: “choux pastry” translates as “cabbage pastry” in French! Cuuuuute.
Cream Puff Fun Fact #2: Choux pastry is made by adding a simple flour mixture directly into a pot of butter and water, so really it gets cooked before it gets to the oven. Texturally it looks and feels more like paste than dough.
Cream Puff Fun Fact #3: Most of the water in the choux pastry is released through steam during the baking process, making the dough rise quickly and creating a hollow middle.
And without further ado! The recipe as I followed it from joyofbaking.com:
1. Combine 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt. Separately in a saucepan, boil 1/2 cup water with 1/4 cup butter. Add flour mixture to water and butter, mix until consistent and paste-like. Cook for 1 minute.
2. Remove dough from saucepan and place into a mixing bowl. Using a hand mixer or by stirring with a spatula, beat the dough to release most of the steam. When the dough is lukewarm, beat in 2 eggs. Divide the dough into roughly 12 balls and place on baking sheet.
3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the tops of the pastry balls with an egg wash prior to baking. Bake at 400 degrees for the first 15 minutes (forcing the dough to rise quickly), and reduce to 350 degrees for another half hour or so. Split a dough ball to make sure its dry and not wet in the middle.
4. While the cream puffs cool, beat together 1 cup chilled heavy cream, sugar and vanilla to taste. Pipe it into the cooled pastry halves, or you can do what I did, which was to use a syringe to overstuff the shit out of the choux balls. And there you have it: CREAM PUFFS.