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Champagne Cream Puffs

January 4, 2011

This is all David Lebovitz’s fault. Let me explain.

I’ve never tried homemade cream puffs (sometimes called profiteroles) before, and in fact I was a little intimidated by them. The pate a choux pastry used to make the puffs just looked so delicate I thought there was no way I could make it without screwing something up. However, while paging through one of my Christmas gifts – Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz – I came across a pate a choux recipe that looked, dare I say it, easy. Just combine a handful of ingredients in a pot and stir. Really? That’s it?

Turns out, that is it. It really is just that easy.

Champagne Cream Puffs

Since New Year’s Eve was just around the corner, I figured what better occasion for cream puffs. And not just any cream puffs. They had to be champagne cream puffs, of course.

Look, if you can make pastry cream and you can stir things in a pot, you can make these cream puffs. And you definitely should, because holy deliciousness, Batman. I could not stop eating them. Literally. I had to send half of them to a friend’s house because I had eaten 3 before I even finished assembling them. I love that David Lebovitz’s pate a choux has flavor, something a lot of pre-made puffs lack. The champagne pastry cream was smooth and slightly sweet with a subtle aftertaste of champage that was just perfect. Combine the two, dip them in chocolate ganache, and stuff them in your face for any fancy occasion.

I know it’s only January, but I’m pretty sure these will be the best things I will eat in all of 2011. I just can’t imagine they’ll ever be topped!

Champagne Cream Puffs

Champagne Cream Puffs

Makes about 45 cream puffs

It you would prefer to make half as many puffs, halve the recipes for the pastry cream and chocolate glaze and freeze the other half the of the pate a choux puffs for later. You can also skip the chocolate glaze in favor of a dusting with powdered sugar.

These cream puffs are best served within a few hours of assembly, but if necessary hold up fairly well when chilled in the refrigerator overnight.

Ingredients
1 batch of Champagne Pastry Cream, below
1 batch of Pate a Choux Puffs, below
1 batch of Chocolate Glaze, below
* 1 metal decorating tip with a wide opening, such as Wilton 1M, 2A, or 230

Directions
Prepare the pastry cream first. Chill for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.

Pate a choux puffs can be prepared several hours before serving, or prepared ahead of time and stored in the freezer. If using immediately, let the puffs sit at room temperature. If frozen, thaw puffs at room temperature, then rewarm in a 350°F oven until warm and crisped.

Prepare the chocolate glaze an hour or so before assembly to allow time to firm up.

When ready to assemble the puffs, cut a small X in the side of each puff about halfway between the top and bottom. (You can do this in the same place you poked to release steam.) Fill a pastry bag fitted with wide-opening decorating tip with the champagne pastry cream. Insert tip into the X in the side of each puff and gently fill with pastry cream.

Once filled, dip the top of each cream puff in the chocolate ganache and set on a rack to firm up.

Serve within a few hours, or if necessary refrigerate overnight.

Champagne Pastry Cream

Adapted from Sprinkle Bakes

Resist the temptation to replace part of the heavy cream with milk. The acidity of the champagne will curdle the milk.

Ingredients
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 cup heavy cream, divided
1 cup champagne or prosecco
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 whole large eggs
4 large egg yolks
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions
In a large bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream, champagne or prosecco, and sugar. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve sugar, then remove from heat.

Beat the eggs and egg yolks into the cornstarch mixture. While whisking constantly, slowly pour about 1/4 cup of the hot heavy cream mixture into the cornstarch mixture to temper the eggs. Return the rest of the heavy cream mixture to heat and return to a boil. Pour the cornstarch mixture into the pot, whisking constantly until the pastry cream reaches a pudding-like consistency. Remove from heat. Stir in butter and vanilla extract.

Pour pastry through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl to remove any lumps. Cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

Pate A Choux Puffs

Adapted from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz
Makes about 45 small puffs

Ingredients
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

Directions
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats.

Bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as the butter has melted and the mixture boils, using a spatula, stir in the flour all at once until a thick paste forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat. Cool for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Briskly beat the eggs in one at a time with a spatula, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next, until dough is smooth and shiny.

Fill a large zip-top food storage bag (or pastry bag) with the dough. Snip 1/2 inch off the bag tip and pipe small mounds of dough about as wide as a quarter and 1 inch high (about 1 inch apart) on the prepared baking sheets. You should get 20-24 (5 or 6 rows of 4) per baking sheet.

