How often does a person make Pate A Choux? For this person, it’s when you get to the Pate A Choux chapter in the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. At first, I was pretty excited about making Cream Puffs. I mean, come on, who doesn’t love a great cream puff? I do! At least I did until I tried to make my own. It wasn’t all bad, but boy was this a lot of work for something that, and I quote “are best as soon as they are filled, but can be refrigerated for 1 hour.” Umm, 1 hour?
I actually thought making the dough was pretty easy. There are only a few ingredients, flour, water, eggs, butter, salt, and water.
Essentially, you cook the water, butter and salt on the stove until the butter is melted and then add in the flour to create a paste. I’ve seen this done a thousand times on The British Baking Show or a Food Network baking production and thought it seemed pretty simple. In fact, it was. I got it to the correct consistently, threw it into the mixer and started adding the eggs. Having never made this before, I wasn’t too sure what I ended up with was correct, but not knowing for sure, I put the dough in the molds I bought and threw them into the freezer. Yes, this is another recipe where you can take them out one at a time to cook. Too bad I didn’t do that.
First confession! “Transfer the dough to a pastry bag and pipe into the mold.” Yeah, I didn’t do that. I was just so tired! It took much longer than I thought to make the dough, and I was almost positive I did something wrong. I just spooned the dough in. It wasn’t pretty.
I left these in the freezer until the next weekend when I thought I’d conquer the “Cookies for Cream Puffs.” These are not real cookies! they are some kind of crumbly mix of brown sugar, flour, and a very small amount of butter than I was supposed to roll out and then cut into nice round shapes to place on the top of the cream puffs. The idea being to create a crunchy outer layer to contrast nicely with the soft puff.
You can tell from looking at this dough that it was one hot mess. I rolled and froze, rolled and froze, and then just gave up and took the cream puffs out of the freezer, placed them on a pan, put cookie dough bits on top and threw them into the oven.
While these were cooking I started making the Pastry Cream. It’s not a Cream Pull without that cream, right? I’ve made pudding’s and custards from scratch before so I actually found this to be a pretty easy process. However- 2nd confession- I was supposed to use whole milk, and we only had 2% milk in the fridge. Guess what? It worked anyway. It may not have been as luscious as if I’d used whole milk, but you can still get a pretty good pastry cream. The hardest part of this process was putting the cream through the sifter to get the chunks out. I got impatient and just ended up dumping it all into the bowl to chill.
This time I did actually use the pastry bag and you know what? No longer afraid of it. I found these reusable bags that you can wash out and it was really quite easy!
So, I take the puffs out of the oven and I’m pretty pleased! I think they rose the way they were supposed to? I will admit, there was a second batch that was slightly bigger and they collapsed. Note to self, leave the bigger ones in a little longer than the smaller. Once these had cooled, and the pastry cream was also cool, I piped the cream into the puffs.
You can’t tell, but there are cream in those puffs! Here’s the problem. No one felt like eating them! We all had one to taste and then I put them in the fridge where they got kind of soft and doughy. Not good. So, be warned, they are really serious about that time in the fridge. No more than one hour, otherwise all of that hard work will go to waste.
I worked so hard, over two weekends on these, and I have to admit, I was disappointed! I think I had profiteroles in my head and the cream just didn’t do it for me. I’d much rather of had ice cream! LOL.
Would I make these again? Not even for a dinner party. It took way too long, had to many moving parts and the shelf life is too small. I’m glad I did it the one time, but it’s not happening again!
Until the next recipe!
Click this link to purchase! Bouchon Bakery (The Thomas Keller Library)
4 thoughts on “The Reading Chick Also Bakes: Bouchon Bakery-Cream Puffs”
I have had eclairs but never cream puffs. Do they taste similar? Yer posts are making me understand why bakery goods are so expensive.
x The Captain
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I actually wondered the same thing! I believe the dough is the same, but in my mind the chocolate on top of an eclair makes all the difference. I should’ve just dunked them in chocolate! Lol. As far as your comment about the expense? I’m sure it doesn’t take the pro’s as long as it does a novice to make them. Except for the mold I actually had all the ingredients on hand so the expense wasn’t too bad. The time though? In total it took about 6 hours, which is a lot for something that doesn’t have a long shelf life! Thanks for commenting!
They look good. I’m not a big cream puff fan. The dough on puffs and eclairs is too eggy for me. I would’ve tried one, though.
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I thought the same thing. It tasted eggy which is not a favorite flavor of mine. I got the consistency right though. I have to give myself five starts for that. Lol.
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