PB&J Filled Pumpkin Cream Puffs
If you’ve never tried to make cream puffs before, this recipe is a great excuse to play in the kitchen. They’re easier than you think. There are a couple of tricks that will help your cream puffs transform into light, airy balls of buttery dough. First, when you add the flour to the hot milk mixture be ready to stir – and don’t stop until the dough comes together and pulls from the sides of the pan. Another key that your dough is done cooking is the thin film that forms across the bottom of your pan. The other trick is to make sure that your dough isn’t too wet or too dry. Add the egg in parts. When the dough is the perfect consistency, it will just barely flow away from the beaters.
I still get a little excited every time I pull baked cream puffs out of the oven. Once you make your first batch, you’ll know exactly what I mean. This is so fun to make for any upcoming autumn events, including Halloween parties!
- Yield:24 cream puffs
- Prep Time:15 minutes
- Cook Time:45 minutes
- Total Time:1 hour
For the Cream Puff Dough
1/2 cup milk
4 tbsp unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup gluten-free flour mix (see recipe at the bottom)
4 drops yellow food coloring
2 drops red food coloring
For the PB&J Cream Puff Filling
4 oz light cream cheese
6 tbsp milk or heavy cream
1/2 cup no sugar added jelly (or your favorite flavor)
For the Pumpkin Leaves & Vines
2 oz 2 oz light cream cheese, at room temperature
3 drops green food coloring
1 drop yellow food coloring
1 drop red food coloring
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with a silpat or parchment paper. Fit a stand mixer with the paddle attachment.
Put milk, butter, and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Once the milk boils, use a wooden spoon to stir in the gluten-free flour mix. Keep stirring until a mass of dough forms and a film of starch covers the bottom of the pan.
Dump the dough into the mixer bowl and turn on low. Stir for several minutes until the dough has cooled and the bottom of the bowl is just slightly warm. Add the food coloring and mix until uniform in color, scraping the bowl as needed. Meanwhile, beat the eggs. Turn the mixer to medium speed and add the eggs in three additions making sure the egg fully incorporates before adding more. It may not be necessary to use all of the egg. You want the dough to be smooth and shiny, just barely sliding down the beaters when you stop the mixer. If the dough is too wet your cream puffs won’t puff.
Put the cream puff dough into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (#12) and pipe into globes. Bake for 15–20 minutes until puffs have doubled in size and the internal temperature reads at least 205°F with an instant read thermometer. If you don’t have a thermometer, make sure that the puffs are lightly golden brown, very airy and hollow. If underbaked, they’ll deflate. Cool completely before filling.
Beat the cream cheese and peanut butter together. Add the milk or heavy cream 2 tablespoons at a time until the mixture is smooth. Set 4 tablespoons of the mixture aside for the stems. If the jelly has chunks of fruit, whirl it in the food processor before swirling it into the peanut butter mixture.
Combine the cream cheese with the green, red, and yellow food coloring. If the cream cheese is too stiff to easily stir, microwave for 10 seconds before mixing.
Fit a pastry bag with a #4 pastry tip. Fill with the peanut butter and jelly mixture. Insert the tip into the base of the cream puff and gently squeeze the filling into the cream puff until it’s full, taking care not to overfill. Repeat until all cream puffs are filled.
Fit a second pastry bag with a #18 tip. Fill the bag with the 4 tablespoons of reserved peanut butter filling. Pipe a stem onto the top of each cream puff by squeezing and lifting away from the cream puff at the same time. Pipe one stem onto the top of each pumpkin.
Fit a third pastry bag with a #350 tip. Pipe leaves onto the base of the stem by squeezing and then stopping while still pulling away. This will create the points on the end of the leaves. If you’ve never piped a leaf before, practice a few on waxed paper before piping them onto your pumpkins. Pipe one or two leaves at the base of the stem on each pumpkin.
Change the tip on the leaf piping bag to a #00. Pipe curvy vines that start at the base of the stem and come 1/3 of the way down the side of the pumpkins. Repeat on each pumpkin until finished. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve.