Two things come to mind when I hear the words cream puff. First, is the amazing dessert I had during the holidays growing up. Second, was my wedding dress. Being 5’1 and wearing a HUGE tulle ballgown dress that literally swallowed me up…well I just always say I looked like a cream puff!
Anyways, ahhhh the beloved cream puff. Growing up in my native Michigan…I feel like there were TONS of restaurants that offered a Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puff on their menu. In Nashville, I have yet to find one. But that’s ok! Because I just learned how to make them myself and they are just as good, if not BETTER then a restaurant. Sanders Hot Fudge is locally made in Detroit and is by far the best fudge you will ever have in your life. I have to have it on a cream puff! It’s amazing. I have a jar on hand at all times.
This past Easter weekend I had the pleasure of hosting some of my family in town from Detroit. My two Aunts Norina and Maria (as well as my dad) were all born in Alcamo, Sicily and moved to the states many years ago. I grew up traveling there in the summer. It’s an amazing place. What’s even more amazing is the food. You haven’t lived until you gone to Sicily and had pizza. There is no comparison. It’s been quite a while since I’ve been back and I’m afraid too to be honest because I think I would gain 25 pounds. Not to mention the thought of putting my 2 and 4 year old boys on a plane for a 24 hour travel day sounds like a total NIGHTMARE. I do plan to go back soon though!
My aunts are like machines. THEY DON’T STOP! I was up for 5 minutes on Friday morning and my aunt said to me, “Get up let’s maka tha creama puffa!” I’m like, you’ve got to be kidding me. In one day they cleaned out my whole fridge and freezer, stocked it with sicilian cookies-banana bread (just what I need), sundried tomatoes straight from sicily. Folded all my laundry. Took all of my produce that I had in bags, washed it all and put it in ziplock bags. I mean they really DON’T STOP. I so appreciate having them around.
They’ve always made amazing cream puffs. They don’t put hot fudge on them…BUT I DO! We decided to make them for Easter and of course I documented every second. They always seemed so intimidating to me and I was shocked by how easy they actually are to make! After a little googling, I discovered that this is actually a pretty common cream puff recipe. I thought that they had something really special on their hands here here. Haha! Nope. Found pretty much the same thing on Martha Stewart’s website. I’m attaching her video demonstration because it’s really helpful. And because I’m not into the whole videotaping myself thing….yet at least. That would require me to look presentable when I cook and right now, that ain’t gonna happen! So you can watch Martha. Or whoever this dude is in the video! Cream Puff Video Demo
Ok here we go!
CREAM PUFF SHELLS
1 CUP WATER
1 STICK SALTED BUTTER
1 CUP ALL PURPOSE FLOUR
1 TSP. SUGAR (OPTIONAL)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and quickly stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until a film forms on the bottom of the pan.
Remove from heat and transfer contents to a bowl to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Add 4 eggs, one at a time with an electric mixer to incorporate egg after each addition.
Grab a spoon a drop out about 1 1/2 TBS. of dough onto the paper. OR you can use a pastry bag like Martha and transfer the dough to a large pastry bag fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip. Pipe 1-1/2-inch rounds onto each prepared pan. Gently smooth the pointed peaks with a moistened finger, rounding tops to ensure even rising. Bake until puffs rise and are golden brown, about 45-50 minutes. (My oven took 1 hour) Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Puffs can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day. Do not cover them…THEY WILL GET SOGGY!
Now, let’s get to the filling!
This is a basic lemon cream. Almost like a custard. You don’t have to add the lemon if you don’t want to! I love it. Or, you don’t have to make the cream at all. Just do a little scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge. Mmmmm. Whatever floats your boat. This is super easy.
LEMON CREAM FILLING
4 CUPS OF WHOLE MILK (divided)
2/3 CUP OF CORN STARCH
1 CUP SUGAR
1 TSP VANILLA
1 LEMON ZESTED
3 EGG YOLKS
Combine corn starch and sugar in a medium saucepan. Stir to combine. Then slowly whisk in 3 1/2 cups of milk, 1/2 cup at a time until all of the lumps are gone. When smooth, add the zest of one lemon to the pan along with 1 tsp of vanilla, set aside.
Whisk together 3 egg yolks and combine with the remaining 1/2 cup of milk. Stir into the pain with other ingredients. Place pan on the stove and cook over medium heat while stirring constantly. Cream will start to thicken up in about 10 minutes.
Cover with plastic wrap. Make sure to push the plastic down onto the cream so no air gets in. Refrigerate overnight or at least 4-6 hours.
When cooled, break up with a knife. Then use an electric mixer and mix on low until soft and fluffy.