A simple but elegant dessert to treat yourself to are cream puffs! Throw a little chocolate into the dough and now you have super tasty chocolate cream puffs. These chocolate cream puffs are filled with white chocolate cheesecake filling and are complimented with a raspberry coulis. Feel free to make this the next time you want a little treat after a fancy date night dinner!
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Let’s just get this out there, cream puffs are delicious. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t like them! They’re perfect round buttery pastries filled with a yummy cream! There is seriously nothing to not like about them.
Yet people buy them constantly from the store and they wouldn’t be any easier to make at home!
With the only technical aspect of these delicious little puffs being timing, there is no reason why you need to buy them in the store! Especially when you can make chocolate filled ones and fill them with whatever you want!
What’s Another Name For Cream Puffs
As I was researching cream puffs and what to name this particular recipe, I thought that it would be most important to talk about the different names for cream puffs. It seems to me, after consulting The Deluxe Food Lovers Companion (which sits on my desk next to my computer), that cream puffs and profiteroles, the French term, are one in the same. They’re both made from pate a choux (or choux pastry, or éclair paste) and filled with a yummy filling! Though, I will say that profiteroles can be filled with a savory or sweet filling whereas cream puffs are only sweet.
What is the Difference Between Cream Puffs and Eclairs
This is rather simple because while eclairs and cream puffs are made from the same pastry dough, they are shaped differently. Cream puffs are round little pastries, while eclairs are elongated. They’re also, mainly, filled with the same filling.
How to Make Cream Puffs From Scratch
Once you get the timing of making the choux pastry, it’s really a cinch to making cream puffs. The only thing that you need to be aware of is that you need to work fast! Having everything staged out and ready to go before hand, or what us fancy chefs like to call “mise en place,” makes it a whole lot easier to make gorgeous and puffy cream puffs. For more awesome tips to help you be more organized in the kitchen, be sure to check out this post!
Here are the tools that you’ll need to make cream puffs:
- Sauce pot (at least a 1 qt, maybe 2 qt depending on how many you want to make)
- Stand mixer, or a bowl and a wooden spoon
- Piping bag
- Baking sheet pan
- Silicone mats, or parchment paper
I find that I make my life a whole lot easier especially in the baking world if I take the time to measure out all my ingredients, line my sheet pan, get my piping bag ready, and preheat my oven. That way I just have to move from one step to another to another without any hiccups. Everything goes a whole lot smoother and quicker that way.
After you have brought the water and butter to a boil, you add the flour and then you mix as fast as possible with a whisk. This just gets the dough started and you don’t want the dough to get any color on it.
I have seen people incorporate their eggs into their choux pastry by hand with a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon, and that’s fine but I feel like it’s so much easier to mess up the dough this way. If you don’t incorporate the eggs fast enough, you really don’t end up with a homogenous dough. You could definitely try a hand beater if you have attachments that can handle dough. I like my stand mixer and while it’s one more bowl to clean, at least it beats in my eggs fast enough.
Usually I’m pretty willy nilly about adding eggs into batters and dough and sometimes don’t add them in one at a time or don’t scrape the bowl after each addition. With this particular choux pastry dough, I do follow that rule. This really helps your dough come together nicely!
Why Are My Cream Puffs Flat/ Not Hollow
Cream puffs are meant to be nice and puffy with a hollow middle. If you don’t work fast enough, your cream puffs won’t wise as much. That’s because the steam created from the eggs helps puff up the cream puffs. This principle is very similar to making gnocchi. You want your dough to still be warm to create a fluffy result.
How to Shape Cream Puffs
After your dough has come together, it’s important to get the puffs piped out onto your lined baking sheet pans quickly. To make the classic round cream puff, you just pipe a mound of choux pastry on to the baking pan. It’s going to look like a poo emoji, especially these chocolate cream puffs.
Yet, we don’t want that nice peak at the top of our cream puffs before we bake them. I like to keep a small bowl of cool water near where I’m working and dab my finger into the water. This prevents this super tacky dough from sticking to your finger as you press down on the choux pastry to even out the top.
I re-wet my finger about every 2-3 cream puffs to make sure that nothing sticks. Repeat until every puff doesn’t have a peak!
Are Cream Puffs Meant To Be Crunchy
After the cream puffs are done baking, and before you’re ready to fill them, you need to allow them to cool completely. This keeps the shape integrity of the pastry, while not messing up the filling. Letting them sit until they’re cool will lead them to be a bit crunchy. You’ll notice a texture (and taste) difference from the cream puffs bought in the store and cream puffs made at home. Those made a home will have a slightly crunchier texture than those bought from the store.
How to Make Cream Puff Filling (This White Chocolate Cheesecake Filling)
I’m gonna be upfront and honest. I hate pastry cream. It’s so gross and I hate the taste of it. And yet, that’s what most eclairs and cream puffs are filled with. Just yuck.
I do appreciate that some are filled with whipped cream though. Bravo to whoever was just as tired of pastry cream as I am.
To make this dessert just a bit extra special and gourmet, I thought it would be fun to create a fun dark outer shell and have a bright white filling just for contrast! I began to think of what king of filling could I create that would help give me what I wanted and have it be more than just whipped cream.
