Cream puffs, also known as profiteroles, are made with a dough called choux pastry, or pâte à choux. They look impressive but are really easy to make. This is my mother’s recipe, which has always been a winner for me—at least after I learned to be patient and not take them out of the oven too soon! You can fill these with mascarpone whipped cream (click here for the recipe), pastry cream (click here for the recipe), or ice cream. You can even turn them into appetizers by filling them with your favorite chilled, savory filling, such as crab salad.
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup (4 Tbsp.) butter
- ½ cup flour
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 2 eggs
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Bring the water to a boil in saucepan over high heat.
- Add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon (or other heatproof spoon) until the butter is melted.
- Turn the heat down to low.
- Add the flour and salt. Stir vigorously until the flour and butter mixture are fully combined and the flour mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. This happens very quickly. It should only take about 30 seconds.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for 1½ to 2 minutes. The mixture needs to cool a little before you add the eggs, so you don't end up with scrambled eggs!
- Add one egg at a time. After adding each egg, beat the pastry mixture until the egg is fully incorporated into the mixture. The mixture will end up being a little sticky but not wet. It will take a little muscle to beat the eggs into the mixture, so beat vigorously. Just consider this your arm workout for the day! If you need help, you can use a mixer, but I prefer the results from doing this step by hand---partly because of less clean up!
- Using a small scoop or spoon, drop dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets. Leave about 2 inches between each puff. They will almost double in size as they cook.
- Bake until golden brown. It will take about 20-23 minutes for the mini-puffs. Be patient and don't open the oven door---just watch them through the window.
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