Whether called a profiterole, choux à la crème, or cream puff, these pastries are as magnificent as they look and sound! A cream puff is made from only a few ingredients and results in a puffed ball that is light, airy, somewhat hollow, and ready to be filled with pastry cream or whipped cream of any flavor you choose.
Growing up, my mother would make us tiny cream puffs for New Years Eve. She would even create a glorious croquembouche. A croquembouche, simply put, is a grand tower of choux pastry balls that is bound by threads of caramel. Hers was truly beautiful. It left us marveling in the magic of the choux tower and spun sugar that glowed as much as my mother did as she reveled in our glee. In fact, if a dessert could represent my mother, it would be the exquisite croquembouche. Just take a look at this croquembouche tower from Croquembouche Pâtisserie, a busy Patisserie located in Australia.
Cream puffs are graceful, chic, and an awe inspiring treat for any occasion. And as you can see from this tower, the possibilities of even one small and sweet idea can be endless and exquisite.
Since cardamom and rose water go so beautifully together, I gave these cream puffs a little kick for the holidays! Find all you need to know about Cardamom here – The Holiday Baking Spices.
When making cream puffs you need to create a type of dough that is somewhat similar to making a roux. You will start on the stovetop, warming your butter, sugar, salt, and milk. You add your flour and cardamom all at once and mix to make a warm dough ball.
Your dough will then get transferred to a mixer or food processor. And of course, you may do this by hand in a big bowl. I chose to use my food processor. I let my dough cool for a few minutes before incorporating my eggs (one at a time). Bea pulsed and we got this beautiful mixture.
To get uniform and perfect puffs, it is best to use a piping bag. However, using to spoons to scoop will also work. As you can see, I used the spoon method this time! Make sure to brush your dough balls with the egg wash for that beautiful brown crust.
You will start with a hot oven and let the hot air hit and infuse the choux. This will get them to puff up as they cook. Then you will turn your oven down after 10 minutes. I rotate the pan halfway to ensure equal treatment for all puffs involved.
See how they puff! A common mishap when making this type of pastry is that they can flatten. I usually cut them in half with a serrated knife only a few minutes after they come out of the oven. They will be hot, however, I find this prevents the flattening. Just remember to let them cool completely before filling.
To see how to make perfect choux pastry, check out, Choux Pastry.
And this is where you get to make a dazzling decision – what are you using for filling?! Cream puffs can be filled with so many options. Often, eclairs (made the same way only shaped differently) are filled with pastry cream while cream puffs are filled with whipped cream.
I chose a rose water whipped cream. My family loves the distinct flavor and scent of rose water. As you can imagine, rose water comes from steeping rose petals in water. Rose water is a common flavoring ingredient for Middle Eastern and Southern Asian cuisines. You will find rose water in many Sri Lankan desserts. Culinary rose water is commonly found in Ethnic grocery stores, World Market, and of course, online through marketplaces. Rose Water gives these cream puffs the star power they deserve! And it could not be easier to whip up.
Cardamom Cream Puffs with Rose Water Whipped Cream
Ingredients: (makes 30 average size cream puffs)
- 1/2 cup of milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 5 tablespoons of butter
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cup of all purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 beaten egg for egg-wash (optional)
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, warm your butter, milk, water, salt, and sugar. Have your cardamom and flour mixed in a separate bowl. Turn off heat and mix in flour and cardamom at once until a soft dough ball forms. Then transfer to your food processor or stand mixer. Let cool for 5 minutes. Then add eggs one at a time, mixing until well incorporated. Mix for a full minute after last egg is added.
- Then fill a pastry bag and pipe out dough balls.
- Brush with egg wash.
- Bake for 10 minutes at 425 then reduce oven to 375. Bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Let cool entirely before filling.
Rose Water Whipped Cream:
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons Rose Water
- 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla extract
With a hand mixer whip until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Either pipe filling or use serrated knife to cut puffs and spoon in filling.
If you make a croquembouche from these cream puffs send me a photo!
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