French Fridays: Strawberry Cream Puffs

Strawberry choux puffs on eatlivetravelwrite.comOne of my absolute favourite French pastries to make is choux pastry. So easy (sssh!) and so versatile because you can make either sweet or savoury iterations – the possibilities for filling and topping choux puffs or éclairs is endless!

From the moment we made gougères for Week 1 of French Fridays with Dorie, I was hooked… Note that I had made profiteroles before with some success but Dorie’s recipe resonated with me – it makes what can be a complex process for some people very simple.  Over the years, I’ve made a few versions of Dorie’s choux pastry – both sweet and savoury…  Savoury, goat cheese-filled puffs, (hey, I’ve even taught three kids how to make those!), I’ve made fancy Paris-Brest, and even choux version of lamingtons

It’s such an easy recipe that kids can make it (and beautifully!)

Kids piping eclairs on Eclairs made by kids on Eclairs made and decorated by kids onéclairs by my grade 6 boys made on the second last day of school and served to their parents on the last day during their café-théâtre).

I spent last weekend with my good friend Monica at her Cotswolds retreat – Orchard Cottage – and we cooked and baked up a storm most days. This was one of the recipes I chose to teach her, based on the beautiful strawberries we were surrounded by – British strawberries for the win, right now!  We were chatting about making some kind of strawberries and cream dessert and all of a sudden, I thought, why not make a choux version of strawberry shortcake. I recently made a lightened-up version of strawberry shortcake for Tuesdays with Dorie and wondered how this would work in a choux. It turns out that it works perfectly!

Strawberry choux buns
Recipe Type: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Author: Mardi Michels (adapted from [url href=”” target=”_blank”]Dorie Greenspan[/url])
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 18 puffs
Strawberry shortcake in choux form? Yes, you can!
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 57g (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 4-6 small pieces
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose (plain) flour (measured using the scoop and sweep method)
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 large egg beaten at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 cup whipping (35%) cream
  • approximately 1 cup chopped strawberries
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1-2 tablespoons milk
  • (optional) freeze-dried strawberry pieces for decoration
  1. Preheat oven to 375˚F/ 180˚C.
  2. Prepare a baking tray with parchment paper.
  3. Bring the water, butter and salt to the boil in a heavy pot.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add all the flour at once.
  5. Stir the dough vigorously with a wooden spoon – it will come together fairly quickly, but keep stirring over the low heat until it forms a smooth, shiny ball of dough. Altogether you will cook this flour mixture for about 2 minutes. There will be a slight crust on the bottom of the pan.
  6. Place the dough in a clean glass or metal bowl and use a wooden spoon to break up the mixture a little to release the steam. Keep doing this for a couple of minutes so the dough loses some of its heat.
  7. Add one egg and, using a wooden spoon, stir even more vigorously than before – don’t worry, your dough will separate and look like it’s ruined but have faith and continue to stir until it comes together again into a smooth shiny dough. Add the second egg and mix until the dough has come together again.
  8. Now add about 1/2 of the beaten egg to the mixture and mix until the dough is elastic and smooth.
  9. Scrape the dough into a piping bag fitted with a plain tip and, piping from the top to form a shape not unlike a Hershey’s Kiss pipe the dough onto the prepared baking tray (rounds of about 4cm in diameter), leaving about 4cm in between each puff.
  10. Your dough balls will have peaks on top – use your finger dipped in water to smooth these over.
  11. Mix the rest of the beaten egg with the milk and brush the tops of the puffs with this egg wash.
  12. Bake for 25 minutes, checking on the puffs 1/2 way through the cook time to perhaps turn the trays from front to back to ensure even baking.
  13. Remove from the oven and transfer the puffs to a cooling rack.
  14. Whip the cream and fold through the strawberries. Refrigerate until you are ready to use this.
  15. When you are ready to fill and top the puffs, mix the icing sugar and milk (you may not need all the milk) until you have a thick liquid that is smooth and glossy.
  16. Cut the puffs in half with a serrated knife.
  17. Spoon the strawberry cream into the bottom of each puff.
  18. Dip the top half of each puff in the glaze, shaking off the excess and place on top of the cream-filled half (alternatively, you can place the top half on the cream-filled half and spoon the glaze over the top of each puff).
  19. Sprinkle with the optional freeze-dried strawberry pieces.
  20. Serve immediately.

Strawberry shortcake choux buns on eatlivetravelwrite.comI was SO pleased with these and am already imagining the possibilities with all sorts of other fruity combinations. Happy (French) Friday!

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