How do I hate thee, let me count the ways…

Sometimes being able to cook/bake is a curse. Gone are the days when you can go to a get together and swing by and pick up something from the store on your way there(even though that is what everyone else did). People expect a little more from you and you can often see the disappointment in their faces when you bring just cookies or something that is easy to make. When I was fresh out of pastry schooling I seemed to be double cursed as everyone and their mother(mine included) seemed to be volunteering my services to everyone…for free. Oh sure they would pay for the ingredients but it was always a friend or a friend of the family or such and the guilt would pile on whenever I thought of charging(I have since gotten over that :)). The number one thing people would volunteer me for were swan cream puffs. You know what I am talking about, those lovely little birds that get put out at fancy buffets. Having a baby shower, bridal shower, small wedding…no problem….Peabody is your girl. Until I met my death, otherwise known as the day I knew I would never make another swan cream puff again…that was the day I made 1500. Yes, 1500, you read that correctly. So to say the least I hate, hate, hate cream puffs(sorry Ivonne)…if I have to make them. If I don’t have to make them then I don’t have too much of a problem. Except I am picky. I am not a super pastry cream fan…especially in ƒ©clairs and cream puffs. I prefer diplomat cream..a blend of pastry cream and whipped cream. So enjoy this, because it will be QUITE some time before I make another cream puff. And before you ask…no I wont make cream puffs for you daughters/son/friends/whoever’s baby/bridal shower, birthday or wedding/anniversary.

Pate a Choux 

7 ounces water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3/4 ounces Unsalted Butter
5 ounces Flour – All Purpose
5 extra large eggs

Boil water, salt and butter  in a heavy saucepan.
Add flour while stirring, continue stirring for several minutes, until the mixture gets very hot and uniform in consistency. 
Transfer mixture to an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, and mix on Low speed for 2-3 minutes until mixture has cooled down. 
Crack the eggs into a clean container.
While still mixing on Low add the eggs, one at a time.  After the addition of each egg wait until the mixture absorbs it and becomes completely smooth again. 
Using a pastry bag, dispense the choux paste through the desired tip onto a paper lined baking pan or non-stick pan.
Bake in a hot oven 425°(F) until they have puffed and gotten some color, then reduce the temperature to 350°(F) until they dry out inside. Do Not Under bake or they will fall flat. Cut one open to check the inside for wetness, before removing from oven, if your not sure that they are done.
Make into small puffs – large puffs – small eclair – large eclair – small buchette – large buchette and riviera shells (paris brest). This formula will yield 25 to 30 small puffs or eclairs, likewise 8 to 10 of the larger items.

Source; The French Pastry Chef 

Pastry Cream

1/4 cup cornstarch
3/4 cup sugar(divided use)
2 cups whole milk(divided use)
4 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 pinch salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBSP unsalted butter

Combine the cornstarch with 1/4 cup of the sugar in a mixing bowl, then stir in 1/3 cup of the milk. Blend the yolks into the cornstarch mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until completely smooth.
Prepare an ice bath. Combine the remaining 1 1/2 cups of milk with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and the salt in a non-reactive saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Remove pan from the heat.
Temper the egg mixture by gradually adding about one-third of the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly. Add the remaining milk mixture to the eggs. Return mixture to the saucepan and continue cooking over medium heat, vigorously stirring with a whisk, until the mixture comes to a boil and whisk leaves a trail in the pastry cream, 5-7 minutes. As soon as the pastry cream reaches this stage, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract and the butter. Transfer the pan to the ice bath. Stir occasionally until the pastry cream is cool, about 30 minutes.
Transfer the pastry cream to a storage container and place parchment or waxed paper directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cover the storage container tightly and refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.

Diplomat Cream

1 package(2 1/4 tsp) powdered unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup cold water
2 cups pastry cream
1 cup heavy cream

Sprinkle the gelatin over the cold water in a small bowl and stir to break up any clumps. Let the gelatin soften in the water for about 2 minutes. Heat the softened gelatin over simmering water or in a microwave for about 20 seconds on low power until the granules melt and the mixture is clear. Stir the gelatin into the pastry cream by hand with a rubber spatula until blended.
Whip the cream in a chilled bowl until it holds a medium peak when the whisk is turned upright. Working by hand with a spatula, fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream in 2 or 3 additions, folding just until evenly blended.

Source: Adapted from Baking at Home with the Culinary Institute of America

Chocolate Icing
5 oz. semisweet Chocolate
2 oz. Butter
1/4 cup Water

1. Melt chocolate with water in a small pot over a low flame.
2. Once melted add butter, whisking the whole time. Should look shiny and creamy!
3. Remove from heat. Dip pate a choux top into the chocolate icing and smooth out with a spatula.

