Cream puffs are sometimes associated with petite, dainty pop-in-your-mouth, European-style of desserts… a little formal, a little fussy. Take that same cream puff and SUPER-SIZE it, stuff it with MOUNDS of freshly whipped cream and you have an entirely different dessert!
There is no dainty way to eat these Giant Cream Puffs (that are around five inches wide… seriously). Pick one up with both hands and get ready for a messy sweet treat of pillowy puffed goodness. Here is how you can make your own.
I used this basic recipe, but instead of 12 little puffs I made six Giant Cream Puffs.
I followed the recipe but added two tablespoons of sugar to the pastry for a little extra sweetness and switched the baking times to 20-30 minutes at 425 degrees, followed by 15 minutes at reduced temperature of 350 degrees.
One word of caution: Do Not Open The Oven Door While These Are Baking! Really, don’t even think about it…I opened the door in the last 5 minutes of baking and sadly watched my super-poofed puffs deflate by almost half (yeah, I know: They were actually going to be bigger!). They still tasted great but next time I will keep the door closed for the entire baking time.
Pastry Shell: Move the oven rack to bottom position and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment or Silpat and set aside.
Combine water, butter salt (and two tablespoons sugar if desired) in a medium sauce pan, heat until the butter melts then bring the mixture to a rolling boil (meaning: mixture should stay boiling even while being stirred).
Remove pan from heat and add all the flour at once, stirring quickly and continuously until the flour gets incorporated with the butter mixture. Return to heat and keep stirring until the mixture smooths out and pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and let cool for 10-15 minutes or until it drops below 125 degrees on a thermometer.
When the mixture has cooled, turn on mixer and slowly add the eggs, one at a time until the mixture is smooth and well combined. After the last egg has been combined, go ahead and mix just a little longer, approximately two more minutes.
Spoon or scoop the batter into six mounds on the prepared sheet. I used a large muffin scoop (just around six tablespoons of batter full) per mound to get six puffs. Space the mounds around three inches apart because these are going to EXPAND a lot!
Place pan in 425 degree preheated oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes until pastry is a deep golden brown. Do Not Open Oven Door While Pastry Are Baking Or They Will Deflate.
After baking, pull pan out of oven and quickly cut a small slit in each puff with a sharp knife. Return puffs to oven for another 5 minutes to allow steam to escape.
Place finished puffs on a rack to cool slightly then use a serrated knife to cut the tops off and let the puffs cool completely before filling. Exposing the centers of the puffs while cooling helps to keep them from getting soggy.
Whipped Cream Filling: Make whipped cream shortly before you are going to use it or do like I did and get yourself one of these handy dandy whipped cream dispensers (cream stays whipped and ready to use in the fridge for up to two weeks!).
When ready to serve the cream puffs, fill the bottom half of the puffs with mounds of whipped cream then replace their tops and dust with powdered sugar.