Princes Krofne / Cream Puffs
30 minutes (+ 40 minutes cooking time)
12 cream puffs
The perfect celebratory dessert Princes Krofne / Cream Puffs. Inspired by the Serbian Princess Krofne (meaning princess doughnuts). This dessert is the classic cream puff dessert many of us love. Made with a choux pastry, piped onto a tray, baked, and filled with a delicious homemade custard, this dessert is hard to resist. Make them any size you like, small bite sized, or big enough for a dessert plate. They are sure to please anyone who loves a light, airy pastry filled with custard. It’s simply a heavenly dessert.
About this recipe
Princes Krofne / Cream Puffs are known to be a part of most Serbian dessert tables. I would say that this dessert is made mostly for exceptional occasions and rarely, as say, a weekend treat. I recall eating Princess Krofne on a few special occasions, more often during New Years celebrations or Church Events. Their sophisticated look and decadent taste makes them special. And I cannot say that cream puffs are uniquely Serbian. They are a French made dessert. But most cultures have a recipe for this dessert with some small variations and we all love to indulge in one every once in a while.
The recipe I am sharing with you is how I grew up eating Princes Krofne / Cream Puffs and how we still make it today. At first sight, the recipe may seem intimating. Especially with two challenging components. However, if you focus on each component of the recipe, you will find that both the custard and cream puffs come together with ease. Years ago, I would have dismissed this type of recipe, simply because it seems challenging. But with experience, this recipe is not so bad. In the end, you get to serve up this sophisticated, yet decadent dessert.
Make the custard first
Some recipes require that you make the pastry first. However, I prefer to make the custard first so that it has plenty of time to cool down while you prepare and bake the choux pastry. To make it a little less intimidating, the custard part of this recipe goes a little something like this.
In a large pan, add 1 L of milk. To that, add the sugar, vanilla sugar, stir and set aside.
In the meantime, using a hand mixer, whip up 6 egg whites on high speed until they form stiff peaks. Then add the remaining 6 egg yolks. Mix until combined. Next, add the flour and cornstarch. Mix until combined.
Once you have this egg and flour mixture ready, heat up the milk over medium-high heat until boiled. The milk must be hot but not burning. The next step is to add the egg and flour mixture to the milk. You will need to add it all at once and mix very quickly. The custard should turn into a thick consistency, and once it does, remove from the heat. Once the custard has cooled, using a hand mixer, mix in the heavy cream until the mixture is smooth. Set aside and allow to cool at room temperature while you prepare the choux pastry.
Onto the choux pastry
Even though making choux pastry seems tricky, it comes together in 20 minutes. It is probably the strange consistency of the choux pastry that makes you feel like you have done something wrong. But just keep going and once you mix in the eggs, it will all come together nicely.
For this step, bring the butter, water, and salt to a slight boil. Once it boils, remove from heat, add the flour, cornstarch, and stir hard with a wooden spoon until it is incorporated. Remove from the heat and allow the pastry to cool at room temperature for 10-15 minutes. With a hand mixer, add in the 4 eggs, one at a time. Mix until the dough is smooth, and the eggs are completely incorporated. Your dough should be thick.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip and pipe dollops roughly 5 cm in diameter. If you get a slightly pointy tip, gently press it down so that this part does not burn in the oven. Bake the pastry for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. You will have to keep an eye out on the pastry after the initial 15 minutes, making sure nothing burns. Do not open the oven at any stage as this can affect the result of the pastry.
Once your pastry is baked, remove it from the oven, and allow it to cool completely before assembling.
Tips for the custard
Whole Milk – It is best to use full-fat milk. Reduced fat milk doesn’t have enough fat to give custard it’s creamy texture.
Vanilla Sugar – In Serbian baking, we use a lot of vanilla sugar. However if you do not have this, you can substitute with 1 tsp of vanilla essence or vanilla paste.
Cornstarch – Use good quality cornstarch. You can find this is the baking isle of your supermarket. This is what helps the custard thicken.
Mix fast – It is super important that once you add the flour and cornstarch mixture to the milk that you combine everything with a whisk and stir vigorously. Once the custard thickens, you can remove it from the heat and set aside to cool.
Heavy cream – Most custard recipes use unsalted butter. However a little bit of heavy cream can also give the custard a nice silky texture. This recipe uses heavy cream.
Tips for the choux pastry
Unsalted butter – Using unsalted butter will give you more control of the flavour.
Stir in the flour vigorously – After melting the butter with the water over the stove, add all the flour in one go. Then you must give the mixture a vigorous stir. It’s a bit of an arm workout, but it is necessary.
Cool down – Allowing the mixture to cool prevents the eggs from cooking when you add them in. So, don’t skip this step.
Add eggs one at a time – If you add in all of the eggs at once, the choux pastry will be very tricky to combine. Only add in one egg at a time, and once one egg combines into the dough, only then add the next egg.
Bake at high heat – For the cream puffs to expand, the heat in the oven must be high. I would recommend nothing less than 180°C.
Looking for more?
If you are looking for more ideas, try one of the recipes below:
I hope you enjoy these delicious Princes Krofne / Cream Puffs. Don’t be afraid to give them a go. A little patience and care in making the recipe helps a lot. In the end, you get an impressive dessert to serve for your loved ones. Leave a comment and let me know how this recipe turns out for you. If you get a moment, please leave this recipe a rating. If you get a little stuck or have any questions, you can also reach me over on Instagram.
|For The Custard|
|6 whole eggs|
|190g caster sugar|
|10g vanilla sugar|
|100g all purpose flour|
|75g heavy cream|
|For The Choux Pastry|
|100g unsalted butter|
|150g all purpose flour|
|4 whole eggs|