To assemlble: Cut the pate a choux puff into two parts with the top being bigger. Put diplomat cream onto the bottom half of puff. You can either pipe or just spoon it on there. Dip the choux top into the icing, waiting for icing to slightly harden. Place it onto of the diplomat cream filled bottom. See photos.


  1. You know it’s been an age since my Dad made cream puffs. That’s next on the list when he’s visiting next.
    I promise I’ll never ask you to make swans for daughters/son/friends/whoever’s baby/bridal shower, birthday or wedding/anniversary. Wait I don’t have a daughter, how about one for just me next Sunday for no good reason.

  2. You know I’ll bring the coffee.
    Yours are really beautiful here Peabody.

  3. Oh my godddd, that gigantic sandwich puff looks so gooooodddd, I love the custard thingy cream like you did, loving it !!:) Thanks for sharing :)

  4. What gorgeous puffs! With the final product looking this good, no wonder your services were requested by all and sundry!

  5. There is a lovely bakery here in town that makes delicious cream puffs — and they almost (almost) look as decadent and amazing yours.

    It took a Herculean effort yesterday NOT to buy one, and I can only imagine how difficult it is for your friends and family NOT to request these of you! They look absolutely amazing!

  6. Ah yes Pâte à choux! Love it. And I can hear you about “expectations” ;-) My friends know that too! ;-)

  7. Oh my goodness! If I lived near you, I would be at your door, sitting up like a dog, begging for one of those beauties! I adore cream puffs, but try to find a decent one! Thank you for showing the real thing!

  8. I cannot even imagine making that many cream puffs, or anything for that matter, and you can forget about it getting done in one day, more like 3 weeks.

  9. I think you need to change the name of your blog to “Desert Temptress”!

  10. Better not show B. this post. He has been going on and on about La Maison du Chocolat chocolate eclair and how it is the best he has ever had….as to challenge me to recreate it…no way since I also made about 1000 mini eclairs for a catered event and I swore it was the last time!! I feel your pain! Let’s admit it, they are darn good though!

  11. dispite your dislike of the things, i think you’ve made here a wonderful cream puff. and thanks for sharing the diplomat cream, i’ll give that a try some day

  12. Oh my gawd-this puff is incredible! I love the creamy filling the best-usually i eat that part first- i go for the good stuff! I see two creams, which do you perfer?

  13. Jann- if you look closely those aren’t two seperate creams…you have to have pastry cream in order to make the diplomat cream which is a combo of whipped cream and pastry cream.

  14. If I had to make 1500 cream puffs in one day … 1500 swan cream puffs in one day … I’d hate cream puffs too!!!


    But your (one) cream puff is a thing of beauty! Just waiting for me to sink my teeth into it!

  15. I don’t necessarily like the traditional pastry cream in cream puffs either. I do like sound of the filling that you use in this . It reminds me of the cream puff my sister-in-law makes. The filling would be a sweet thickened cream , and I know it has whipping cream in it. She would put pieces of mango in it too.

  16. Boy, do I feel your pain; it’s tough to be singled out as a baker (will I never again be allowed to supply the potluck with chips and gucamole?!).

    Your cream puff, however, looks delish!

  17. The ingredient list is simple – everything is already in the baking pantry! And the recipe seems simple, too, until the dip/harden step. Murder – esp. for 1500 of them.

  18. WOW!!!!!!!!! Thanks for sharing. Those look so good.

  19. I am glad those calories can’t come through the screen! Yummy : )

  20. These look delicious! The photography is beautiful! I can almost taste them from here!

  21. Peabody,
    they look fantastic – no wonder people ask you to cook/bake all the time.

    I’ve gone through the same baking birthday cakes. I charged for some, though. ;D

  22. Oh those look excellent!

  23. I am going to add THIS as something to make this year. I’ve never made a cream puff… my mom used to make them all the time and I love them! Thanks for the inspiration. I am so impressed!

  24. These left me drooling, the way many of your photos do. They just look amazing and so perfect for breakfast right now.

    Oh, i made the raspberry tart. It was incredible and such a hit! Thanks!

  25. Those cream puffs look amazing! I do have one question, do you really have no sugar in the icing? Isn’t that incredibly bitter? I think I might have to use a bittersweet or dark chocolate for that instead of unsweetened….

  26. hi there peabody,

    i gave the recipe a go. and my pate a choux failed miserably!!! the mixture was so watery that as soon as i put it on the baking tray .. they just spread into one big pancake .. =(

    any pointers on this one? thanks a bunch!


  27. I was looking around for Diplomat Cream recipes and what to do with it. These cream puffs sound delicious and theyre in the oven right now :)

  28. Kimberly Smith says:

    YUMMY!!!!! They are in the oven right now…………….. thanks for such great recipes. I can never have to many recpies that include chocolate in my recipe book. Thanks again

Speak Your Mind


Log In