Ding ding ding, white chocolate cheesecake! Now, I didn’t make a whole cheesecake and then filled the cream puff with it. I made the base for cheesecake, minus the egg, with white chocolate. The result was wonderful.
I first made it with cream cheese and felt like the cheesiness of the cream cheese really overpowered the flavor of the white chocolate. However, if you substitute with a mascarpone cheese, the cheesy flavor is going to be less intense and you’ll be able to taste the white chocolate. But if you like the cheese, use cream cheese.
I was a bit worried that mixing in white chocolate with cream cheese and then cooling it in the refrigerator would cause there to be lumps within in the filling. After letting it sit for a couple of days, there are no lumps! This filling is perfectly fine to be made ahead of time and left in the fridge before filling the cream puffs.
How to Fill Cream Puffs
After letting the cream puffs cool completely cool, they’re ready to be filled! I put my filling into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Having a small round tip will still let you fill the cream puff up fully.
Creating a hole in the cream puff to start piping filling is super simple. I like using a chopstick for this and it happens to create a hole big enough to fit my round tip. So the next time you get Chinese, grab an extra pair of chop sticks for this purpose!
Once a hole is made, filling the cream puff is as simple as placing the tip into the hole and squeezing the filling out. As the hole is filled, you’ll feel the bag being pushed slightly back toward you from the filling!
Dipping Filled Cream Puffs
Often you’ll see cream puffs with the tops dipped in chocolate. This gives the cream puff a nice polished look. I felt like a white chocolate dip would be so nice against the chocolate cream puff and would tie in nicely with the white chocolate filling.
Be sure to melt your chocolate thoroughly and not introduce cream or water. Keep the chocolate over the pot with warm water as the chocolate will be harder to dip in as time goes on.
Coulis? Another French name that just means fruit sauce. I wanted a bright vibrant sauce to contrast both chocolates involved in this chocolate cream puff recipe. Strawberries would also be an excellent option.
Toss the raspberries with sugar and lemon zest and bring to a boil in a pot. Once it got thick, I strained the sauce to keep all of the seeds out. I wanted a nice smooth sauce that didn’t add any unpleasant texture to my cream puffs. I used a simple sieve to keep the seeds out and got a beautiful coulis perfect for these chocolate cream puffs.
How to Store Cream Puffs
These chocolate cream puffs are a perfect treat because they can be made ahead of time and eaten later! If you wanted to make these a day ahead of time to save stress from a fancy date night, I would will the cream puffs and then store them in an airtight container until ready to serve. IF you end up having extras and wanted to save them, I would place them on a sheet pan and freeze them until solid. Remove them from the freezer and either store them in an air tight container or a plastic baggie that has all the air removed from it.
These would be good for about 3 months in the freezer and about 7 days in the fridge.
I hope that you have enjoyed this recipe immensely and that I gave super helpful tips so that you can pull this off on your own! Feel free to leave a comment down below (with a rating) telling me all about it!
Check out these Chocolate Hazelnut Souffles for another great date night dessert!
These chocolate cream puffs are filled with white chocolate cheesecake filling and are complemented with a raspberry coulis. Feel free to make this the next time you want a little treat after a fancy date night dinner!
- 8 ounces water
- 4 ounces butter
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4.75 ounces all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 8 ounces mascarpone cheese or cream cheese
- 3 ounces white chocolate melted
- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla
- 15 ounces raspberries
- 1 lemon zested
- ½ cup sugar
- 12 ounces white chocolate melted
Preheat oven to 350 and line baking sheet pans with silicone baking mats, or parchment paper.
Place wet ingredients for choux pastry and salt in a 1 qt sauce pan and bring to a boil. Mix together dry ingredients and add to boiling liquid. Mix together with a whisk until dough pulls from sides of pot.
Quickly pour dough into a stand mixer and with the beater attachment, beat the dough. Carefully add one egg in at a time, being sure to full incorporate egg before adding another. Be sure to scrape the edge of the bowl before each addition of egg.
Scrape the choux pastry into a piping bag and begin to pipe mounds on prepared baking sheet pans. Once all choux pastry has been piped, carefully push down peaks with a wet finger.
Place choux pastry into oven and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool over night before piping.
In a small mixing bowl, fitted over a small sauce pot with water in the bottom, melt chocolate until completely smooth
Using a stand mixer fitted with the beater attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla until well incorporated.
Mix in melted white chocolate until fully mixed. Place in piping bag fitted with a small round tip and cool until ready to fill cream puffs.
Place raspberry coulis ingredients in a small sauce pan and turn onto medium heat. Stir occasionally to help the raspberries breakdown. Once sauce has formed and has thickened, strain raspberry coulis through a sieve and cool until ready to serve.
Melt white chocolate using a double boiler (mixing bowl fitted over a sauce pan that has water in it) until smooth. Leave bowl over warm water while dipping the cream puffs in the chocolate.
Using a chopstick or other implement, poke a hole into each unfilled cream puff. Take white chocolate cheesecake piping bag and fill cream puff with filling until the filling pushes the bag away from the cream puff. Repeat until every cream puff is filled.
Dip the tops of the cream puffs into the white chocolate and allow to stand to let the chocolate cool.
Serve with raspberry coulis!