Choux Cream is a cream filled dessert and one of the very popular western style sweets in Japan. It is better known as a cream puff in the US, and choux a la creme in France. Japanese Choux Cream has a softer, chewier choux shell than the French one. It is one of the most beloved sweets of all time from the young to the old.
Choux Cream came from France originally, and a Japanese cake shop started selling them in the late 1890s; however, it became more popularized when home refrigeration became widespread in the 1950s. There are a lot of western (mostly French) cake shops everywhere in Japan today. Some cake shops sell more delicate and sophisticated concoctions, and others simpler, everyday treats and snacks. Wherever you go, though, you will definitely find Choux Cream in most shops there. Just like Purin, this rather simple dessert is super popular because of its easy-to-understand, uncomplicated flavor.
It is a little tricky to make Choux shells because they need to be puffed up. If you keep in mind a couple of important tips, you will do well. First, preheat the oven at the right temperature. The oven needs to be pretty hot to be able to raise the batter properly, so make sure to turn on the oven well before you start. Second, you need to check the texture of the batter. It needs to be fluid enough to make a triangle shape when dropping (see the video), but not too loose. If it’s too loose it doesn’t “poof” well. Third, make lines on the surface of the piped batter before baking to be able to control how it cracks while it expands.
Here we put custard cream in the Choux, and that is a very basic Japanese Choux Cream; however, you can use whipped cream, ice cream, or any kind of filling you like.
- 50g cake flour
- 50g all purpose flour
- 150ml water
- 50ml oil
- pinch of salt
- 3 1/2 eggs
- 2 cups (480ml) milk
- 30g cornstarch
- 115g sugar
- 2 eggs
- 55g butter
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- To make Choux:
- Preheat oven to 395F (200C). Place parchment paper on a baking pan. Sift cake and all purpose flours together.
- In a pot, heat water, oil, and salt together at medium heat. When it starts boiling, add the flour mixture and stir well with a spatula. Let the dough cook through until it becomes a ball.
- Put the hot dough in a stand mixer and mix using a paddle to cool the dough down a bit. Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
- Slowly add eggs in parts to the dough, forming a batter. Do not add all once. When you pull the paddle from the batter, the batter should be dropping and making a triangle shape. Adjust the amount of eggs depending on firmness of the batter.
- Put the batter in a piping bag with a round piping tip. Pipe 2" (4.5-5cm) rounds on the parchment paper, 3" apart. Using a wooden skewer, on top of each round, make 4 lines from the edge to the center.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 13 minutes. Turn down to 350F (180C), and bake further for 14-17 minutes.
- To make Custard Cream:
- Heat milk in a pot until just before boiling.
- In a medium bowl, mix cornstarch and sugar with a whisk. Add eggs and mix very well.
- Start adding hot milk to the egg mixture slowly. When all the milk has been mixed in, put the mixture back in the pot, bring to a boil, and cook for a couple of more minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add butter and vanilla. Stir well to mix.
- Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate at least a couple of hours.
- To assemble:
- Put the cream in a piping bag with a tip. Make small slits on the bottom of the Choux, and squeeze the cream into the shells. Dust with powder sugar if you like.