Delicious choux pastry, filled with a light strawberry cream and fresh strawberries – these strawberry cream puffs are a fantastic dessert, perfect for any occasion!
Strawberry cream puffs, a gorgeous and simple dessert.
If you follow my instagram, then you may have seen my videos of making this beautiful pastry on my IG stories last week. If you missed it, you can still check it out in my IG stories called “choux pastry and berry puffs”.
I love making choux pastry. And I realized I hadn’t made them in a while. So I decided to make these strawberry cream puffs that are a simple yet beautiful dessert, perfect for any occasion, any celebration.
Here’s what I’ll be sharing in this post.
The recipes I will be sharing today
- Choux pastry – We’ll be following a basic choux pastry recipe. I won’t go into too much detail about this in the post, but you can find my detailed troubleshooting post on choux pastry here.
- Craquelin – Colored in red to complement the strawberry puffs. This will be a crispy cookie-like topping for choux pastry. Completely optional, and only recommended if you are an advanced baker or prefer a challenge.
- Strawberry cream – Strawberry flavored whipped cream stabilized with gelatin. This will be the filling.
- A simple strawberry compote – This will also be in the filling. But you can leave it out if you prefer.
This cream puff recipe can be adapted in three ways.
- EASY – Choux pastry cases, simply filled with the strawberry cream and topped with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar.
- INTERMEDIATE – Choux pastry cases, filled with strawberry cream and strawberry compote and topped with a chocolate drizzle.
- ADVANCED – Craquelin choux pastry cases (cookie topped choux pastry), filled with strawberry cream and strawberry compote.
You can choose whichever option you like. I’ve marked the recipe below as EASY because of the easiest option available. So make sure to read the whole recipe before making these strawberry cream puffs.
Why you should make these strawberry cream puffs
- As noted above, this recipe has three different difficulty levels. So depending on time and your level of comfort, you can adapt this recipe to your preference.
- The easy version is perfect for beginners. With this detailed choux pastry guide, even a beginner can perfect these pastries.
- You can make these with frozen strawberries or fresh strawberries.
- It’s a light dessert, so perfect for any occasion.
- And they look so damn gorgeous!
Making choux pastry puffs
Choux pastry is really simple to make, but many people get it wrong because they stumble over a few key steps.
However, with my step by step recipe guide for choux pastry, you can absolutely perfect it. The trick is to identify the different stages of the choux dough, rather than relying on strict times and amounts given in most recipes.
Here’s a quick rundown of the choux pastry recipe
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, salt and sugar with the water, and bring it to a boil.
Add flour (sifted) in one go to the water-butter mixture, and stir until you have a smooth dough with no lumps. The flour should have absorbed all the water.
Cook the dough for a couple of minutes until you have a smooth dough. I use a rubber spatula or wooden spoon for this. If the dough splits into oil and clumpy flour – then you’ve gone too far! Let the dough cool for a little in a bowl.
Whisk all the eggs in a jug or bowl. Make sure the yolks and whites have mixed well.
Add this egg mixture in 4 – 5 additions, into the dough, while whisking each addition well before the next. You don’t have to wait until the dough is cool completely, but just a little cool so it doesn’t “cook” the eggs.
Add enough eggs to form a glossy, pipeable choux dough. It should NOT be runny. That’s why you have to check the consistency after each addition of eggs to make sure you’re adding just enough. I usually only have to add about 3 1/2 eggs for this recipe.
Some recipes add eggs one at a time. You can do this, but always whisk the last egg and add it a little at time to avoid a runny choux pastry dough.
When the choux pastry is ready, it can be piped onto a baking sheet with parchment paper and baked in a preheated oven until golden brown.
If you want to make strawberry craquelin cream puffs, then place a cookie disc on top of each piped choux pastry mound. This will spread as the choux dough cooks and expands below it.
Make sure to prick the baked cases as they cool to get nice, puffed up, crisp profiterole cases. Then let them cool completely before filling.
Craquelin topping for the cream puffs
You can make Strawberry craquelin choux pastry with a cookie topping. The cookie topping is a great way to add a sweet crunch to cream puffs. Plus, you can color it for a pop of color and jazz up your cream puffs.
Craquelin dough is really easy to prepare. Butter and white sugar are creamed together, and then red food coloring and flour are added to form a soft, red colored dough.
Once you have the craquelin dough ready, roll it out to a thickness of about 3 mm. You can do this by placing the dough between two pieces of parchment paper, OR cut the dough in half and roll out each piece inside a gallon ziploc bag (that’s about 11 x 10 inches).
Freeze the rolled out dough on a flat tray until completely hardened.
