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Cream Puffs (step by step guide)

Cream Puff is a small dessert that originated in Italy.

Cream puffs have a flavour that will leave dessert lovers wanting more. Its charred and crispy shell, paired with its sweet and soft filling, is enough to turn your taste buds upside down.

Puffs come in a variety of small and delicate shapes.
You can squeeze the batter into a round cake shape to make a regular puff.
If you cover the top of the pastry batter with puff pastry, it becomes a puff pastry puff
Squeeze the batter into long strips and it becomes a lightning puff
If you draw a circle with the batter, it becomes a wreath puff
A mountain of puffs is formed by gluing a number of puffs through the caramel and calling it a puff tower.

Well, making puff pastry is not as difficult as you might think.
The basic principle is that when the flour is mixed with hot water, the starch in the flour becomes glued and absorbs a lot of water, making the batter very high in water content.
The baking in the oven causes the water vapour to evaporate from the batter, resulting in the formation of numerous small bubbles. These bubbles move faster in the batter due to the heat and then come together to form larger bubbles.

As long as the batter has good flow, these small bubbles eventually become one large bubble, which eventually breaks through the puff pastry and evaporates, which is why the puffs crack after baking.
At this point the heat causes the starch in the puff pastry to gel and the proteins to solidify, forming a strong supporting skeleton so that successful puffs do not collapse.

Low gluten flour does not easily form gluten and gives the batter good malleability, so it should not be replaced with high gluten flour.
The addition of butter makes the batter more malleable, which is essential for the puffs to grow.
The eggs play three important roles in providing moisture, emulsifying the butter and providing protein for a more supportive crust.

So the key to making puff pastry is –
1. Once the water has come to the boil, mix it with the flour and then continue to heat the batter to make it thoroughly pasteable, so that it can absorb more water and lay a good foundation for the puffs to expand.
2. The amount of eggs given in the recipe is only a guide, the batter should be adjusted to the right consistency to make the puffs rise smoothly.
3. Preheat the oven sufficiently in advance to allow the batter to expand quickly at a high temperature in the first part, and then lower the temperature to set the crust.
4. Spray the top of the puff pastry evenly with water to extend the time for the surface to harden in the oven, which will buy more time for the puffs to expand.
5. Once baked, leave the oven door open a crack for 10 minutes to allow the puffs to cool down slowly before removing from the oven to avoid sudden cooling and collapse.


  • Raw Materials

Low gluten flour 1.9oz
Eggs 3.5 oz
Water 3.5 oz
Butter 1.4 oz
Fine sugar 0.4 oz
Salt 0.6 dr

  • Step

1.  Beaten eggs

2. Add the water, butter, sugar and salt to the pan and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula, until it comes to the boil and then turn off the heat immediately.

3. Add the sifted low gluten flour and mix quickly until there are no dry particles.

4. Return to the heat and cook the batter, stirring constantly, until the batter is smooth and glossy and a film sticks to the bottom of the pan.

A film on the bottom of the pan

5. Turn off the heat and remove the batter to a separate mixing bowl to avoid the residual heat in the pan continuing to heat the batter. Set the batter aside to cool until it is not too hot, at which point start preheating the oven at 220°C.

6. Add the eggs in several batches, mixing well with chopsticks each time.
At the last stage of adding the eggs, lift the chopsticks frequently to observe the state of the batter and avoid adding too much.
When the batter comes out in a long inverted triangle when the chopsticks are lifted horizontally and the batter falls slowly, the consistency is just right.
If the triangle is too short, the batter is too sticky and the egg mixture needs to be added further. If the batter is so liquid that it does not lift with chopsticks, it is too thin.
If the batter is too sticky you can continue to add the egg mixture to adjust it, but if it is too thin, even if you add flour to adjust it, it is no longer the best batter and it is best to start again.

7. Put the batter into a laminating bag, cut out small slits of about 8mm and squeeze out round cake shapes, about 2 inches in diameter, perpendicular to the baking tray.
The rounds should be of a certain height (provided the batter is not too thin) and then spaced out a little to avoid them sticking together when they expand.

8. Dip your finger in a little water and then gently press the sharp corners of the top of each batter to avoid burning the top. Then spray the tops of the puff pastry batter with an even mist of water.

9. Place in the oven and adjust the oven temperature to 200℃ up and down for 15 minutes, then turn down to 180℃ up and 160 ℃ down for 15 minutes, taking 30 minutes in total.
When the baking time is up, open the oven door for a short time to allow the puffs to cool slowly and wait 10 minutes before taking them out.

10. Cool the puffs on a cooling rack after removing them from the oven. If you want to eat them right away, insert the puffs through the bottom with a puff pastry liner and squeeze in the filling until it spills through the small hole. If you don’t have a laminating nozzle, you can use a chopstick to insert it and then use a laminating bag to cut small slits to squeeze in the filling.
To store, seal the puffs without the filling and place in the freezer for a few minutes before serving.

Tips

1. You can use a small strip of paper to jam the oven door while cooling in the oven.
2. Place the puff pastry batter in the oven as soon as possible after it has been squeezed.
3. Don’t open the oven door halfway through the cooking process.

  • FAQs

1. Puffs won’t grow?
R. Batter is too thin or too sticky
A. Adjust the batter to the right consistency

2. Puffs collapse when they come out of the oven?
R. a. Insufficient baking time.

b. Open the oven door halfway.

c. Did not extend the baking time

A. a. Increase the baking time until the cracks in the puffs are coloured.

b. Do not open the oven door midway.

c. Leave in the oven for a while after the baking time is up.

3. Instead of a nice big air hole inside the puffs, there are multiple air holes of different sizes?
R. a. The batter is too sticky.

b. The baking temperature is too low.

c. The shape of the extruded batter is not right
A. a. Adjust the consistency of the batter.

b. Increase the oven temperature, preferably with an oven thermometer.

c. The batter should be shaped like a hemisphere, not like a gourd.

The most classic accompanying filling for puffs would be a pastry cream sauce.


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