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Lemon Cream Puffs

close up of lemon cream puff on a white backdrop

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Ingredients

Units Scale

Lemon Curd*

  • 75 g granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 55 ml lemon juice, strained**
  • 1/4 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 1 tsp cold water
  • 43 g unsalted butter (3 Tbs)

Craquelin

  • 127 g (9 Tbs) unsalted butter, softened
  • 100 g light brown sugar
  • 90 g all-purpose flour
  • A pinch of salt

Pâte à Choux

  • 155 ml (2/3 c) whole milk
  • 78 ml (1/3 c) water
  • 113 g unsalted butter
  • 10 g granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 90 g all-purpose flour
  • 30 g cake flour
  • 34 large eggs, room temp

Stabilized Whipped Cream

  • 474 ml heavy whipping cream (2 c), cold
  • 120 g powdered sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp powdered gelatin
  • 8 tsp cold water
  • 2 Tbs heavy cream, cold

Instructions

To Make the Lemon Curd*

  1. Fill a medium pot with 1-2 inches of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Once the water is simmering, turn the heat down to medium-low so it maintains a simmer.
  2. Combine 1/4 tsp gelatin and 1 tsp cold water in a bowl and stir. Set aside to bloom.
  3. While the water is coming to a simmer, combine the egg yolks, whole eggs, fresh lemon juice, and granulated sugar in a medium glass bowl. Whisk until smooth.
  4. Place the bowl over the simmering water and whisk continuously. Make sure the bottom of your bowl is not touching the water.
  5. Whisk the lemon curd until it’s pale and thickens, about 10-15 minutes.
  6. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside.
  7. Melt the bloomed gelatin in the microwave for 5-10 seconds, then add to the lemon curd and stir.
  8. Whisk in the butter until melted and smooth.
  9. Pour the lemon curd through a fine mesh strainer to remove any scrambled egg bits.
  10. Store the lemon curd in an airtight container in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours before using. Chilling allows the curd to set up.

To Make Craquelin

  1. To make the craquelin dough, mix softened butter, salt, and brown sugar with a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until thoroughly combined and creamy. 
  2. Mix in flour and stop as soon as the dough comes together.
  3. Next, roll out the craquelin to 1/8 inch thick between two sheets of parchment paper. Cover and freeze for at least 30 minutes.

To Make Cream Puff Dough 

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare the pâte à choux according to the recipe directions.
  2. Once you have made your cream puff dough, pipe it onto parchment-lined baking sheets using an Ateco 803 tip (or something similar). Pipe the puffs so they are approximately 1 1/4 inch wide and 1/2 inch tall.
  3. Take the craquelin out of the freezer. Use a circle cookie cutter slightly larger than the diameter of the piped choux mounds to cut out circles of craquelin to cover the tops of the puffs. Reference the picture in the recipe post to see what the size looks like.
  4. Turn the oven to 350 F as you put your pan of pastries in the oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until they are deeply golden brown.
  5. If the craquelin is browning too fast, lightly cover it with foil. Be careful, though! The weight of the foil on the puffs can cause them to deflate, so lightly place the foil on top.
  6. When the pastries come out of the oven, turn each one over and poke a small hole in the bottom with a toothpick so they can dry out for at least 2 hours. 

To Make the Stabilized Whipped Cream

  1. Combine the gelatin and cold water in a small bowl, stir. Let it sit for 5 minutes, then microwave for 5-10 seconds or until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in the 2 tablespoons of cold heavy cream to temper the gelatin. Set aside.
  2. Add 474 ml heavy cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla to a stand mixer with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium to soft peaks.
  3. With the mixer still running on medium, add the gelatin in a slow, steady stream. 
  4. Turn the mixer up to medium-high and whip until stiff peaks form.

How to Fill Lemon Cream Puffs

  1. Poke a hole in the bottom of each pastry shell with a #7 tip. Set aside.
  2. Spoon the whipped cream into a bag fitted with a #7 tip (or similar). Set aside. 
  3. Remove lemon curd from refrigerator and stir or whisk until smooth. Spoon the curd into a piping bag fitted with a #6 or #7 (or similar) tip. Set aside.
  4. To fill, hold your choux shell upside down in the palm of your hand. Pipe the cream into the pastry shell by inserting the #7 tip into the bottom of the shell. Fill until almost full.
  5. Next, fill with a small amount of lemon curd using a #6 or #7 tip until the puff begins to expand upward a little (this means it’s completely full). Allow any excess curd to come out through the hole in the cream puff, and wipe away. Garnish with more whipped cream and lemon curd on top if desired, or eat as is.
  6. Lemon cream puffs are best eaten on the day you make and fill them, but they can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

Notes

*Can double the lemon curd recipe if you want more lemon curd versus whipped cream in each lemon puff.

** You should have 55 ml of lemon juice after removing the lemon pulp from it.