Written by our friend Rachael of La Fuji Mama
I fell in love with all things French during my first year of high school French, all thanks to my teacher, Madame Thompson, who made the language come alive by making sure we learned about French culture, and especially French food. I went on to study French during undergrad and spent a semester on a study abroad program living on the outskirts of Paris with a host family. While living in France, I put into practice one of the things that Madame Thompson had taught me high school—to know a language, you must understand the country’s culture, and to begin to understand a country’s culture, you must know their food. I made it a goal to try something new from a bakery, sidewalk vendor, or the grocery each day. (This may be why I gained 15 pounds that semester…but hey, all in the name of research, right?)
I loved it all, but I especially loved anything made out of pâte à choux, a light, eggy pastry dough used to make everything from French crullers to éclairs. But my favorite were the choux à la crème (or profiteroles) which we know as cream puffs. Little pastry puffs filled with rich, creamy fillings and dusted with powdered sugar, or drizzled with melted chocolate. They are the perfect little bites, the perfect ratio of pastry to filling. What’s not to like?
But the very best thing about cream puffs is that they are incredibly easy to make. The pastry itself consists of just 5 ingredients: flour, water, butter, salt, and eggs and making the dough takes about 5 minutes.
In honor of French Bastille Day on July 14th, I whipped up a batch of cream puffs, but gave them a bit of a California twist by filling them with a luxurious California avocado mascarpone cream. You may think that adding avocados to a sweet cream sounds strange, but I promise that after one bite you’ll be wanting to eat the cream out of the bowl with a spoon. The buttery flavor and texture of the avocado makes the cream even better and gives a beautiful light green hue. Summer will be better with a batch of these in your life. Seriously.
Cream Puffs with California Avocado Mascarpone Cream Recipe
Yield: 10 large cream puffs (or 20 medium sized)
Prep time: 25 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
5 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp. water
California Avocado Mascarpone Cream Filling (see make-ahead recipe, below)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
- Bring the water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour mixture all at once and stir vigorously. Cook and stir until the mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate.
- Remove from the heat and cool slightly (about 1 minute). Add four eggs, one at a time, beating after each one until the dough is smooth.
- Drop heaping tablespoons of dough about 2-inches apart onto a greased baking sheet. Or transfer the batter to a pastry bag with a large round tip and pipe circles about 2-inches in diameter and about 1-inch apart onto greased baking sheets, making sure you pipe out a solid base so there won’t be holes in the bottom of your cream puffs.
- Whisk the remaining egg with 1-1/2 teaspoons water. Brush the surface of the cream puffs with the egg wash, lightly flattening any points that might be sticking out (you may not use all of the egg wash, so don’t worry if you have leftovers).
- Bake the puffs for about 30 minutes until they are golden brown and puffy. If the puffs are medium-size, bake for about 22 — 25 minutes, and if the puffs are mini-size, bake for about 17 — 20 minutes. Remove the cream puffs from the oven to cool. When they are cool enough to handle, cut each one in half so that you have top and bottom pieces. (This helps prevent them from becoming soggy.) Then let them finish cooling
California Avocado Mascarpone Cream Filling Recipe
1 1/4 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
8 ounces mascarpone
2 ripe, fresh California avocados, seeded and peeled
1 Tbsp. lemon zest
2 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 tsp. sea salt
- In a medium-size mixing bowl beat the cream and sugar together until soft peaks form. Place the bowl in the refrigerator.
- Puree the mascarpone, avocados, lemon zest, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor until very smooth. Transfer the puree to a clean large mixing bowl.
- Remove the whipped cream from the refrigerator and gently fold it into the avocado mixture until it is smooth and incorporated. Place the finished cream in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to chill slightly.
- Fill the cream puffs: When you are ready to serve the cream puffs, spoon the filing into the cream puff halves, then put the halves back together. Dust the cream puffs with powdered sugar and serve.
*Recipe Notes: Instead of cutting the cream puffs in half while cooling, poke a small hole in the base of each cream puff while they are cooling so the insides don’t become soggy. When you are ready to serve the cream puffs, transfer the filing to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip. Insert the tip of the pastry bag into the base of each puff and fill, until just before the filling starts to come out where you are piping it in. If you want to prepare the cream puffs ahead of time, make the shells and store them at room temperature, lightly covered, after they have cooled. Make the filling no more than a few hours ahead of time. Fill the cream puffs just before serving.