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Fresh cream puffs with filling on a cake stand
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5 from 1 review

Homemade Cream Puffs

These are classic French Homemade Cream Puffs filled with your choice of a smooth and creamy filling.  The cream puffs are made with pâte à choux dough which makes a light and tender pastry with a crunchy exterior and soft interior.  Fill the cream puffs with pastry cream, flavored whipped cream, or lemon curd.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Cream Puff with Whipped Cream and Pastry Cream Filling
Servings: 24
Author: Erin Cernich

Ingredients

CREAM PUFFS {PATE A CHOUX}

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs, beaten in a liquid measuring cup

PASTRY CREAM FILLING {CREME PATISSIERE}

  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 2 pieces
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste vanilla extract will work too

LEMON CURD FILLING

  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice - from 1-2 lemons
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes

STRAWBERRY WHIPPED CREAM FILLING

CHOCOLATE ICING

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Instructions

  • Make the Pastry Cream, Lemon Curd, and Whipped Cream Fillings first.

PASTRY CREAM FILLING {CREME PATISSIERE}

  • In a medium saucepan, heat the heavy cream and sugar over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally.
  • While the cream is heating, in a medium bowl, whisk the milk, eggs yolks, and cornstarch until thoroughly mixed.  Slowly drizzle in the cream mixture, whisking constantly.  Return the mixture back to the saucepan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens - about 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla paste (or vanilla extract) and butter.  Strain the cream through a fine-mesh strainer set over a medium bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly on top of the cream to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.  The cream will thicken more in the fridge. 

LEMON CURD

  • In a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan, whisk together the lemon juice, zest, eggs, and sugar,  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens slightly.  Begin adding the butter pieces - a few at a time and whisking until melted before adding more butter.   Continue to mix until the curd is smooth and thickened and coats the back of a spoon without dripping - about 5 minutes in total to cook the curd.
  • Strain the curd over a fine mesh strainer set over a medium glass or ceramic bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the wrap directly on top of the curd to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 1 week.  The curd will thicken more in the fridge.

STRAWBERRY WHIPPED CREAM

  • In a blender or food processor, grind the freeze-dried strawberries with the powdered sugar for just a few seconds, until the strawberries turn to powder.  
  • In the mixing bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the heavy cream on low speed to start, until it starts to bubble.  Then turn the up the speed to medium-high and slowly start to spoon in the strawberry/sugar mixture.  Whisk until soft peaks form - about 3-5 minutes.  Cover and refrigerate until needed.  

CREAM PUFFS {PATE A CHOUX}

  • Preheat the oven to 425o degrees and move the oven rack to the middle position.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a heavy saucepan, add the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour, all at once.  Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon.  Return the pan to medium heat and continue to stir constantly until the mixture starts to form a soft ball and pulls away from the pan and a thin film coats the bottom and sides of the pan - about 3-4 minutes.  
  • Remove the pan from the heat and let the mixture cool for about 2-3 minutes.
  • Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  On low speed, beat for about 2-3 minutes to allow the choux paste to slightly cool.  Do not beat the mixture longer than 3 minutes, otherwise, the dough may start to separate.
  • On medium speed, begin to add the beaten eggs, 1 at a time or 1/4 cup, and beat until fully incorporated before adding the next egg.  As you are adding the last egg, add slowly as you may not need all of it.  Check your batter for a thick, yet pipeable consistency that is smooth and shiny and it will be 'stringy' when you lift the paddle.  Beat for at least 2 minutes after the last egg is added.
  • Sprinkle the parchment paper on the prepared baking sheets lightly with water.  The moist parchment paper creates a nice humid environment for the cream puffs to puff!
  • Using a small cookie scoop, drop generously sized 2-tablespoon mounds on the baking sheet, spacing 2" apart.   You should be able to fit 12 puffs on each baking sheet.
  • Bake one sheet at a time.  Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 350o degrees and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.  Do not open the oven door while the cream puffs are baking!
  • Remove the cream puffs from the oven and cut a small slit on the side of each and return them back to the oven for another 2-3 minutes, this allows the steam to escape so the inside of the puff is not too moist.  Place the puffs on a wire rack to cool completely.
  • Turn the oven temperature back up to 425o degrees, and repeat the process with the second batch.  

ASSEMBLING THE CREAM PUFFS

  • Cut open each cream puff and fill with your preferred filling!
  • For the Pastry Cream-Filled Cream Puffs - spoon a generous amount of the pastry cream into the bottom of the cream puff.  Dip the top of the cream puff into the chocolate glaze and set back on top, and enjoy!
  • For the chocolate icing - in a microwave safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips and cream until the chocolate begins to melt and the cream is heated - about 1 minute.  Remove from the microwave and stir until the chocolate and cream are fully combined and the chocolate has melted.
  • For the Strawberry Whipped Cream & Lemon Curd Filled Cream Puffs - You can either keep the whipped cream and lemon curd separate or fold the lemon curd into the whipped cream (as pictured).  Keeping separate - spoon a spoonful of the lemon curd on the bottom of the puff, top with a spoonful of whipped cream, put the cap back on and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Combining - spoon a generous amount of the cream/curd mixture into the bottom of the puff, put the cap back on and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  • Filled cream puffs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Any longer and they get soggy.  Unfilled cream puffs can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container for 1 day, in the fridge for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.  Thaw at room temperature.