This cream puff recipe is a delicious addition to your Italian dessert recipes collection. In Italy, if you were to order this delectable treat in a pastry shop, you would ask for "un bigne".
Usually filled with a vanilla or chocolate custard, you can also simply fill them with whipped cream!
They are also the basis for another tasty Italian dessert called "Bianchi e neri" (recipe coming soon!)
This is one recipe that is sure to impress your guests!
But as with all new recipes, I suggest you make a practice batch to make it your own.
Makes 12 pastries
To begin this cream puff recipe, first preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a square baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients: flour, sugar and salt. Set this bowl aside until you have completed the next steps.
In a medium sized saucepan, combine the butter and water. Turn the heat up to about medium and let the mixture come to a boil. When it is boiling, remove the pot from the stove and quickly add your dry mixture. It's best to do this with a spatula, although you can also use a *wooden* spoon (a metal spoon picks up and transfers heat, so try to avoid this).
After you've added these ingredients, bring the pot back over the stove and begin stirring the mixture until a dough begins to form and pull away from the sides of the pot. This should take only a couple of minutes of stirring. The dough will be very thick and smooth, you can make a large ball out of this!
Take the ball of dough out of the pot and place in a large mixing bowl, or electric mixer if you have one. You can either hand smash the dough or mix with an electric mixer until it has released some of its heat and is just slightly warm to the tough. At this point you can add the beaten eggs. It is important that the dough is not too hot or it will start to cook your eggs, and the last thing you want in your cream puffs is scrambled eggs!
The eggs with make the dough turn into a very thick paste. Now you can fill a pastry bag with the dough and squirt out a dozen mounds along the cookie sheet. I like to use a star tip so that the puffs have a tiny point at the top. If you don't have a pastry bag, you can use a large, heavy (freezer) zip-lock bag with the corner cut off to make each mound - or simply scoop them by spoon. Either way, make sure to leave a couple inches between them so that they have space to puff up and out.
Before baking the puffs, you may choose to beat another egg and use it as a kind of glaze over the top of the pastries, but this is not necessary.
You will need to bake the puffs for about 15-17 minutes at 400 degrees and then turn down the heat to 350 degrees. You'll continue to bake them for another 30-35 minutes or until the puffs look golden and become firm to the touch. If you want to check the inside of one, slide a knife inside and crack open to make sure the inside of the puff is dry.
When the pastries are done baking, turn off the oven, open the door and let them linger in the heat for an additional 10 minutes, this will ensure that they are fully dried out and baked. Take them out of their toasty home and allow them to cool completely before filling them.
To finish off this cream puff recipe, slice each pastry open, or you can do what my family usually does: poke a hole in the bottom of each one and use a pastry bag to fill with your favorite cream custard or whipped cream! Chill for one hour or serve immediately. These puffs look just divine when sprinkled with a little bit of confectionary sugar just before serving. Buon appetito!