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Cream Puffs with Lemon Cream

These little two-biter French desserts are both delicious and fun to make. Pâte à choux [paht-uh-SHOO] is French for “paste of cabbages.” Sounds appealing, right? It is! The thick and sticky pastry dough is typically made from just four ingredients — flour, butter, eggs, and water — and resembles a paste. But it’s looser than other pastry doughs, so it can’t be rolled out. Instead it’s piped into puffs and baked with hollow shells, perfect for holding creamy fillings, like this lemon one.


16 cream puffs

Total Time

30 minutes + chilling

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For the pastry cream, whisk together granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl; whisk in yolks until smooth.

Heat milk and zest in a saucepan over medium until steam begins to rise from the pan.

Slowly add half of the milk mixture into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return yolk-milk mixture to pan and bring to a boil; whisk constantly until thickened, about 2 minutes.

Off heat, whisk in butter, lemon juice and 1 tsp. vanilla. Transfer pastry cream to a bowl and cover surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming; chill until cold.

For the whipped cream, beat heavy cream, 1 Tbsp. powdered sugar, and 1 tsp. vanilla with a hand mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form, 2 minutes. Fold whipped cream into pastry cream.

Transfer lemon cream to a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch star tip. Cut cream puff shells in half, fill bottoms with pastry cream, then replace the tops. Dust cream puffs with powdered sugar.


For a super-light filling, gently fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream just until combined.

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