Cream puffs filled with simple vanilla whipped cream and covered in a dusting of powdered sugar are a classic dessert. But once you’ve mastered the recipe for the cream puff shell, it can be customized with all sorts of delicious filling to your heart’s desire!
Heat the milk, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering but not boiling, about 3 minutes.
Take the saucepan off the heat and mix in the flour to form a paste. Put the saucepan back on medium heat and cook the flour mixture, stirring constantly, until the dough forms and pulls away from the sides and bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes.
Transfer the cooked dough to a stand mixer bowl and beat with the paddle attachment to cool it down. Add 1 egg at a time and continue beating until each egg is completely incorporated before adding another.
Transfer the dough into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe 12 equal portions, about 1 ½” - 2” in diameter, on a lined baking sheet. Dip your fingers in water and smooth out each mound of dough so there are no peaks and spikes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Beat an egg with a tablespoon of water to make egg wash. Gently apply the egg wash on top of the dough using a pastry brush.
Bake for about 22 - 25 minutes until the shells are puffed and golden. Observe through the oven door but do not open the oven during baking. Turn off the oven and crack the door open, allowing the cream puffs to cool inside the oven for at least 15 minutes before removing them and let them cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the whipped cream, add heavy whipping cream, sugar and vanilla to a stand mixer bowl and beat with the balloon whip until stiff peaks form. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
When the cream puff shells are completely cool, split them open and fill with whipped cream, replace the top of dust with powdered sugar before serving.
This recipe makes a dozen small cream puffs but it can be doubled or tripled easily to make more.
Because the cream puffs are baked at a high oven temperature, use a light color baking sheet or an air insulated baking sheet to decrease the chances of the bottoms burning.