Gluten Free Cream Puffs

These Gluten Free Cream Puffs are a pastry lover’s dream! Just like the real French pastry, they’re crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and filled with diplomat cream.

gluten free cream puffs

Oh, man! It’s been a long time since I’ve had a cream puff. How ’bout you? I remember making them years ago and sometimes filling them with ice cream and other times with savory things, like chicken salad. Those were the days, weren’t they? When we could basically eat whatever we wanted?

Well, we still CAN eat whatever we want, as long as we keep working on those recipes we used to love, making them gluten free! If we can have great cinnamon rolls and pizza, we can definitely have great cream puffs.

WHAT IS PÂTE À CHOUX?

Translated from the French, pâte à choux literally means “cabbage paste.” However, there’s no cabbage in this pastry dough (thank God!). It gets its name because when baked, the paste turns into what looks like little cabbages.

Pâte à choux is more of a paste than a dough. It’s made by heating milk or water with a decent amount of butter and a little bit of sugar until boiling. At that point, it’s taken off the heat and flour is added all at once. The whole thing is put back on the heat to stir until a ball forms. Eggs are added, one at a time, until a smooth, shiny paste is achieved.

HOW ARE GLUTEN FREE CREAM PUFFS MADE?

Once the pâte à choux is made, it takes no time to make cream puffs. What I like to do is fill a pastry bag (I buy these on Amazon) and pipe my cream puffs. However, cream puffs can also be dropped onto baking sheets with two spoons.

If piping, begin by lining the pastry bag with a tip 1A large round tip or a tip 1M large open star tip. Hold the pastry bag at a 90-degree angle to the parchment-lined baking sheet and squeeze the bag until a desired round size is piped. With a quick flick of the wrist, release pressure. If a point remains, that’s okay. Take a finger dipped in water and gently tamp that point down. Simple as that!!

MY PARCHMENT WON’T STAY ON THE BAKING SHEET. HELP!!

No worries! It happens to all of us. Before beginning to pipe, lift up the corners of the parchment and pipe a tiny dot of paste on the underside of each corner. Replace the corners and press down so the parchment sticks to the choux paste. This will keep it in place while piping 😉

BAKING THE CREAM PUFFS

I’ve found the best way to bake these gluten free cream puffs is to begin with a high heat, but go even higher once they’re in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and as soon as you put the puffs in the oven, turn it up to 450. Bake for 10 minutes and then drop the temperature down to 350 and bake 15-20 minutes longer, depending on the size.

When they look like they’re done (golden brown and crisp), remove them from the oven. Take a small sharp knife (or even a sharp skewer) and poke the side of each puff to release steam. Return them to the oven to bake for 3-5 minutes longer. Allowing the steam to escape will ensure the interiors are completely baked and there’s plenty of room to fill them with cream!

tray of gf cream puffs

THE FILLING

When it comes to cream puffs, you can really go no wrong with what you fill ’em with. Like I said before, you can fill them with sweet fillings (such as whipped cream or pastry cream), OR you can go the savory route and fill them with chicken salad for little appetizer puffs. My chopped chicken salad would be perfect for this!!

But my absolute favorite filling for cream puffs is diplomat cream. What in the world is diplomat cream, you ask?? It’s pastry cream with whipped cream added to it to lighten it up. Some might argue this isn’t true diplomat cream because it doesn’t have gelatin in it, but I disagree. The recipe I use for pastry cream is Gesine Prado’s recipe and it is a gloriously THICK pastry cream and doesn’t need gelatin for stability.

The pastry cream consists of:

  • Egg yolks
  • Sugar
  • Cornstarch
  • Heavy cream
  • Whole milk
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Vanilla

After the pastry cream is made and well chilled, heavy cream is whipped to stiff peaks and folded into the pastry cream, turning it into a marvelously lightened cream that could be eaten with a spoon (if that’s the way you roll)! Just save some for the cream puffs, will ya??

bite of cream puff with filling

You may never find these in a real French bakery, but we can dream we’re in France while devouring our homemade gluten free cream puffs, can’t we? Oui, oui!!!

gluten free cream puffs

Gluten Free Cream Puffs

These Gluten Free Cream Puffs are a pastry lover's dream! Just like the real French pastry, they're crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and filled with diplomat cream.
Print Recipe
CourseDessert
CuisineFrench
Keywordcream puffs, Gluten Free, pate a choux
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time35 minutes
Total Time1 hour 5 minutes
Servings20 -30 cream puffs, depending on size
AuthorKim

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  • 1 stick (½ cup or 113 g) butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (140 g) Kim's gluten free flour blend (or any flour blend with xanthan gum)
  • 5 large eggs, at room temperature

PASTRY CREAM:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup (30 g) cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean
  • 6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 2 tbsp butter, softened

WHIPPED CREAM:

