Persian Cream Puffs are called “noon e khamei, or naan e khamei” in Farsi, which translates to “whipped cream bread.” I call them simple pleasures! If you’ve had exquisite cream puffs like these you know what I am talking about. I lightly dust the pastry with powdered sugar for a touch of sweet, and it makes them look so pretty. It is a pure joy to eat a cream puff; the pastry is a crispy, light shell that collapses into the fluffy whipped cream when you bite into one. This is the best way to eat a cream puff, messy and indulgent. However, the pastry is so delicate that it can easily be pulled apart with a fork if you don’t want whipped cream and powdered sugar on your nose and face!
These delightful pastries are perfect for spring and Easter. When I had my cake business these Persian Cream puffs were very popular during Easter, which is why I have decided to share the recipe with you at this time.
The shells are baked at a high temperature to puff up nicely and then further baked in a lower temperature so the insides dry out and they become golden brown, crispy, and delicate.
The whipped cream is lightly sweetened with sugar and perfumed with pure vanilla and rosewater. This combination gives my Persian Cream Puffs a very unique flavor that is so much tastier than either vanilla or rosewater alone in this lovely dessert. You may follow the amounts of sugar, vanilla or rosewater according to my recipe for the whipped cream, or you may adjust them to your taste.
Preheat the oven to 450 F, center rack 30 minutes ahead. You will need: An electric mixer with the whisk attachment, a small 1-Qt saucepan, and a large pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip.
The water, salt and butter are brought to a boil over medium heat while stirring to melt the butter. Next, the saucepan is removed from the heat and all of the sifted flour is added at once to the liquid. You will need to work fast and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until a soft ball of dough forms that starts to pull away from the sides of the saucepan. At this point the saucepan is placed back on the burner over low heat while stirring for another 2 minutes, this is to get rid of some of the moisture. Then the soft dough is placed in the large bowl of a mixer to cool for 10 minutes so you don’t end up with scrambled eggs in the next step!
Line a large cookie sheet with a silicone mat or a sheet of parchment paper. Fit a large pastry bag (I use a size 16) with a round tip (I have used #1A). With the mixer on medium speed, add and beat the eggs one at a time and mix to blend before adding the next egg. After the last egg is mixed in, stop the mixer, scrape the sides of the bowl and beat the batter for one minute on high speed until smooth. Fill the pastry bag with the batter. Let the tip of the bag touch the bottom of a bowl to keep the batter inside the bag.
Pipe out 14 circles in a spiral pattern on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake on the center rack of a preheated 450 F oven for 15 minutes, then without opening the oven door reduce the heat to 325 and bake for another 25 minutes, until the puffed pastries are golden brown. Use your fingertips to transfer the baked puffs to a cooling rack, they should sound hollow when tapped gently. Right away partially cut the tops with a sharp serrated knife leaving a piece still attached, to create a hinge that you can open and close. This helps release the steam and will result in crispier puffs; let them cool completely before filling with whipped cream. Meanwhile whip the heavy cream with sugar, vanilla and rosewater. You may fill the Cream Puffs with the whipped cream using a spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (I have used #2D) or a plain tip. The puffs will be crispier if served within couple of hours of filling. Dust the tops with powdered sugar before serving.
Yields 14 cream puffs
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 15 + 25 minutes
You will need: An electric mixer with a whisk attachment. A small 1-Qt saucepan. A large pastry bag with a plain tube tip. A large cookie sheet lined with silicone mat or parchment paper.
- FOR THE PASTRY
- 1 cup water
- 3 ounces (6 TBSP) unsalted butter, cubed
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 4 large eggs (room temperature)
- FOR THE FILLING
- 2¼ cups heavy cream
- 5 TBSP granulated sugar (add more if you prefer sweeter)
- ¼ tsp pure vanilla powder, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp rosewater
- Powdered sugar, for dusting the pastries (tip: use a clean salt shaker)
- Add 1 cup water, 3 ounces unsalted butter and ⅛ tsp salt to a small 1-Qt saucepan. Bring to a slow boil over medium heat while stirring to melt the butter.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and place it on a sturdy heatproof surface. Add all of the sifted flour to the hot liquid at once. Use a wooden spoon to mix the flour into the liquid and stir rapidly, until a ball of soft dough forms and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
- Place the pan back on low heat and continue to stir for 2 minutes; this is to remove some of the moisture.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat. Place the soft dough in the bowl of a stand mixer, and allow it to cool for 10 minutes so you don't end up with scrambled eggs in the next step.
- Attach the whisk attachment and with the mixer on medium speed add eggs one at at time and beat fully until blended before adding the next egg.
- After mixing the last egg, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on high for 1 more minute until smooth.
- Use a spatula to fill a large pastry bag(about 16-inch) with the batter. You may fit the bag with a plain round tip #1A, or cut the tip of a pastry bag to ¾-inch diameter.
- Pipe the batter out in a spiral pattern into fourteen 2-inch circles onto the prepared baking sheet. Leave 1-inch space between each circle.
- Bake on the center rack of the 450⁰ preheated oven for 15 minutes.
- Without opening the oven door, reduce the temperature to 325⁰ and continue baking for another 25 minutes.
- Use your fingertips to transfer the golden brown hollow pastries onto a cooking rack. Immediately use a sharp serrated knife to partially cut the tops, leaving a piece intact to act like a hinge to open and close. This helps release of steam and results in crispier shells. Cool completely.
- Add the heavy cream to the chilled bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment. Add 5 tablespoons sugar and beat on medium low speed until soft peaks start forming. Add the vanilla and rosewater. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form.
- Fill the cooled shells with the whipped cream using a spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a large star tube (I have used #2D).
- Serve the filled pastries within couple of hours. Dust the tops with powdered sugar right before serving.
*If you would like to save some of the puffs for the next day, you may do so without filling them.
* For fresh crispy puffs the next day, preheat the oven to 300 F and reheat the unfilled puffs directly on the rack for 3-4 minutes. Let them cool before filling them.