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Simple and Easy Cream Puffs Recipe

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Cream puffs are a delightful dessert that combines a light and airy choux pastry shell with a creamy and luscious filling. These simple and easy cream puffs are perfect for any occasion and are sure to impress your guests. Follow this recipe to create these delicious treats at home.

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Ingredients

For the Choux Pastry:

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs

For the Filling:

  • 2 small boxes instant vanilla pudding (3.4 oz each)
  • 1 1/3 cups cold whole milk

For Garnish:

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Choux Pastry

  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  2. Boil the Water and Butter:
    • In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water. Bring to a rolling boil over medium heat.
  3. Add the Flour:
    • Once the mixture is boiling, add 1 cup of flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Cool the Mixture:
    • Remove the pan from heat and let the mixture cool for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add the Eggs:
    • Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until the mixture is smooth and glossy.
  6. Pipe or Scoop the Dough:
    • Using a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip or a spoon, pipe or scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheet in mounds about 2 inches apart.
  7. Bake the Pastry:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the puffs are golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Do not open the oven door during baking, as this may cause the puffs to collapse.
    • Once baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Step 2: Prepare the Filling

  1. Make the Pudding:
    • In a large bowl, combine 2 small boxes of instant vanilla pudding mix with 1 1/3 cups of cold whole milk. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and thickened.
  2. Chill the Filling:
    • Refrigerate the pudding mixture for at least 10 minutes to allow it to set.

Step 3: Assemble the Cream Puffs

  1. Fill the Pastry:
    • Once the puffs are completely cooled, cut them in half horizontally. Fill the bottom half of each puff with a generous spoonful of the vanilla pudding mixture.
    • Place the top half of the puff back on top of the filling.
  2. Dust with Powdered Sugar:
    • Lightly dust the tops of the cream puffs with powdered sugar before serving.

Cook Notes and Variations

  • Storage: Cream puffs are best enjoyed fresh, but they can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. The choux pastry can be made ahead of time and frozen. Simply thaw and fill with the pudding mixture when ready to serve.
  • Flavor Variations: For a different flavor, try using chocolate pudding, pastry cream, or whipped cream as the filling. You can also drizzle the tops with melted chocolate for an extra indulgent treat.
  • Serving Suggestions: Serve these cream puffs as a delightful dessert or a special treat at tea parties, brunches, or family gatherings.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can I make the choux pastry in advance?

A: Yes, you can prepare the choux pastry ahead of time and freeze it. Thaw the pastry shells before filling them with the pudding mixture.

Q: Can I use a different filling for the cream puffs?

A: Absolutely! You can fill the cream puffs with whipped cream, pastry cream, chocolate mousse, or even ice cream for a delicious twist.

Q: How do I prevent my cream puffs from deflating?

A: Ensure that you do not open the oven door during baking. Allow the puffs to cool completely before filling them to maintain their structure.

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Q: Can I add flavor to the choux pastry?

A: Yes, you can add a teaspoon of vanilla extract or a pinch of cinnamon to the choux pastry dough for added flavor.

Q: How should I store leftover cream puffs?

A: Store leftover cream puffs in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They are best enjoyed within 1-2 days.

These simple and easy cream puffs are a delightful dessert that will impress your family and friends. With a light and airy choux pastry shell and a creamy vanilla filling, they are perfect for any occasion. Enjoy making and sharing these delicious treats, and don’t forget to get creative with different fillings and toppings to suit your taste! Happy baking!