Topped with fresh maple whipped cream and toasted pecans, these Maple Pecan Cream Puffs are the perfect dessert for autumn.
Today, I've only got four words for you: maple. pecan. cream. puffs. *drops the mic*
Just kidding! But seriously, does anything sound better than that? Cream puffs are one of my all-time favorite desserts—they're light and airy, yet bursting with flavor.
With an autumnal twist, these maple pecan cream puffs are filled with fresh maple whipped cream and topped with toasted pecans. They are perfect for those cozy October nights spent snuggled under a blanket, and I bet they would be perfect enjoyed with a hot mug of apple cider.
What is Pâte à Choux (Choux Pastry)?
If you've ever had éclairs or cream puffs, then you might be a bit familiar with pâte à choux. Made mainly with butter, flour, water, and eggs, pâte à choux (or choux pastry) is a light pastry dough used for many desserts.
Pâte à choux is unique because it does not involve the use of leavening agents—instead, it has a high moisture content, which creates steam and makes the choux rise during baking. Choux pastry is twice-cooked: first on the stove, then later in the oven.
Once you get the basic technique down for making choux, the possibilities are endless! Try making some homemade éclairs, or even make some gougères if you're in the mood for something savory.
How to Make These Cream Puffs
If you have never made pâte à choux (choux pastry) before, don't worry! The process is honestly way easier than you would expect, and you will undoubtedly impress your friends and family with your cream puffs.
Here is all you have to do to make these maple pecan cream puffs:
1. Make the pâte à choux: Start by heating water, butter, salt, and sugar in a saucepan on the stove. Once it starts to boil, dump in the flour and mix vigorously for about 30 seconds. Then, transfer the mixture to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a bowl and a handheld mixer) and beat until the mixture is no longer hot to the touch. Finally, add in the eggs one at a time until the dough is smooth and hangs off the paddle/mixer like a ribbon.
2. Pipe the pâte à choux: Transfer the choux pastry to a piping bag fitted with a circular tip. I personally used the Ateco #805 Round Tip and it is one of my favorites! On a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, pipe 1-inch diameter rounds spaced 2 inches apart. Brush the rounds with egg wash, then bake at 400°F for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown and hard on the bottom. Let cool completely.
3. Make the maple whipped cream: While the cream puffs are cooling, whisk together heavy cream, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and salt until medium-stiff peaks form. At this point, you just want to make sure the whipped cream will hold its shape when piped. Transfer the whipped cream to a piping bag, and use whatever tip you prefer! I used the Ateco #825 Star Tip for this part.
4. Make the toasted pecans: To give the cream puffs an added crunch, roughly chop up some pecans and toast them in a 375°F oven for 5-7 minutes, or until a deep brown color. Make sure you let them cool completely before using.
5. Finally the fun part: assemble the cream puffs! Start by cutting all the cooled cream puffs in half with a serrated knife. Then, pipe the maple whipped cream on the bottoms, sprinkle some toasted pecans on top, then replace the tops. I personally like to dust the cream puffs with powdered sugar, but it's up to you. Finally, try not to eat them all in one go! Since they are bite-sized, it's tempting to eat three (or ten) of them in one sitting.
Common Questions About These Cream Puffs
While you can store the unfilled cream puffs in the freezer, you should store the filled cream puffs in the fridge. However, they are best served immediately, so I would recommend waiting until the last minute to fill them.
There are a few reasons why this can occur, and it's definitely happened to me before! Here are some possible reasons: (1) The dough has too much moisture (possibly too many eggs or not enough cooking on the stove); and (2) The oven was opened during the first 20 minutes of baking (make sure to keep it closed for the full 30-35 minutes).
Yes! You can store uncooked choux pastry dough in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days.
You Might Also Like These Recipes
Love this recipe? Please leave a star rating and review in the comments below! And don't forget to subscribe to The Baker's Almanac for even more baking recipes and tips.Print