  • 1 cup (240 ml) heavy cream, whipped to stiff peaks

Instructions

  • In small saucepan, add milk, butter, sugar, and pinch of salt. Stir over medium-low heat with a wooden spoon until sugar melts completely (don't rush this step). Turn mixture to medium-high until it begins to boil rapidly.
  • Remove pan from heat and dump flour in, all at once, and stir with wooden spoon.
  • Place pan back on stovetop over medium heat and stir continuously until mixture balls up and all flour is cooked out, about 1-2 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat and allow to cool for about 3-4 minutes.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a hand mixer, in a food processor, or by hand with a wooden spoon, add eggs, one at a time, beating vigorously after each addition. It should be shiny and smooth, but it might be very thick, which is okay.
  • Fill a pastry bag with the paste (alternatively spoon mixture onto parchment-lined baking sheets using a spoon). I prefer to let the choux paste sit in the pastry bag for about a ½ an hour to loosen up a bit before piping, but it's not necessary.
  • Pipe large (about 2 inch) round circles onto baking sheet using a vertical (90-degree) bag placement. Using finger dipped in water, smooth or tamp down any points on top of mounds.
  • Place in 425° oven and immediately turn oven temp up to 450° and bake for 10 minutes. Turn heat down to 350° and continue baking for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Remove puffs from oven and cut very small slit into sides of each puff. Return puffs to oven to finish baking and allow steam to escape for about 5 minutes. Turn oven off, open oven door, and let puffs sit in oven for up to one hour to dry out.

MAKING PASTRY CREAM AND DIPLOMAT CREAM:

  • In small saucepan, heat milk and cream to almost boiling (little bubbles are forming around the edge).
  • Meanwhile, in medium bowl whisk egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and cornstarch until very light in color and thickened. Slowly pour about one tablespoon of hot cream mixture into egg yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Slowly pour the rest of the hot cream mixture into yolks, whisking constantly, and then pour the entire mixture back into the saucepan.
  • Whisking constantly (you must use a whisk for this particular pastry cream), return saucepan to stove over medium heat. Whisk until mixture begins to thicken, like thick mayonnaise. Immediately remove from heat and whisk butter into pastry cream.
  • Place pastry cream in medium bowl and cover with plastic wrap (plastic should lay directly on surface of pudding). Refrigerate for about 1-2 hours, or until cool and firm.
  • Remove pastry cream from refrigerator and whisk to loosen. Add about ½ cup of whipped heavy cream into pastry cream to lighten. Then gently fold in the rest of the whipped cream.
  • Pipe into centers of cream puffs as desired.

Adapted from Gesine Bullock-Prado’s class Pâte à Choux Pastries: Cream Puffs, Eclairs, & More on Bluprint.



8 thoughts on “Gluten Free Cream Puffs”

  • First time trying gluten free cream puffs. Turned out great! Tasted like it was a gluten dessert. Following your baking instructions made puffs crisp and dry which we wanted. Would highly recommend to anyone who is gluten free.

  • I’m really excited to try these! They look amazing! One question though, can these be made ahead of time and frozen (if filled), or put in an airtight container (unfilled) for a few days? Or will they get soggy? I’m still pretty new to Gluten free baking so it’s hard for me to tell what will happen. Thanks! 🙂

    • They won’t be crispy as if they were fresh out of the oven, but they won’t get soggy. I’ve filled them and put them in the freezer and they’re just like those store bought frozen ones you see everywhere these days. If you want to crisp them up, I would stick them in a 350 degree oven for a few minutes 🙂

  • I baked these at 10 minutes at 450 as you advised and they were almost charred. Still edible but the recipe instructs baking them for a total of 25 minutes more. Is there a typo in the oven temp? Or maybe my oven is broken…? Anyway, I asked my mom who is an excellent cook and she was surprised by that temp, saying she wouldn’t cook anything at 450.

    • I’m so sorry, Cairn! I’m not sure why you would have had charred cream puffs at only 10 minutes into the baking process. There was no typo, but you do need to turn the oven temp down to 350 degrees after those first 10 minutes. I’ve based this recipe loosely off a well known pastry chef’s, who recommends starting the cream puffs at 425 degrees for the first 10 minutes. Maybe your oven runs a little hot. Having baked several gluten free items in the past 8 years, I have actually set the oven temp to 450 degrees many, many times. In normal (non-gluten free) baking, it’s not that often that baking at such a high temp is done. But this is gluten free baking and everything is always a little different. If you want to try them again, I would turn the oven temp down to 425 for the first 10 minutes and then down to 325 for the final 20 minutes.

      • Thanks for the thoughtful response. Just so you know, because it’s gf cooking I only cooked 4 of them initially (to be safe) so I was able to adjust and troubleshoot for a few more attempts. The last 10 or so turned out pretty well. Thanks again.

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