When the dough has hardened, use a 1.5 inch cookie cutter to cut as many circles as possible. I can get about 40 cookies with one recipe. Transfer these cut cookies back into the freezer until needed.
Filling for the choux pastry
The main part of the filling is the strawberry whipped cream.
To make this, I macerate frozen strawberries with sugar (i.e. let it sit overnight in the fridge), and then blend it into a smooth liquid.
The whipping cream is whipped to a soft peak with a little sugar, while adding dissolved gelatin (as a stabilizer). Then finally, the blended strawberry is added and whipped further to thicken. It’s important not to over-whip the whipped cream because it can curdle.
This filling for the strawberry cream puffs can be kept in the fridge overnight too. So you can make it ahead of time. Just whisk it lightly before using it again, to make sure the cream is nice and creamy.
Another optional add-in for the filling is some fresh, macerated strawberries. This adds a fresh fruitiness to the filling.
A pastry bag fitted with an open star tip is filled with the strawberry cream and set aside until you’re ready to fill your choux pastry cases.
Filling the cases
You can fill the choux pastry cases in two ways.
- Make a hole in the bottom of the cases and insert the piping tip and squeeze in the cream until filled. Like in this recipe. 4.
- OR, cut the choux pastry cases in half (along the middle for plain choux pastry cases, and near the top for craquelin cases). Fill the base in a swirl.
As you can see in the pictures, the second method is how I filled the choux pastry for this post.
The first method is easy (no need for fancy piping tips), and will also use less of the strawberry cream.
The second method uses more of the filling (since you are overfilling the cases), but looks more fancy. To make these strawberry cream puffs even better, add a little of the macerated strawberries in the middle, over the filling.
Tips to perfect this dessert
Choux pastry is one of the key components for this recipe. And perfecting it easy! Just read the post here for a detailed breakdown of all the techniques for choux pastry.
Make sure all the ingredients for the choux pastry and craquelin are at room temperature. The flour should be sifted and ready to be added as soon as the water-butter mixture is ready.
Keep the craquelin discs in the freezer until needed.
Whipping cream (35% fat) whips up better when completely chilled. So make sure the cream and the blended strawberry are nice and chilled when making the strawberry cream filling.
When to serve these
- Valentine’s day – The red and pink make this a perfect valentine’s day dessert.
- Weddings – These are really cute and gorgeous for weddings or bridal parties.
- Baby showers – Change strawberries to blueberries and top with blue colored craquelins, so you can make either pink or blue cream puffs for baby showers!
- Dinner parties – These would be perfect for a cocktail party!
The light and airy strawberry cream puffs with a berry packed cream filling are the perfect light dessert or snack. But with the added sweet crunch of a strawberry craquelin cream puff, these are even more irresistible.
They are light enough for everyone to want one for dessert, and delicious enough for everyone to want more than one! 🙂
With three different difficulty levels to choose from, you can adapt this recipe to your preference and comfort level. The results will be just as gorgeous and delicious!
Strawberry cream puffs
- 8 fl oz water
- 4 oz unsalted butter cubed and at room temp.
- 4.7 oz AP flour
- 4 large eggs you might not use the whole amount
- 1/2 tsp sea salt less if using table salt or fine salt
- 1 tbsp white sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract optional
Craquelin (optional; you will only be using half of the dough here)
- 4 oz unsalted butter 1 stick
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 4.5 oz white sugar about 2/3 cup
- 4.5 oz AP flour about 1 cup + 1 tbsp
- 8 oz frozen or fresh strawberries
- ½ cup + 1 tbsp sugar 115 g / 4 oz
- 1 tsp gelatin powder
- 2 tbsp water
- 1.5 cups whipping cream 35% fat content
- 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar more if you like a sweeter filling
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Strawberry filling (optional)
- 6 oz fresh strawberries hulled and cut into small cubes
- 2 tbsp confectioner’s sugar
- Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C.
- Place the salt, water, sugar (if using) and butter in a saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
- When the water is starting to boil (butter should be melted at this point), add the flour in one go. Do this while holding the saucepan away from the stove/heat, and vigorously mix the flour in, so that it absorbs all of the water (use a wooden spoon or spatula to do this).
- When the flour has absorbed the water and it's coming together as a dough, return the pan to the stove (medium heat). Cook the dough for 2 – 5 minutes while you mix and move it around in the pan until you get a dough that pulls away from the side when you mix it. If you gather all of the dough on one side of the saucepan, and then stick a spoon in the dough, it should stay upright.
- Transfer the dough into a bowl, and let it cool down slightly for a few minutes. In the meantime, whisk all the eggs in a jug. The eggs should be whisked to mix the yolks and egg whites.
