You might have guessed it from the title: We're making cream puff pastries. If you ever read or watched a cream puff recipe you may have noticed that it looks super fancy and yummy but also impossibly complicated to make. At least that's what I always thought it was until I figured out how it works just trying it. And trust me - it's not impossible. There are a few rules you just have to follow. But if you take a little time off on a rainy afternoon and follow this recipe you should have no problems.
I added a little twist here by making raspberry syrup and coconut custard but that's totally optional. You can always fill them with whipped cream which is the classic and definitely quicker way and sprinkle on some powdered sugar. But if you stick to this recipe you will also have some leftovers to turn into lemonade. So now without further small talk: Let's go and find out how to make your cream puff dreams come true!
You will need:
for the puff pastry
- 115 g butter
- 250 ml water
- 1 pich of salt
- 140 g of flour
- 4 eggs
for the custard
- 3 egg yolks
(use the 3 whites to make macarons)
- 400 ml milk
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 150 g sugar
- 30 g corn starch
- 1 tbs vanilla
- 100ish g fine coconut flakes
- a hand full of raspberries
(I have quite small hands)
So both combined (to check for your shopping list):
butter - milk - water - salt - flour - eggs - coconut milk - sugar - corn starch - coconut flakes - raspberries - vanilla
The first thing to make is our dough. In Germany puff pastry dough is called "Brandteig" which translates to "burn dough". That's one of the fun things about this language: You can stick words together to form an endless one. And that's really what it is. A heated up dough that will leave a white layer in the pot, pretty much like burnt milk.
click through the pictures below to visualize the following:
1. Warm up you water in a medium size pot. Cut the butter into small pieces and let them melt in your water. There is no need to boil the mixture, just heat it up a little.
2. Now you can start adding in your flour and salt over a low heat, a little bit at a time. At this point you can still use your whisk to mix it. It might look like a lumpy mess at first but starts to combine and thicken up quickly. Now you can change to a spatula or a big spoon and start to mix and fold your dough to make an even and non-lumpy ball.
3. This is where the magic of puff pastry dough happens: You should notice a white layer on the bottom of your pot. Look at the last picture where I scrape off a little bit to show how it looks. Your dough is almost done now but I'd recommend to cook it just a tiny little more (mixing it) just to be absolutely sure that it's nicely cooked.
4. No. I didn't forget about the eggs. The dough will need to cool down a little so the egg won't set as you add it in. I'm not teaching you how to fry eggs here. Even though I really know people who might enjoy learning how to do it. But that's hopefully not you if you're reading how to make puff pastry.
However, turn off the heat and set the pot aside to cool down. We can now start making the custard and preheat the oven to about 200 degrees celsius.
The custard cream filling isn't too difficult to make either. Again you will just need to heat it up slowly.
1. Warm up your milk and coconut milk in a pot, just save some tablespoons. Dissolve your sugar and vanilla in it. Mix your egg yolks, corn starch and the rest of the milk in a small bowl. You could add all of these ingredients separately but this might lead to lumps and an uneven texture. By mixing them before you will achieve a perfectly combined creamy custard.
2. Make sure your milk is not boiling hot, just nice and warm. Again you really don't want your eggs in the milk to curdle immediately. Now you can start adding in your egg mixture very sloooowly continuously whisking it.
3. Keep whisking it over a low heat and watch it thicken up. Once your custard turns into a thick and creamy mixture you can set it aside too. The prevent it from forming a "skin" while cooling down you can put some clingfilm directly onto it. Now you can continue making the dough.
The dough mix should have cooled down by now, it doesn't need to be completely cold. You can now start adding in your eggs.
1. Add one egg at a time and start mixing it in. It is a little difficult at first but it will become easier as you mix it. Once all of your eggs are mixed in it should have a creamy consistency.
2. Take a piping bag or just a freezer bag and put it into a glass to fill it. You might have guessed it: Fill in your dough.
3. Pipe little circles on a lined baking tray. Just imagine making cupcake frosting - start from the outside and pile it up towards the inside. You know what I mean, don't you? You don't need to worry about them not being perfect as they will puff up in the oven.
4. Bake them! It should take about 25 minutes. You sould definitely see that they are nicely puffed up and light brown. Be very careful: If you open the oven in between or too early your little puffs will collapse and flatten. Just think about it, puff pastries have those big air pockets inside thet make them so puffy. Remember your physics class? Hot air expands. And if your little puffs are not sturdy enough yet they won't be able to stand up as the air inside them cools down. So be patient and wait until your puffs look browned and baked.
You could make your special filling while waiting ;)
This is where we can give the custard a little taste. Raspberries and coconut, yum! We will start by making the raspberry syrup. This is something you could see as an own recipe. It's so strong in colour and flavour, easy to make and very versatile.
1. Heat up you raspberries in a pot with a little water and an amount of sugar you prefer. the bottom of the pot should be covered in a thin layer, don't use too much water unless you're making more syrup with more raspberries. I like to pick fresh berries in the summer and store them in the freezer to have my own berries during the winter.
2. Once your berries are getting hotter they will start to stain the water because the little juice pockets explode from the heat. To help you can use a fork and mash them. Let the mixture cook for a few minutes and then pour it into a fine mesh over a cup. Stir it to collect your syrup in the cup.
3. We're done! That was super easy, right? For this recipe divide the custard cream and mix one half with your syrup. If it becomes too liquid combine it well and than heat it up again to thicken it a little more. Mix a few tablespoons of powdered sugar with a little bit of syrup to make pink icing.
The coconut version is even easier to make:
1. Use a little pan over medium heat (no added oil!) to toast you coconut. It will turn brown and smell heavenly very quickly, super easy to do.
2. Mix a little bit into your custard and save the rest for later. Now the same step as before: Mix a little powdered sugar with a tiny bit of milk to make white icing.
Last final steps, I promise!
1. Take your puffs out of the oven and let them cool down. Then take a knive and cut a little cross into the puffs.
2. Fill your two custards into piping bags or simply freezer bags and fill your puffs through the little hole you just cut.
3. For the coconut version brush on a thin layer of your icing as a "glue" and dip the top in you toasted coconut. For the raspberry version use a spoon to drizzle on some pink icing.
If you have some leftover raspberry syrup you can mix it with water, ice cubes and a little lemon to make lemonade.
I hope you enjoyed learning how to make cream puffs and are inspired to give them a try! I'd recommed you to start with a simple whipped cream filling and powdered sugar on top. Let me know in the commenst if you've tried to make some and have a great week!