Cream puff dough. Pretty simple to make if you have a few clues of what to look for. Simple and impressive. Your family and friends will think you are a great and talented chef but if they only knew how easy this is… You will be taking simple ingredients most people have around the house and combing it into a transcendental little treat that will amaze your guests. Ok so maybe I am going a bit overboard on this. It is really simple and delicious.
Make up a bunch of cheese puffs and freeze them for later. They freeze great and re-heat nicely. Keep a bag on hand for a tasty after school snack or movie munchies for the whole family. If you are going to a pot luck everyone will be impressed with cheese puffs or cream puffs made from scratch and all you will need to do is pull them from the freezer and warm up a bit.
First off you need to have a stand mixer or hand-held mixer. You can do this by hand but it takes a long time to get the eggs and dough to mix right. Maybe it is just me because I have been hand kneading a lot of bread dough lately and my arms are sore.
You do not need a pastry bag just use a heavy-duty freezer bag and cut off the tip.
You can make up a double batch of the dough and after mixing in the stand mixer you can divide in half and mix cheese into one half and keep the other half plain for cream puffs.
I will list both weight and measurements so if you would like to expand the recipe use the weight and multiply. I have multiplied this recipe by as much as 8 times and it worked out great.
- 1/2 cup water or 4 ounces
- 1/2 cup milk or 4 ounces
- 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons or 4 ounces
- Large pinch of coarse salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour or 12 ounces
- 4 large eggs or 1 lb eggs
- 3 1/2 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (1 cup), plus more for sprinkling (omit cheese for cream puffs)
- Freshly ground pepper (omit pepper for cream puffs)
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- Pre-heat your oven to 425°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a saucepan, combine the water, milk, butter and salt and bring to a boil. Add the flour all at once and stir it in with a heat safe spatula until a smooth dough forms; stir over low heat until it dries out and pulls away from the pan, about 2 minutes. This can happen pretty quickly. When I made this recipe yesterday the dough pulled away from the sides of the pan in about 30 seconds so don’t worry if it happens fast.
- Scrape the dough into your mixer bowl; let cool for 1 minute. I usually beat it on the mixer for another minute with the paddle attachment to cool it even further because you do not want to cook the eggs. Beat the eggs into the dough, 1 at a time, beating thoroughly between each one. The dough may look seperated or curdled but just keep beating and it will come together.
- Add the cheese and a pinch each of pepper and nutmeg.
- Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip or freezer bag with the tip cut off and pipe tablespoon-size mounds onto the baking sheets, 2 inches apart. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 22 minutes, or until puffed and golden brown. I like to turn the cookie sheets half way through baking. Serve hot, or let cool and refrigerate or freeze. After freezing reheat in a 350° oven until piping hot.
You can be creative with the type of cheese you use. Try aged parmesan, comte, gruyere or any other sharp dry cheese. Add fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary finely minced, chives or italian flat leaf parsley finely minced. I have made blue cheese with finely minced bacon and chive cheese puffs that turned out delicious.
For cream puffs omit cheese, pepper and nutmeg and bake. Let cool and pipe fresh whipped cream inside. Top with melted chocolate.
Baked puffs can be frozen for up to 3 months in a heavy-duty freezer bag.