Flashback to one month ago, when freezer stored cream puffs were one of my favorite delicacies. Nothing made me happier than snatching that 100-count box from the Costco freezer section. Sure, it took around 30 minutes to thaw, and sometimes I would get impatient and bite into what felt like a freezing hard rock, but the wait was always worth it for cream puffs. 

My daily dining hall meals always spur interesting conversations. Today we were reminiscing about some of our favorite desserts. I, of course, said cream puffs. One of my friends admitted that she makes home-made cream puffs. Mind blown, I peppered her with questions, conjuring up in my head the cream puff I knew and loved, but even better. Even then I was unable to imagine just how good it would be. 

We finally got a chance to make them through the Penn Apetit Cooking Club (it’s so hard to find a kitchen with all of the required supplies in college dorms.) Whipping up that heavy cream, and smelling the crisp and sweet shells in the oven, I knew I was in for a treat.

Erin Lomboy

This recipe is surprisingly easy, which means that even the most inept of cooks has no excuse to not make these delicacies. However, I highly suggest you substitute heavy whipping cream for the recipe's pastry cream; the former yields a creamier, fluffier, and tastier result. Whipping cream makes everything better, and for this already amazing recipe, only serves to elevate the end result.

The shells rise in the oven, puffing up quite a bit. They come out pretty big— most about the size of my palm— and therefore a lot heftier than the bite-size kind I was used to. This means the cream-to-shell ratio is a lot less even, tipped heavily in the cream’s favor. 

The first bite of the homemade cream puff was life-changing; it redefined the connection in my brain between the idea of cream puffs and their taste. The shells were thin yet bursting with buttery and sharp flavor, contrasting against the bland outer shells of the freezer ones. Likewise, the whipping cream is so fluffy and creamy, with every bite overflowing with sugary, white deliciousness.

It is impossible to compare home-made cream puffs to store-bought, freezer ones. But, don't take my word for it. After all, appearance isn't everything: it's the taste that matters.



Erin Lomboy

So, What Are You Waiting For?!

Grab a bunch of friends and whip up a bunch of these wonders. Trust me, you’ll be thanking me after that first bite, even as you try not to make a mess of the divine, yet overflowing cream as it explodes out of the decadent shell.

But, be warned: there is no going back. After making home-made cream puffs, your very definition of the food will be forever changed, so much so that you may never return to that freezer aisle in Costco ever again.