Dolci - Desserts

Italian Cream Puffs with Vanilla Cream

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Birthdays have always been special in my Croatian family and now my Italian one is exactly the same. We celebrate, we eat, we drink and we are loud. In December we have celebrated the 74th B’day of my father in law and as usual, I have made his favorite Cream puffs with vanilla cream or how we call them in Italy, Bigne con la crema pasticcera.

Guess what? He sings in the elderly choir and I have made a bunch of them so that he can bring it with him and treat his friends. 🙂 

You know, I stuff them with yummy vanilla cream and every bite was a mouthful.
Cream puffs have been the winners; said my father in law the next day.

My friends have gobbled them in a second.

Have you tried Baked Pears? Check this simple recipe.

Easy Cream Puffs recipe

I love the fact that cream puffs are a simple dessert that doesn’t require a lot of ingredients or complicated procedures.

However, I have made my fair share of mistakes before I have learned how to make the perfect cream puffs.

Liquid dough – I wanted to speed up mixing in the eggs and I have used a mixer and it was a huge mistake. The whole dough turned into the liquidy mix that didn’ rise but remained flat.

Not mixing over the heat – when mixing in the flour make sure you sift it before you start pouring it into the water and butter. You have to mix it in over the low heat.

Mixing eggs with a mixer – use the wooden spoon to mix in the eggs, if you use mixer your dough might turn liquid

Making the cream puffs too large – the dough grows a lot during the baking period, so make sure that the amount you take is not bigger than a walnut.

Vanilla filling (crema pasticcera)

I love the simple creams.

Those include fresh eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla. Often we add the lemon peel as well to give it a light citrusy note.

These pudding kind of creams are super simple to make and yet very delicious.

The creamy vanilla taste is perfect for cream puffs but you can use it also for other cakes or tarts. You can use it as a base and add fruit on top of it.

You have asked:

How to fill the puffs without a piping bag?

If you don’t have a piping bag but would like to fill the cream puffs with it, you can improvise using the zip lock bag or the regular freezer plastic bag. On the other hand, you can just slice them open and add the cream with the spatula, spoon, or knife.

Why cream puffs didn’t rise or have deflated?

There are two possible reasons why the cream puffs didn’t rise. The first one is that you have opened oven doors to check them during the baking time. The second reason is you have mixed the eggs into the mix vigorously with the mixer and that has weakened the consistency of the dough.

Cream puffs deflate if you remove them from the oven before they are thoroughly baked. If they remain too moist inside, once you remove them from the hot oven they will deflate and get wrinkly.

Can cream puffs be made ahead of time?

You can bake the cream puffs ahead of time but in order to keep the filling fresh, it’s the best if you fill with the cream maximum a day ahead.

Can cream puffs be frozen?

Yes, cream puffs can be frozen, but before freezing them you have to fill them with the cream. Once removed from the freezer let them defrost on room temperature and cover with the powdered sugar before serving.

How to store the puff shells?

The cream puffs shells are easily stored in the plastic container or the plastic bag. The best solution would be to use a vacuum food sealer to remove the air from the storing bag. In that way, they can remain fresh for several weeks.

Have you tried the yummy salty version of the puffs?

Next time fill the puffs with the chicken or tuna salad. Or you can melt the cheese and add it instead of the cream.

Cream Puffs are a very old dessert and yet very popular even after almost 500 years have gone by.

Did you make this recipe?

Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #italiankitchenstories

Serves 20

Italian Cream Puffs with Vanilla Cream

You will love this creamy dessert. The simple ingredients will allow you to make it often. Serve it with your ice coffee in summer of nice aromatic tea in winter. In Italy we have it with sweet sparkling wine.

1 hr, 10 Cook Time

1 hr, 10 Total Time

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  • 2.5 dl of water
  • 125 g butter
  • 150 g flour
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 4 pieces of eggs
  • How to prepare dough for cream puffs:
  • Pour water, butter, sugar and salt into a saucepan and cook.
  • When boiling, pour flour and mix to form a uniform mass (do not remove from the heat, just pour in the flour and knead constantly for a few minutes to bring it all together).
  • Allow to cool.
  • Whisk the eggs and gradually pour in the cooled flour mixture and whisk constantly.
  • Place the baking paper on a baking tray and add little humps with a spoon or piping bag.
  • They must not be too close as they will grow during the baking.
  • Preheat oven to 200 C degrees.
  • Bake cream puffs shells for 20 minutes then reduce to 180 C and bake for another 15 minutes.
  • Do not open the oven during baking (or they will deflate).
  • Once baked leave them to cool down before filling them with the cream.
  • You can fill the cream puffs with piping bag or you can slice them on half and add the cream with the spoon.
  • Add some powder sugar on top and serve.
  • Vanilla cream (Crema Pasticcera)
  • 500 g of whole milk
  • 120 g of Sugar
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 40 g of Rice or corn starch
  • 2 Vanilla bean (or vanilla sugar or vanilla flavor)
  • To prepare the vanilla cream, first place a bowl in the freezer (you will use it later in the process).
  • Pour the milk into a pan and add both the 3 seeds and the vanilla beans or vanilla sugar.
  • Turn on the heat and heat everything bringing to a boil and stirring occasionally.
  • In another pan pour the yolks, sugar and starch. Using a soft whisk, stir to obtain a creamy and smooth consistency.
  • As soon as the milk touches the boil, transfer it into the yolks by filtering it with a colander and always mixing with the whisk.
  • Transfer back to the heat and stir constantly until it thickens.
  • To cool it quickly take the bowl from the freezer and pour the cream inside.
  • Stir with a whisk very quickly, until you have cooled the cream.
  • You will obtain a smooth and very shiny cream.
  • At this point the vanilla cream is ready.
  • You can use it or keep it in the refrigerator by covering it with plastic wrap.


treenut free
sesame free
mustard free



316 cal


22 g


17 g


11 g
Click Here For Full Nutrition, Exchanges, and My Plate Info

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