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52 Weeks of Baking: Informal Croquembouche (Cream Puffs)

There are only a few weeks left in my 52 weeks of baking resolution, so I'm trying to find things on my "I can't believe I haven't made these before" list. Cream puffs were near the top of that list, but after last night, I'm officially able to cross them off.

I found a pastry recipe that looked simple and yielded a large haul of puffs. However, instead of a traditional custard cream — there wasn't enough time to let it set — I went with a whipped cream filling and a chocolate glaze. While mine isn't quite a traditional French Croquembouche — aka stacked cream puffs coated with caramel — it does work as a modern twist. To get the recipe that I put together on a weeknight just

Informal Croquembouche

Pâte à Chou (Cream Puff Pastry)
From Gourmet, December 1994

1 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
4 to 6 large eggs

  1. In a heavy saucepan bring water to a boil with butter and salt over high heat.
  2. Reduce heat to moderate. Add flour all at once and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of pan, forming a dough.
  3. Transfer dough to bowl of a standing electric mixer and beat in 4 eggs, 1 at a time, on high speed, beating well after each addition. Batter should be stiff enough to just hold soft peaks and fall softly from a spoon. If batter is too stiff, in a small bowl beat remaining 2 eggs lightly, 1 at a time, and add to batter, a little at a time, beating on high speed, until batter is desired consistency.
  4. Preheat oven to 425°F. and butter and flour 2 baking sheets.
  5. Spoon pâte à chou into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip and pipe about 55 mounds onto baking sheets, each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, leaving 1 1/2 inches between mounds.
  6. With a finger dipped in water gently smooth pointed tip of each mound to round puffs.
  7. Bake puffs in upper third of oven 10 minutes, switching position of sheets in oven halfway through baking if necessary. Reduce temperature to 400°F. and bake puffs 20 minutes more, or until puffed and golden.
  8. Let puffs stand in turned-off oven 30 minutes. Transfer puffs to racks to cool.
  9. With a skewer poke a 1/4-inch hole in bottom of each puff.
  10. Puffs may be made 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container. Recrisp puffs in 400°F. oven 5 minutes and cool before filling.

Whipped Cream Filling

2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Whip cream until frothy.
  2. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
  3. Whip until stiff peaks can be formed.

Chocolate Glaze

6 oz semisweet chocolate cut into pieces (or chocolate chips)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter

  1. Place the chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl and set aside.
  2. In a medium sized saucepan heat the cream and butter over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
  3. Pour boiling cream over the chocolate and let stand for five minutes.
  4. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
  5. Add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or clove if desired.

To Assemble

  1. While cream puffs are cooling, make whipped filling. Transfer filling to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain top and barely fill each puff (do not overfill).
  2. Using toothpicks or skewers stack cream puffs into a cone shape.
  3. Make glaze. Drizzle glaze on top of stacked cream puffs.

Alternatively, you can just dip each cream puff into the glaze and serve individually.


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Around The Web
Join The Conversation
Advah Advah 8 years
The trick to know when baking 'choux' is to insert a knife/spoon handle between the oven and the oven door, about ten minutes before the end of the cooking time. That way the pastries will dry while 'puffed', and that will avoid them getting flat when you take them out of the oven. :) I actually made some last week, yum!
aka_zoe aka_zoe 8 years
These look great! We have profiteroles almost every New Years, but buy them, so what a treat to have a beautifully detailed step by step to follow this year! My family will be so thrilled. Thanks!
wiciltd wiciltd 8 years
I love how you add photos I normally read recipes and go "too complicated" but when there are step by step photos you can see your progress and make sure you're doing it right :) I love it.. i think i am going to make these for my bday party in january
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
:)
michichan michichan 8 years
Yum, you're going to drive me bananas.
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Yep.
michichan michichan 8 years
I love the photography, Yum. The pastry picture looks wonderful; so gooey!
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
celebrity_soup can I have one?? ;)
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Good lord... :OY:
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Good lord... :OY:
michichan michichan 8 years
Wow celebrity soup, that sounds amazing
celebrity_soup celebrity_soup 8 years
hey awesome! I made these on monday for a dinner part I had, I call them profiteroles. I made mine nice and big, filled with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce all over them, stacked into a pyramid. SO GOOD. I still have 3 in the fridge, gonna eat some NOW!
celebrity_soup celebrity_soup 8 years
hey awesome!I made these on monday for a dinner part I had, I call them profiteroles.I made mine nice and big, filled with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with chocolate sauce all over them, stacked into a pyramid.SO GOOD.I still have 3 in the fridge, gonna eat some NOW!
lil-miss-haley lil-miss-haley 8 years
Gosh I haven't made theses in ages!! I may have to make some this weekend...
michichan michichan 8 years
Yum, you're doing a fantastic job on the photgraphy.
Rachel419 Rachel419 8 years
They look scrumpcious!
Rachel419 Rachel419 8 years
They look scrumpcious!
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Yum, great job as always...
aimeeb aimeeb 8 years
Yum, great job as always...
Food Food 8 years
haze1nut - thanks! i'm just trying to take more time on the photos. Also vanilla pudding sounds great, traditionally cream puffs are filled with a custard pastry cream (which takes hours to set up), the consistency is often more pudding like.
michichan michichan 8 years
I bet caramel would be just as lovely.
mamaseacat mamaseacat 8 years
Yummmmmm.... You're right. It's not too difficult to make from reading your recipe and seeing the pics. I love that you drizzled chocolate on them. Thanks!
haze1nut haze1nut 8 years
i just wanted to say that your picture taking is getting better and better. lolbut also, those things look scrumptiouss!~i can see myself popping one in after the otheroh one idea! filling wise. this has been a staple for many napoleans i've made and whatever, it's vanilla pudding mix, a bit of milk, and coolwhip! So basically you put enough milk to make the pudding mix soft and goopy and you fold in the cool whip! It makes a delicious custard like filling. try it :Dkeep baking, yuM! can't wait to see more
haze1nut haze1nut 8 years
i just wanted to say that your picture taking is getting better and better. lol but also, those things look scrumptiouss!~ i can see myself popping one in after the other oh one idea! filling wise. this has been a staple for many napoleans i've made and whatever, it's vanilla pudding mix, a bit of milk, and coolwhip! So basically you put enough milk to make the pudding mix soft and goopy and you fold in the cool whip! It makes a delicious custard like filling. try it :D keep baking, yuM! can't wait to see more
Community-Manager Community-Manager 8 years
Divine as always yum!
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