Cream Puffs (Profiteroles)
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 25 to 30 cream puffs
Custard Filling:
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 3 cups milk (low-fat or whole, but not fat-free)
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ⅔ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
Choux Batter [adapted slightly from Julia Child’s recipe for Puff Shells (Choux) in Mastering the Art of French Cooking; published by Alfred A. Knopf]:
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 large egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for eggwash)
Chocolate Topping:
  • ⅔ cup (4 oz) good quality semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk (low-fat or whole, but not fat-free)
  1. For the Custard Filling: Whisk together the egg and egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside. Whisk together the milk, sugar, flour, and salt in a medium saucepan; bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and very slowly ladle the hot milk mixture into the egg mixture while whisking, adding just a drop at a time at first. Transfer the custard back to the saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium heat; boil 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Turn the heat off and whisk in the butter and vanilla. Strain the custard through a fine mesh sieve to remove any lumps. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on top of the custard (to prevent a skin from forming). Cool to room temperature, and then refrigerate to chill.
  2. Before filling the pastries, beat the custard until smooth with a handheld electric mixer. In a separate bowl, whip the cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the custard, adding ⅓ of the cream at a time. Pipe this mixture into the center of each pastry (see below for more detailed instructions on filling the pastries).
  3. For the Choux Batter: Preheat the oven to 400F and line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  4. Bring the water, butter, sugar, and salt up to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat, pour in all the flour, and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon to blend thoroughly. Put the saucepan back on the heat and continue to stir until the mixture thickens and forms a ball, and starts to film on the bottom of the pan, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn the heat off and let the dough cool slightly, about 3 to 5 minutes, then make a well in the center of the dough, break an egg into it, and beat vigorously until the egg is absorbed; continue this way until all 5 eggs are incorporated.
  5. While the dough is still warm, use a 1½ tablespoon ice cream scoop to scoop out it out onto the prepared baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches between each pastry. Lightly dip a pastry brush into the eggwash and very gently brush the top of each puff, being careful not to let the eggwash drip down the puff onto the baking sheet (this will prevent the puffs from rising).
  6. Bake for 20 minutes (rotating the pans once halfway through), then turn heat down to 350F and bake until the puffs are golden brown and firm to the touch, about 5 to 15 minutes more, checking them every few minutes.
  7. Remove the puffs from the oven and immediately pierce the side of each with a sharp paring knife (so the steam can escape). Turn the oven off, put the pastries back into the oven, and let them sit in there for 10 minutes with the door ajar. After this, transfer them to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  8. To Fill the Puffs: Fit a pastry bag with a basic small-medium tip (I like to use a 3/16-inch tip); fill the bag with the custard filling. Once the puffs are completely cooled, insert the tip of the pastry bag into the puff through the slit that you cut to let the steam vent; gently squeeze the custard into the puff and continue this way until all the puffs are filled.
  9. For the Chocolate Topping: Melt the chocolate and butter together in a microwave or double boiler, then stir in enough milk to make it smooth. Spoon a little over each filled pastry and let the chocolate set before serving.
  10. Store any leftovers in the fridge.
Scooping/Piping/Spooning the Choux Batter: I used a 1½ tablespoon ice cream scoop to measure out the batter, but you can just as easily use a pastry bag to pipe it into small circles (about the size of a half-dollar), or use two spoons to spoon it onto the baking sheets.
Recipe by An Edible Mosaic™ at