Hello everybody!It has been a while I wanted to post my favorite recipe to prepare cream puffs from scratch (in Italy we call it BIGNE’) and since many of you has asked me multiple times do to so, finally, here is it!
I have to be honest: my first few attempts to make cream puffs ended in total disasters, but after a few tries I mastered (or at least I hope so) a foolprof recipe that should work for everyone, even the less skilled baker 🙂 But before to share it, you need to promise me:
1) that you will use a kitchen scale (precision in quantities is essential in this recipe);
2) that you will place your eggs out of the refrigerator at least a couple of hours before baking, so to use those at room temperature;
3) to make sure your eggs are not too big (the batter will be too runny and the choux will be too wet), or too small (the batter will be too dense and will not raise) remember to weight the eggs in separate continers like in the picture below;
4) at the very first time you’ll make it, you will have to watch carefully how your oven works, because EVERY OVEN works differently and baking time and temperature may vary from oven to oven.
5) before starting with the baking part, make sure to arrange a) a big oven sheet lined with parchment papar; b) a Sac a poch with 1/2 inch round tip, but if you don’t have one, a ziplog bag cut in a corner will do; c) a spatula to move quickly the batter from the stand mixer bowl into the Sac A Poche .
I know!!! A long list, but I promise, this way it will work!!!
That said, you should know that I love making cream puffs batter (aka choux pastry) because it requires just six ingredients that are usually in the kitchen (butter, egg, flour, sea salt, whole milk) so whenever I feel like, I make some. Once baked the cream puffs can be store in the freezer and filled when needed. So it’s always useful keeping a bunch in the freezer! Another reason why I adore made from scrach puffs is because ready, you can fill it with whatever cream you like, even a savoury one!
But stop talking and get to the point! Here is my foolprof recipe for making cream puffs from scratch!
INGREDIENTS for 20-24 puffs
100 gr. water
100 gr. whole milk
100 gr. butter
4 large eggs (total weight around 200-210 gr.)
150 gr. all purpose flour
1 pinch of salt
FOR THE PASTRY CREAM
Use this recipe
FOR A NUTELLA VERSION
use same amount of nutella and heavy whipped cream and mix
FOR THE GLAZE
melted white chocolate or
melted dark chocolate
optinal: sprinkle to taste
In a sauce pan, heat the water, milk, butter and a pinch of sea salt over medium heat. When it reaches the boil sift in the flour. With a wooden spoon keep stirring energically to get the flour well incorporated in the liquid ingredients, to get a dense batter. Keep stirring without lowering the heat for 2 to 3 minutes. The batter is ready when it starts to leave a white coating on the pot’s bottom.
Move the batter into the standing mixer’s bowl with hook. Don’t panic if you don’t have a standing mixer, you can move the batter to an empty bowl and mix by hand (it will be a great biceps workout!). Keep stirring the batter until cooled off: it will be easy to know when to start adding the eggs: when the batter will quit smoking it means it has reached the perfect temperature to add the eggs. Add the eggs, one a time, adding the following egg only when the previous one has been well absorbed.
Preheat the oven at 390 F. Using a spatula, fill a Sach a poche (or a zip-log bag with a cut corner) with the batter and arrange small balls of batter – I would say a walnut size – on the baking sheet keeping apart from each other because they will considerbly puff up (about double in size). Before baking, wet a finger with some water and flattened the tip of the balls, so your puffs will turn out perfectly rounded.
Only when the oven has reached 390 F. bake the puffs for 10 minutes. Then turn on the oven temperature at 410 F and bake until the puffs look puffy and colored on top… NEVER EVER EVER open the oven before they are done, otherwise you will spoil the raising process….
The puffs looks so cute empty, but when they’ll be filled and glazed they will also look appealing and taste amazing! At this point you have three options:
A) When the puffs are cooled off, make a small hole to their bottoms with a scissors’ tip and then filled those with your favorite cream. I use pastry cram with a melted white chocolate glaze, or Nutella mixed with heavy whipping cream, glazed with melted dark chocolate.
B) Store the puffs in a cookies jar for max 3 days and fill those anytime you want.
C) Store the puffs in the freezer. When you want to eat it, move those at room temperature and wait to fill and glaze only when they are completely thaw. Once filled and glazed they will taste as fresh baked.
LEARNT IT, MADE IT, LOVE IT!!!
TIPS: -Not to sound annoying but for this recipe to turn out right, you truly have to be as precise as you can.
– When you are done adding the eggs to the batter, don’t overwork it, otherwise il will became watery.
– If you like baking, these cream puffs look even better if served with other classic italian pastries like Italian meringues and cannoncini . Look how professional this tray looks, even though these pastries are all home made.
– I had fun writing the number #10 with cream puffs at my daughter’s tenth birthday… it didn’t look super neat, but she loved it and besided being delicious, it was a kind of “pull apart cake” where everyone could easily help themselves by taking a cream puff out of the pile!
I really hope my cream puffs recipe will work for you too, and if does,
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my ITALIAN desserts, these tarts included, are available upon orders.
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