- Add the vanilla extract (if using), and then the eggs in 4 – 5 additions, while mixing the eggs into the dough well, between each addition. You can use a handheld mixer or a whisk to do this. For larger batches, you can use a stand mixer.
- Only add enough of the eggs to get the right consistency (i.e. a dough with a glossy sheen with pipeable consistency. You may or may not use up all of the eggs).
- Prepare a baking tray by lining it with parchment paper.
- Pipe circular mounds of the choux pastry dough, using a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (I use Wilton 1A or 2A tip, or you can cut the pastry bag opening instead). The pastry mounds are about 1.5 inches at the base, and roughly 1 inch in height.
- For craquelin tops – Place a circular disc of the red cookie on top of each piped dough mound. Make sure the disc is centered on the dough mound. Don't push it down.
- For plain choux or craquelin topped choux – Bake in preheated oven for 30 – 40 minutes in the center of the oven, or until the choux pastry shells puff up and are golden brown on top (the craquelin topped choux will have a crackly, red surface on top, but you will see the color of the pastry on the sides). Do not open the oven door until you have reached the 22 – 25 minute mark at least.
- Remove from the oven, and let the choux pastry cases cool completely in a draft-free area. Preferably in a place that is not cold. (Letting them cool inside a switched off oven, but with the oven door open is even better, but not necessary).
- Once the cases are at room temperature, they are ready to be filled.
- Place the butter, salt and sugar in a bowl and cream the ingredients together until creamy and fluffy.
- Add the flour and mix until the mixture looks crumbly. Using your hands, bring the crumbly bits of dough together to form a soft but cohesive dough.
- Split the dough into two equal-sized portions, and place each portion inside a gallon size ziploc bag. Roll out each piece inside the ziploc bag until it’s about 2 – 3 mm thick. Remove excess air in the ziploc bag and close it. Place both ziploc bags on a flat tray and keep them in the freezer overnight (OR until completely frozen).
- Once frozen, cut 1.5 – 2 inch circles from the dough. You should get about 40 discs in total. Place the cut discs on a tray that is lined with parchment paper, and return to the freezer until needed.
- Place the strawberry and sugar in a saucepan. Heat the strawberries and sugar until the strawberries have softened, and the sugar is dissolved. Let the mixture come to a boil.
- Remove from the heat, and use a stick blender to blend the strawberry until smooth. Cover and chill for a few hours, until the mixture is completely chilled.
- When ready to make the cream, place the water in a heat-proof bowl. Sprinkle the gelatin powder over the water. Gently mix and let this sit until the gelatin has bloomed (about 10 – 15 minutes).
- When the gelatin has bloomed, microwave the mixture just to dissolve the gelatin (about 10 – 20 seconds). DO NOT let the mixture boil.
- Place the cream and confectioner’s sugar in a bowl. With a whisk attachment, whisk the cream on medium speed. Add the dissolved gelatin while the cream is being whipped.
- Whip the cream until you reach soft peak stage. Then whisk for a little longer until the cream is a little stiffer, but NOT at stiff peak stage (mid peak).
- Add the chilled, blended strawberry coulis and whisk to completely mix the strawberry with the cream. Whisk until it thickens and is at mid peak stage again.
- The cream will be a pale pink color and very creamy. It is still soft, but can be piped. (When piped it will still hold a soft shape).
- Keep the cream in a piping bag that is attached with a ½ inch open star piping tip.
- Place the diced strawberry and sugar in a bowl. Mix well and let it sit in the fridge and macerate for at least 20 minutes.
- You can fill the pastry cases by either inserting a piping tip to the bottom of the pastries, or you can cut the cases in half and then fill them.
- To fill pastry cases from the bottom – cut a small “x” on the bottom of the pastry case using the tip of a small, sharp knife. Place the strawberry cream in a piping bag that is attached with a 1 – 1.5 cm large round tip.
- Insert the small piping tip into the pastry case from the bottom and squeeze the cream into the case until full. Repeat with all the pastry cases.
- To cut and fill pastry cases – Slice the choux pastries in half as shown in pictures in the post, along the middle or slightly closer to the top. I prefer the middle for plain pastries, and towards the top for craquelins.
- Fill the bottom of the pastry with strawberry cream.
- Optional – Place a small amount of fresh, macerated strawberries (with the liquid drained out), and then top with another swirl of strawberry cream. Then place the top half of the choux pastry back on. Repeat with the rest of the pastries.
- Dust the tops with confectioner's sugar and add a sliced strawberry for decoration (optional).
- Serve immediately.