These classic French cream puffs are light, airy, and filled with fluffy sweetened whipped cream. Top them with a sprinkle of powdered sugar for a delicious, elegant treat!
Make the pate a choux: Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C. Line two sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
Place milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt into a medium-sized pot. Heat on medium heat until the butter is melted and the sugar and salt are dissolved, stirring occasionally. Add the flour all at once and mix with a large spoon until a dough paste is formed. Mix the dough ball with a large spoon against the bottom and sides of the pot for about a minute, which gently cooks the flour. You'll know it's done when the dough appears slightly dry and easily pulls away from the sides of the pot. Remove from heat and place dough into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.*
Place the dough into a piping bag fitted with a round tip with an opening about 1-cm in diameter (it can be slightly larger or smaller)**. Holding the piping bag at a 90-degree angle, pipe 1 1/2-2-inch mounds 3 inches apart using even pressure. Do not start and stop as you pipe. To remove the pointy tails when you lift up the bag, wet your finger and gently press them down before baking.
Bake for 15 minutes then, keeping the cream puffs in the oven, lower the temperature to 350°F/175°C for 12-15 minutes, until the cream puffs are golden brown on top. Do not open the oven as they bake. Once fully baked, remove cream puffs from the oven and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack before filling.
To make the Chantilly cream: Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or using a handheld mixer, whisk heavy cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium speed until medium peaks form.
Fill the cream puffs: Use a sharp knife to poke a hole in the bottom of each cream puff. Fill a pastry bag with Chantilly cream and deposit into each cream puff through the hole. Alternatively, slice the cream puffs horizontally and pipe Chantilly cream into the base of the bottom half. Place the top half on top of the cream so it resembles a mini sandwich. Dust cream puffs with powdered sugar using a fine mesh strainer. Serve immediately.***
*If you don't have a mixer, you can add the eggs by hand or use a handheld mixer. If adding by hand, use a whisk and mix the eggs into the dough vigorously. The dough will looked separated and curdled at first, but keep whisking until the eggs are fully incorporated and the dough is smooth.
**If you use a different size tip, you may need to adjust the baking time slightly. A larger tip will make slightly larger cream puffs, and may need to be baked a few minutes longer.
***Cream puffs are best eaten the day they're made, but will stay good in the fridge for up to 2 days - just keep in mind they will get slightly soft the longer they sit.