what do you do when you have a quart of heavy whipping cream in the fridge? well, you make everything and anything you can possibly think of that uses whipping cream! okay, i only made two things with it – actually, three things. i used some of them for, what else other than what it's intended for – whipped cream. i also made some salted caramel sauce and used a little bit for a coffee-spiked chocolate ganache filling for some macarons (you can check out my instagram photo of me holding a half-bitten macaron).
so yes, with all that whipping cream, i made up some salted caramel sauce the other night and let it sit in the fridge. i couldn't decide on what else to make until finally opting for some good old cream puffs. you cannot go wrong with cream puffs with whipped cream. i decided i would drizzle some salted caramel sauce on top to touch it up instead of your typical powdered sugar or chocolate ganache glaze/drizzle.
how was it? o.m.g. the best thing ever. i don't care what anyone says, but it is. everything with caramel is just better. it's so good and sticky and light and fluffy and i cannot stop eating it. yes, so. so. good. you have got to make these and you'll know what i'm talking about.
below are the recipes to making your very own delicious cream puffs with whipped cream and salted caramel sauce drizzle. if you prefer pastry cream over whipped cream as the filling, you can certainly make some using this vanilla pastry cream recipe here. seriously, cream puffs are like best thing ever, right?! i think so. yummmmmmmy! :)
i love making and eating cream puffs. i can seriously eat the whole thing in one sitting. okay, maybe not in one sitting, but you know what i mean. it's really that good.
the salted caramel drizzle on top brings this cream puff to another level altogether. the sweet and salty sticky drizzle is seriously a yummy added bonus.
cream puffs with whipped cream and salted caramel drizzle
for the pâte à choux pastry:
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup (4 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
for the whipped cream filling:
- 1-1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 1/3 cup sugar
for the salted caramel sauce drizzle:
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
to make the choux pastry
- preheat oven to 400°f (200°c) and place rack in center of oven. line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly butter or spray the pan with a nonstick vegetable spray (or use a silpat nonstick baking sheet like i did).
- in a bowl sift or whisk together the flour, sugar and salt.
- place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. (make sure that the butter melts before the water boils to reduce the amount of evaporation.) remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture, all at once, and stir until combined. return saucepan to the heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about 1-2 minutes).
- transfer the dough to your electric mixer, or use a hand mixer, and beat on low speed to release the steam from the dough (about a minute) – actually, i just do everything in the saucepan, beat the dough, adding the eggs, etc. once the dough is lukewarm start adding the lightly beaten eggs (dough will separate and then come together) and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste (dough will fall from a spoon in a thick ribbon).
- spoon or pipe 12 small mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. optional: you can gently brush the tops of the dough with a lightly beaten egg if you like. i usually don't.
- bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350°f (180°c). continue to bake for a further 30 minutes or until the shells are a nice amber color and when split, are almost dry inside. turn the oven off, poke a couple of holes in each puff and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells completely cool (and dry out).
to make the whipped cream filling
- combine heavy whipping cream and sugar in a medium bowl.
- whip mixture to medium peaks.
- this should make enough whipped cream to fill up the puffs
to make the caramel sauce
- pour the cream into a small, heavy saucepan. then add in the 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. place over medium-high heat and bring to just under a boil, stirring occasionally. reduce the heat to low to keep the cream warm.
- in a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and sea salt. bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and sea salt. then cook, without stirring, until the mixture is amber colored, 5 to 8 minutes. remove from the heat.
- the mixture will continue to cook off the heat and become darker, so make sure to have your cream close by. carefully and slowly add the cream to the sugar syrup. the mixture will boil vigorously at first. let the mixture simmer down, and then whisk until smooth. let cool for about 10 minutes. note: if when you add in the cream and find that not all the sea salt dissolved, don't worry. you can just omit these undissolved pieces (leave them at the bottom of the saucepan) when storing your sauce away.
- cut the butter into 1-inch chunks and add them to the caramel one at a time, whisking constantly after each addition. then whisk the caramel periodically as it continues to cool. note: this caramel is a little runny. if you like it thicker, you can 1-2 tablespoons of butter to thicken it up a little bit more.
- the caramel will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one month.
- makes 1-1/2 cups.
*note: use a good-sized pan when preparing this caramel. when the hot cream is added, the caramel will boil furiously at first, increasing dramatically in volume. have ice water nearby in case of burns.
to asssemble/fill the puffs
- use the tip of a paring knife to make a small cut perpendicular to the first, creating an X in the side of each puff.
- fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain tip with the whipped cream.
- pipe some of the cream through the X into the side of each puff until it starts to ooze back out. repeat to fill all the puffs.
- once all the puffs are filled, drizzle some salted caramel sauce over each cream puff. make sure you have your cream puffs sitting on a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath to catch the overflowing caramel sauce.
- that's it. enjoy and happy eating! :)
note: if you don't want to use a pastry bag and pipe the cream filling, you can just cut the puffs in half and spoon in the whipped cream. i use this method a lot because i can't be bothered with pastry bags and cleaning up.