Bake one sheet at a time at 425°F for 15 minutes, then lower oven temperature to 375°F. Continue baking for another 10-15 minutes, or until puffs are golden brown on top and sides. Turn off oven and let puffs sit in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and poke each puff on the side with a paring knife to release steam. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Use puffs the same day they are baked, or freeze them in a zip-top freezer bag for up to a month.

Chocolate Glaze

Ingredients
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons milk
4 ounces bittersweet (dark) chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions
Combine heavy cream, milk and chopped chocolate in a bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Stir well. Continue microwaving in 10 second intervals, stirring in between, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in confectioners’ sugar. Set aside to rest until spreadable but not runny. (You can pop it in the fridge for a little bit to speed this part up.)

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22 Comments
  1. January 4, 2011 1:29 pm

    Oh my goodness these look so good! Cream Puffs are one of my most favorite desserts and I could eat just the pastry on it’s own without any filling. I’m going to have to try these. Happy New Year! Looking forward to continuing to chat with you in 2011. :)

  2. January 4, 2011 1:38 pm

    I know you SAY that these are easy but I maintain that they are still quite a feat! So decadently beautiful. You certainly started out 2011 with some serious class.

  3. oneordinaryday permalink
    January 4, 2011 3:40 pm

    Wow, they’re just gorgeous.

  4. Tiffany permalink
    January 4, 2011 5:07 pm

    These look beautiful! And they sound absolutely delicious.

  5. January 4, 2011 5:35 pm

    Wow! Those do look amazing! But I hope you also eat things this year that are just as good. :)

  6. January 4, 2011 6:31 pm

    It’s look delicious!

  7. January 4, 2011 6:48 pm

    These look and sound amazing!
    I recently tried my hand at making pate a choux/ cream puffs too and I am absolutely hooked – what a great way to start off the New Year!

  8. feastonthecheap permalink
    January 5, 2011 11:33 am

    They look fabulous – I was totally intimidated by Pate a Choux until my mom taught me how. Profiteroles are my husband’s all-time favorite dessert so he was pretty pleased by my new skills in the kitchen

  9. delightfullysweet permalink
    January 5, 2011 4:15 pm

    A lot of things that are dislish are David Lebovitz’s fault!

    What lovely profiteroles!

  10. January 7, 2011 1:51 pm

    These look fantastic, you’re photography is beautiful! I’ve always wanted to make cream puffs, but been seriously intimidated. I’m definitely going to have to try this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  11. January 11, 2011 12:44 pm

    These look delicious! I love cream puffs, and I can’t wait to try this recipe!

  12. January 12, 2011 7:06 pm

    Hi,
    I found your blog in the PW, congratulations on being chosen for 1st Food Group!

    These cream puffs look beyond amazing and I bet they tasted even better. Thanks for the recipe and good luck! :-)

    Best wishes,
    Irina

  13. LondonLara permalink
    January 13, 2011 8:18 am

    Every week we have a Monday Morning Bake-off at work to kill some of those Monday Blues. My turn up is coming up on Val’s Day. I wonder if I have the guts to give this recipe a go? They look gorgeous!

  14. January 13, 2011 9:04 am

    Ohh, lovely! Champagne + cream + chocolate? How could these possibly be bad! Yum.

  15. January 14, 2011 1:26 am

    Wow those goodies are to die for! They look so yummy. Your pictures are mouth watering

    Raymund

    http://angsarap.wordpress.com

  16. January 14, 2011 2:32 pm

    They look amazing! I will feel so pampered if someone makes them for me, served with a glass of champagne!

  17. longhauler2170 permalink
    January 15, 2011 2:05 am

    wonderful just wonderful i love the food and the time you have put into this it is great

  18. January 21, 2011 1:15 am

    These will be outstanding for Valentine’s Day. You have inspired me to get over my fear of Pate A Choux. Thanks!

  19. January 21, 2011 5:49 pm

    Wow – gorgeous! Lovely decadent dessert. You should consider sharing it with a few more folks over at the weekly Saturday Decidedly Healthy or Horridly Decadent blog hop.

    http://ceodraiocht.wordpress.com/decidedly-healthy-or-horridly-decadent-blog-hop/

    Maggie

  20. January 24, 2011 11:22 pm

    Yum! Profiteroles AND champagne cream??? Must be a real treat! Will surely try them! Thanks for sharing! :-)

  21. February 9, 2011 11:28 am

    I’ve made cheese puffs before but never cream puffs. These look delicious. Next time you’re looking to get rid of some, send them my way. Please and thank you.

  22. March 22, 2011 1:23 am

    They all look wickedly yummy :p Can I have some please?

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