Cream Puffs are a classic French dessert of light and delicate pastry shells filled with pastry cream, topped with chocolate ganache, maraschino cherries, and dusted with powdered sugar.
This cream puff recipe comes from my grandmother’s kitchen and has the most delicious and easy to make filling. Old-fashioned cream puffs are the perfect holiday dessert!
Cream puffs which are an iconic French pastry readily found at French bakeries can easily be replicated at home in about an hour. The choux pastry dough is easy to make with a few simple and expensive ingredients.
Ready to create something truly amazing for the holidays? And our holidays would not be complete without this amazing holiday dessert!
My grandma was amazing in the kitchen! This cream puff recipe starts with my grandmother’s recipe for choux pastry and filled with simple pastry cream. Choux pastry or pâté à choux is easy to make!
Why this recipe works
- Easy to make dessert. Takes only minutes combine the ingredients!
- Made with simple ingredients, readily available in your local grocery store.
- Make ahead of time – Make the cream puffs and filling the night before to save time!
- Perfect homemade dessert – This cream puff recipe is the perfect holiday dessert or any occasion.
What you’ll need
- All-purpose flour
- Eggs – Used as a leavening agent help the pastries rise.
- Vanilla instant pudding – Used for the pasty filling folded together with the whipping cream.
- Whole milk – Added to the instant pudding.
- Almond extract – Adds a wonderful flavor to the pudding. Grandma insisted on it!
- Heavy whipping cream – Whipped up to stiff peaks and folded with the chilled instant pudding mixture.
How to make Choux Pastry for Cream Puffs
With just 5-ingredients, you’ll have choux pastry- water, butter (or shortening), salt, flour and eggs. It’s so simple to make this French pastry dough!
(Full directions and ingredients in the recipe below!)
Step 1: In a medium saucepan bring the water to a boil.
Step 2: Add the salt and butter or shortening.
Step 3: Add the flour, stirring until the mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan.
Step 4: Add the eggs, one at a time using an electric hand mixer.
How to make Cream Puff Filling
My grandmother created this egg-less version of pastry cream, so it is easier to transport during hot summer months!
Step 1: Combine one package of instant vanilla pudding, almond extract and milk.
Step 2: Fold together with the whipped heavy cream.
Prepare the cream puffs the night before your picnic. Place them on a half sheet pan, cover loosely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight. Dust them with powdered sugar right before serving.
Besides the shape. The main difference between a cream puff, which is round, and an éclair, which is oval, is that cream puffs often have a whipped cream filling and just dusted with powdered sugar instead of chocolate. Eclairs often have a custard filling and have a frosted chocolate topping.
More Dessert Recipes
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- 1 cup water
- ½ cup vegetable shortening or butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs room temperature
- 1 (3.4 ounce) package vanilla instant pudding
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- ¾ cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2-3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons corn syrup
- maraschino cherries (drain the maraschino cherries)
- mint leaf candies cut into pieces with kitchen shears
- powdered sugar for dusting
- In a medium saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add the shortening or butter, and salt. Let the water return to a full boil and then remove from the heat.
- Add the flour, stirring until the mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan.
- Using an electric hand mixer on high speed, add the eggs one at a time, making sure to mix well between additions. The mixture will be very smooth and silky looking. Allow cream puff batter to cool completely.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Using two large tablespoon drop the batter in about 8 to 9 scoops on the prepared baking pan. (or use a cookie scoop or pastry bag to pipe cream puffs onto sheet pan.)
- Bake for 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set pan on a baking rack to cool.
- In a large bowl add the vanilla pudding, milk, and almond extract; blend together. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator.
- When ready to fill cream puffs, add the heavy cream to a large bowl and use an electric hand mixer to whip to stiff peaks. Fold the pudding mixture and whipped cream together using a spatula.
- Slice the tops off the cream puffs, removing and discarding some of the pastry with your fingers. Scoop the filling into each cream puff.
- Create a double boiler by bringing a medium pot of water to a simmer over medium heat. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the simmering water, adding the chocolate chips, butter, heavy cream, and corn syrup to the bowl.
- Stir mixture together with a spatula until the chocolate is melted and combined.
- As soon as this mixture starts to melt, turn the heat off and stir until smooth.
- Once cream puffs are cooled, fill them with pastry filling.
- Cut tops off of the cream puffs using a sharp knife.
- Either spoon pastry cream filling with a large spoon or pipe it inside of cream puffs using a pastry bag.
- Cover pastry cream with cream puffs tops.
- Drizzle warm chocolate over top of the pastry filled cream puffs. Decorated with drained maraschino cherries and mint leaf candies. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate.
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