Adding caramel topping to cream puff elevates not only flavor and aesthetic, but also the difficulty of making cream puff (oops I know). If you are not planning to serve them right away, feel free to skip the topping or make it before serving. The caramel, unfortunately, can melt within hours, even faster in a small confined fridge because it is sugar and thus attracts moisture. I tried to be fancy, so here goes cream puff with caramel topping recipe.
I have used this choux pastry recipe since my early days of baking. It always turns out great except a couple of times. One happened when I reduced the egg amount thinking the dough is wet enough. The second time, I was baking in my hometown, in a different and humid environment, using different flour and eggs (did not weigh the eggs). On both occasions, my baked cream puffs deflated not long after the oven. By the way, the deflated ones still tasted as good, so no waste at all.
Getting a correct dough consistency is indeed the most finicky part of making choux pastry. We need to adjust the amount of egg to add, depending on room humidity and hydration level of the dough.
I can only suggest starting a test bake with 2 whole eggs (weigh them if you must) and following the whole recipe. As for mine, it works with 2 whole eggs and I live in a rather dry environment. It really is not as difficult as it may sound, and if you do not get it the first time, it will get better in no time with practice.
You might like this other ‘fancy-looking’ dessert: castella caramel pudding
Cream Puff with Caramel Topping
- 460 ml whole milk
- 47 g granulated white sugar
- 40 ml whole milk
- 30 g corn starch
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 57 g unsalted butter
- 120 ml water
- 65 g all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp granulated white sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 large eggs (about 50g each)
- 100 g granulated white sugar
- 100 g water
- 13 g honey
- Combine corn starch with 40 ml whole milk and stir well.
- In a saucepan, heat the rest of whole milk and sugar over medium heat until steamy.
- Add in cornstarch mixture and lower the heat. Then keep stirring until it thickens. Add lemon juice and stir to combine.
- Transfer to a bowl and cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a crust from forming. Store it in the fridge after it cools down.
- Preheat oven to 400°F / 200°C.
- Add butter and water in a pot, then cook over medium heat until boiling.
- Remove from heat, then stir in flour, sugar, and salt to combine. Cook again over medium heat and stir for 1-2 minutes or until it becomes a ball.
- Remove from heat and let it chill to lukewarm. Stir once in a while to release steam.
- When ready, gradually add (more or less) 2 beaten eggs and mix with a spatula (dough will break but eventually come together). Add more eggs until you get a smooth and thick ribbony paste.
- On a tray lined with parchment paper, portion out the batter with a spoon or piping bag to get 12 small mounds. Brush each with some egg wash.
- Firstly, bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 350°F / 180°C and bake for another 30 minutes. Do not open the oven door at all throughout baking.
- Transfer to a cooling rack and let cool before anything else. Poke a hole at the bottom of each cream puff with a round piping tip.
- Add everything in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat and do not stir to avoid crystalization.
- Lower to medium heat when it starts to boil and cook until amber in color.
- Spoon enough caramel onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Create any shape as you like. Then move quickly to stick the top of cream puff to the caramel before it cools and hardens.
- Pipe some cream filling into each and serve.