One thing there is never a shortage of at my house during strawberry season is strawberry shortcake. I used the term “shortcake” widely, applying to virtually any type of cake with whipped cream and berries. With the beginning of strawberry season upon us (in Texas, anyway!), I celebrated with these Strawberry Shortcake Cream Puffs.
These beauties are luscious cream puffs filled with homemade vanilla bean whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Once the components are made and assembled, you dust them all with powdered sugar for good measure. Maybe it’s the spring weather and the beautiful strawberries talking, but they are *perfect.*
The recipe execution might be a little fussy (but worth it!), but the ingredients are not. The only ingredient you might not have in your pantry is the vanilla bean paste. It’s no secret that I love this ingredient, as it’s in many of my recipes. It’s soooo tasty without the vanilla bean price tag (and it pretty much stays good forever). If you prefer to substitute, you could use an equal measure of vanilla extract. If you’d like to get some vanilla bean paste and you can’t find it in your local grocery store (I never can), you can find some [here].
So about that fussy recipe: make sure that you read through the entire recipe and check out the recipe notes before proceeding. I am terrible about reading things through in detail before I start, but if you don’t with this recipe you could end up with deflated cream puffs. You don’t want that disappointment!
The choux mounds should be at least 2″ apart on the baking sheet. If they’re too close together, the steam that escapes while baking could cause them to deflate.
I give a suggested dimension for the mounds (2″ across by 3/4″ tall), but it’s more important that they’re all uniform in size rather than meeting these specific dimensions. Just be aware that larger choux mounds will take more time to bake, and smaller ones will be done sooner.
When piping the choux, I found that if you hold the bag straight up and stay in the center as you squeeze the piping bag, you end up with a more uniform (round) shape.
Happy it’s-finally-strawberry-season to you! I can’t wait to make all the things!
I know my friends and family in my home state (Hello, Michigan!) have about another month to wait, but this recipe will be ready and waiting for you!
Other posts you may like:
Cream puff recipe adapted from Pierre Herme Pastries (link here). I get that I shouldn’t adapt any Pierre Herme recipe. I get that, but here we are. 🙂
Strawberry Shortcake Cream Puffs
Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry):
- 125 grams water (1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp)
- 125 grams whole milk (1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp)
- 5 grams sugar (1/2 tsp)
- 5 grams fleur de sel (or other sea salt) (1/2 tsp)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 140 grams flour (3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp)
- 4 eggs
Fresh Whipped Cream:
- 2 cups heavy (whipping) cream
- 2 tsp vanilla bean paste (see note)
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- fresh strawberries
- powdered sugar (for dusting)
For Cream Puffs (Choux Pastry):
- Preheat oven to 400 F. Line baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
- Combine water, milk, sugar, salt, and butter in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. While still on the heat, add the flour. Quickly beat mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth and shiny. Mixture will pull away from the sides of the pan. (Do not underbeat or cream puffs may deflate later!)
- Once mixture is thoroughly combined, scrape it into the bowl of a stand mixer. Turn the mixer on low speed. With mixer running, add eggs one a time, allowing each egg to incorporate and mixture to become smooth before adding the next.
- Transfer batter to a pastry bag and cut a hole in the end (about 1/3" across). Pipe mounds of choux pastry at least 2" apart, each about 2" across and 3/4" tall (see notes). With those dimensions, you get about 24 cream puffs.
- Place the baking sheet in the oven and turn the oven off. Bake 10 minutes with the oven off. Turn oven back on to 350 F and bake another 10 minutes. Then, turn the oven off again, leaving the cream puffs to finish baking for another 10 minutes (This is 30 minutes in the oven total). Resist the urge to open the oven until baking is complete, as this could deflate your cream puffs!.
- Once the cream puffs are baked, remove from the oven and poke a hole in the top of each with a toothpick. This will allow any residual steam to escape (otherwise, your cream puffs could deflate...sensing a trend here?). Allow cream puffs to cool completely. Once cooled, split the cream puffs with a thin, serrated knife.
For Whipped Cream:
- Combine cream, vanilla bean paste (see note), and powdered in the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, beat mixture on medium-high speed until peaks are formed.
- Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag and pipe into the bottom of each of the cream puffs (or just dollop that goodness in with a spoon!).
- Top the whipped cream with sliced strawberries, then place the top of the cream puff back on top. Dust assembled cream puffs with powdered sugar. (Serve soon after filling, so the cream puffs don't get soggy.)Enjoy!