Cream Puffs

Pate a Choux is not as daunting as it sounds. As long as you have a little bit of patience, it will definitely be rewarded. I first made this dough when I watched Alton Brown’s Good Eats episode on it. He made his eclairs with vanilla pudding, so I did too. This time, I wanted to make my own filling, and what better place to look than the Art and Soul of Baking cookbook. I knew it was the best combination because between the two recipes I needed exactly one stick of butter. They were meant to be combined. I also like the look of little teeny puffs, so I piped concentric circles instead of long Ss.

For the pastry, adapted from Alton Brown:


  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1-2 large egg whites


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

2. Boil water, butter, salt, and sugar.

3. Dump all the flour in at once and stir with a wooden spoon, working until the dough comes together into a ball.

4. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of your stand mixer and let sit about five minutes, until it cools down a bit.4

5. With the mixer on its lowest speed, add eggs one at a time, waiting until incorporated before adding the next one.

6. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a round tip (or a zip-top bag with a corner snipped off, which is what I did).

7. Pipe into golfball-sized concentric circles, about 2 inches apart on parchment-lined baking sheets.

8. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes until golden brown.

9. Remove from oven and immediately pierce the bottom with a paring knife to let out the steam.

For the pastry cream:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean (or 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter


1. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan. If using a vanilla bean, cut in half and scrape seeds into the milk. Add the bean to the milk. Heat until the milk is just simmering, remove from heat.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together egg, egg yolks, and sugar until smooth.

3. Add the flour and whisk some more, until smooth

4. Pour about 1/2 cup of the milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly to temper the yolks. Pour back into the sauce pan (while whisking, of course)

5. Heat the mixture, whisking constantly, until it reaches a boil. Cook for another minute until the cream is very thick.

6. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract, if using. Strain it over a bowl and place plastic wrap directly on surface of the cream. Cool completely either in a bowl of ice water or in the fridge.

To assemble:

1. Cut the pastry in half.

2. Place a spoonful of pastry cream onto the bottom of the dough.

3. Place the top on.

4. Eat!