Cream puffs look impressive, but they’re actually easy to make. In fact, the pastry itself is made of only four ingredients that you probably have right now– butter, water, flour, and eggs. Once you make the pastry, or the pate a choux you are free to vary the fillings and toppings, from sweet to savory. Today I’ve done a twist on the classic vanilla cream puff and flavored the filling with coffee that goes great with the dark chocolate and chopped nuts on top.
For the Pate a Choux
1 stick of butter
1 tsp. of sugar
4 eggs, plus 1 egg white
1 1/4 cups flour
For the whipped cream
1 Tbs. of instant coffee powder
2 Tbs. of powdered sugar cup powdered sugar
2 cups of heavy whipping cream
Pinch of salt and 1 Tbs of cornstarch (optional)
2 ounces of dark chocolate
Splash of heavy cream
1. Combine the butter, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water and boil in a small saucepan. Once the mixture is boiling, remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Stir quickly with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a smooth dough forms and does not stick to the sides of the pan.
2. Add the dough to a bowl and beat in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Peaks should form in the dough.
3. Preheat to oven to 400 °. Fill a large plastic gallon bag with the dough and snip a corner in the edge. Pipe mounds of the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until the puffs are golden brown. Cool completely.
4. While the puffs are cooling, make the cream. Combine the coffee powder with 1 Tbs of boiling hot water and cool. Whisk either by hand or an egg beater the coffee, whipping cream, powdered sugar, and salt until a thick whipped cream forms. If the cream is too water, whisk in a tablespoon of cornstarch to stabilize it.
5. Make the ganache by putting a heat proof bowl over a gently boiling pot of water and combine the chocolate and cream until melted.
6. Assemble the cream puffs. Cut the puffs in half with a knife and set the tops aside. Dip the tops in the chocolate ganache and sprinkle tops with chopped nuts (optional). Put a heaping tablespoon of the cream in the bottom half of the cream puffs. Replace the puff tops. Refrigerate until ready to serve.