I haven’t made cream puffs in ages, but last week my daughter and I decided to take a whirl at ones filled with blackberry and pastry cream/whipped cream. The cream puff recipe is pretty standard, and then you can add what every flavour suits your fancy.
Preheat your oven to 350F, and put parchment paper on baking pans. We drew a dozen 1.5″ circles on each piece of parchment to use as a size guide, and then flipped the sheets over. You will also need a skewer or toothpick, so might as well find that before you start. I always make the pastry cream and blackberry sauce first so they have a chance to chill while the pastry is baking and cooling.
Cream Puff Pastry
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
1 cup water
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup flour
1 extra egg for egg wash
Combine the water, butter, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the flour, stir in, and beat for a couple minutes until the ball comes together well. Remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl. Let the pastry cool for 3-4 minutes. One at a time, add the eggs to the pastry, beating in well after each addition. It should come together into a ball.
Add the pastry dough to a piping bag with a 5/8″ tip (usually I use a plain one, but I could only find the star one which worked out fine). Pipe onto the parchment, filling each circle. They will look like large, white Hershey Kisses. Using a wet finger, tap the peaks down to make a rounded shape (so the peaks won’t burn).
Beat the remaining egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush this egg wash on top of the cream puffs. Bake for 30 minutes or until the tops are golden.
Immediately transfer them to cooling racks, poking a hole in each one with the skewer. I like to do this near the base and then use that hole to fill them later. (If you do not poke a hole, the steam inside the cream puffs cannot escape and they will become soggy). Let them cool completely.
Simple Pastry Cream
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
pinch of salt
2 cups milk
4 egg yolks
2 Tbsp. butter
Bring everything to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly. Let boil about a minute until it thickens. Remove from heat and add 1 tsp. vanilla extract. You can sieve it at this point, but I don’t usually have any egg residue to sieve out. Cover surface with plastic wrap and chill.
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch
1/4 cup water
* you can add 1 Tbsp. of creme de cassis if your blackberries are not very fla
Stir the sugar and cornstarch together in a saucepan. Add the berries and water. Begin to heat. Using a potato masher, squash the berries to release the juice. Stir until the sauce begins to thicken and bubble. Remove it from the heat and sieve the seeds out. Chill.
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. sugar
Whip cream until soft peaks form. Slowly add the sugar and vanilla and whip until somewhat stiff.
Stir the blackberry sauce into the pastry cream to thin it. Fold in the whipped cream. Using a piping bag and a #5 tip, pipe the mixture into the cream puff, using the hole you poked to let the steam escape. You can feel the cream puff expand in your hand as you fill it. You want a nice bit of filling, but stop before it explodes – haha.