Bignè alla Crema (Cream Puffs with Custard)

A delicious wrapper of light and delicate choux pastry (also called cream puffs) that contains a delicious custard!

I filled them with a basic vanilla custard, but you can use any flavored kind of custard: e.g. chocolate, strawberry, pistachios, etc..

Cream puffs are usually deep fried. However, for this recipe I opted for a more light version thus I baked them. As a result, they will be more dry and crunchy, but once they will be filled with custard they will soften and become more moist.

Make them for your afternoon’s tea or coffee with friends. I can assure that one pull another!

  • DifficultyMedium
  • CostCheap
  • Preparation time15 Minutes
  • Rest time2 Hours
  • Cooking time25 Minutes
  • Servingmakes around 20 cream puffs
  • Cooking methodOven
  • CuisineItalian


For the choux pastry

  • 150 gplain flour (type 0)
  • 150 mlwater
  • 100 gbutter
  • 5 gtable salt
  • 3eggs

For the custard

  • 250 mlmilk
  • 25 glight muscovado sugar
  • 25 gcornstarch
  • 1yolk
  • 1vanilla bean

For the glaze

  • 200 gdark chocolate
  • q.s.crushed hazelnuts


For the cream puffs

  1. – put the water, salt and the butter cut into small pieces onto a saucepan with high sides;

    – transfer the saucepan onto the stove and bring the mixture to boil, then immediately remove the saucepan from the heat;

    – sift the flour onto the pan all at once, then stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to avoid lumps, till you get a smooth mixture;

    – put the saucepan back on the stove on a very low heat, stir again for a couple of minutes to let the dough to ry. When you notice a white patina on the bottom of the saucepan, it is a sign that the dough has dried to the right point: you can now remove the saucepan from the stove;

    – without waiting for the mixture to cool, incorporate the eggs at room temperature. Add them one at a time, do not proceed with the next egg until the previous one is completely incorporated into the mixture. The dough must be soft and velvety, but not liquid.

    – put the obtained dough in a piping bag with a smooth 1 cm diameter nozzle;

    – take a baking tray lined with baking paper and squeeze piles of dough on top, spacing them at least 5 cm apart;

    – bake the puffs in a convection oven at 180° for about 25 minutes: after 22 minutes of cooking, open the oven door for a few seconds and let the excess steam escape, then close and continue cooking;

    – once cooked, you can pierce the base of the puffs with a toothpick and put them back in the oven that is off but still hot to dry for a few minutes

For the custard

  1. – pour the milk onto a large saucepan together with the vanilla seeds;

    – put the saucepan onto the stove on a medium heat;

    – meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mix together the yolk with the cornstarch and the sugar;

    – when the milk is about to boil remove the saucepan from the stove, pour the egg mixture onto it and keep on mixing well until the cream thickens;

    – pour the cream onto a clean bowl;

    – cover it with cling film and allow to cool down;

To assemble the sweets

  1. – melt the dark chocolate over a bain-marie;

    – cut each cream puff into half;

    – put the custard in a piping bag;

    – place the nozzle of the piping bag on the hole of the puffs and fill them;

    – pour a spoon of melted chocolate onto them;

    – arrange them on a tray and finally sprinkle them with crushed hazelnuts;

    – keep refrigerated until served

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