The first Thursday each August kicks off the annual Wisconsin State Fair. Besides any food you can imagine that comes a) on a stick b) deep-fried or c) both, fair-goers flock by the hundreds to get the most popular item at the fair: the cream puff.
Here’s the recipe as published in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and sent to me by Grandma Mo.
- 2 c. water
- 8 T. butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 tsp. iodized salt
- 2 c. flour, sifted*
- 8 eggs
- 1 egg yolk lightly beaten
- 2 T. milk
- 2 c. whipping cream (we used heavy whipping cream)
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 to 3 T. sugar**
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put water into heavy sauce pan, add butter cut into small pieces. Add salt. Heat over medium-low heat so butter melts before water boils. Bring water just to boil.
- Remove pan from heat. Add flour at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough forms into a ball and bottom of pan is filmed with flour. Let dough rest five minutes.
- Add whole eggs beating in one at time. Dough should be stiff but smooth.
- Drop 1/4 cupfuls of dough three inches apart on greased and floured baking sheet (or line with parchment paper).
- Combine egg yolk and milk in small bowl. Brush each puff with mixture, taking care not to let liquid drop on the pan. Bake in preheated oven 35 minutes or until puffed, golden brown and firm.
- Cool puffs on wire racks, pricking each with toothpick to allow steam to escape or leave them in turned-off oven with door dropped open for about an hour until firm.
- Baked puffs should have hollow, moist interiors and crisp outer shells that are lightly browned.
- To make whipped cream filling, chill your mixing bowl and beaters. Start to beat cream. Add vanilla and sugar when soft peaks begin to form. Stop beating just before cream gets stiff.
- Cut off tops, fill with whipped cream mixture. Replace top and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Makes 20 to 24 puffs.
**The only thing I changed about this recipe was to increase the sugar in the whipped cream from one teaspoon to eight! It just wasn’t sweet enough for me.
*Additionally, I discovered you most likely need to add a bit more flour than the recipe calls for. My first batch of puffs turned out flat and were not crisp. I increased the flour slightly (maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup) and increased my baking time by 10 minutes – that seemed to work wonders.
Most of my Portland coworkers either hadn’t heard of cream puffs before or had never tried one. I had to practically beg them to take a taste! Once they did, they couldn’t stop eating them. Definitely a crowd pleaser, as all Wisconsinites know.
Another thing all Wisconsinites know: these taste best fresh. Leave them in the fridge overnight and they’re soggy the next day. Still tasty, but not the same!
Unfortunately the second time I made these with my friends, I did not read my entire blog and did not notice my notes about adding more flour and more sugar. The exact problems existed the second time around, to no one’s surprise, I’m sure.
Interestingly, some of the puffs turned out to look pretty good while others not so much. We cooked one pan on parchment paper (the other two on silpat) and when we opened the oven I thought my friend had turned the puffs upside down halfway through baking! (Her boyfriend asked if she poured the batter onto the pan upside down–LOL.)
When we assembled the puffs I used two whole puffs to give the appearance of what one cream puff should look like, which worked great. But I also noticed the cream filling was not very sweet. No matter because we were drizzling our cream puffs with a whiskey caramel sauce (and for Guillaume–chocolate and caramel) anyway!