It’s funny how the most complicated recipes become so uncomplicated after you do them a few times.
I used to be intimidated by cream puffs. You start on the stove? Then mix in your mixer? You have to pipe the batter? And they have to bake properly so they puff up and remain almost empty inside?
Yes. All true. But it all happens very easily.
Here’s my recipe for the batter they call pate a choux. You can make cream puffs or eclairs — depending on the shape that you pipe.
And here’s a tip. No need for piping on the puffs. You can use 2 teaspoons to make a small (and doesn’t need to be perfect) round of batter on your baking sheet.
After they come out of the oven. Poke each one with a toothpick to allow steam to release. If you don’t do that, the steam may stay inside and might make the inside too wet.
Cut them in half side-wise. Dollop some vanilla ice cream, and put the top on. Of course, you can fill them with pastry cream instead. But if we’re keeping this easy, ice cream does the trick! You can also dust them with powdered sugar, or not (optional)…
…but do drizzle some chocolate sauce on top of each serving.
Cream Puffs w Ice Cream & Chocolate Sauce
1 cup water
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 cup flour
1 pint vanilla ice cream
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Heat the water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan until bubbling. Take off heat and add the flour. Whisk to combine till incorporated. Put back on the heat and whisk until mixture dries a bit and pulls easily from the sides of the pan.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of a mixer using the paddle attachment. Add the eggs one at a time until each is fully incorporated. Mix until you have a smooth batter, but don’t overmix. Place batter into a piping bag with a small tip with a round hole (or use a ziplock bag and cut a small hole in the corner). Work with half of the batter at a time. (Or instead of piping, use 2 teaspoons to spoon batter onto baking pan.)
On a parchment-lined sheet pan, pipe small balls about an inch and a half big. (Batter should fill 2 sheet pans.) Bake until golden about 20 minutes. Let puffs cool and poke each one gently with a toothpick to allow steam to escape.
Cut each puff in half. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of ice cream to bottom half. Cover with top half. Serve 2-3 to each person. Drizzle chocolate sauce.
3/4 cup chocolate chips (preferably bitter or semi-sweet)
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 cup heavy cream
Melt the chocolate, cream, and instant espresso in a small heavy saucepan until combined and smooth. Drizzle sauce lightly over filled cream puffs.