January 2 is Cream Puff Day! Cream puffs are small puffy pastry desserts filled with cream. Though the origin of cream puffs are not specifically known, they are thought to have originated in France in the 1500s, and were first found on American menus in the 1800s.
The dough used to make cream puffs is called pâte à choux, and it is made differently than other dough. Instead of being made in a mixer, pâte à choux is made by adding flour to boiled water and butter. It is then cooked at a high temperature until you get hollow balls of dough. Another popular dessert made using pâte à choux is beignets. Unlike beignets however, cream puffs are baked rather than fried. After the puffed balls of dough are taken out of the oven, they are cut in half to let steam that has collected inside out. If the puffs are not cut, they will deflate when cooling. The filling is then sandwiched between the two puffed halves. Cream puffs are often filled with whipped cream, pastry cream, and sometimes even ice cream! Some enjoy their cream puffs with nothing on top, while others prefer to top them with powdered sugar, chocolate, caramel, or whatever delightful sweet topping comes to mind.
Though it is up for debate, it is thought that cream puffs got their start in France in the 1540s when the pastry chef of Catherine de Medici first created the puffed treats for Medici’s husband, Henry II of France. The dessert first appeared on American menus in 1851.
We’ve gathered up some tasty cream puffs recipes for you to try out today in celebration of this delicious dessert’s day:
Happy Cream Puff Day!