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Apr 24, 2007 09:08 PM

Cream puffs, still having issues

I'm tryiing to find cream puffs filled with whipped cream. Everywhere I go, I keep getting custard filling. I want light fluffy whipped cream filling, not the heavy gooey custard filling like the ones at Beard Papa and the rest. I"m in Los Feliz, but willing to travel.

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  1. Try a Chinese bakery like Queens Bakery in Chinatown. They used whipped cream for icing cakes and other pastries, so they might have cream puffs with whipped cream filling.

    2 Replies
    1. At first, the novelty of Beard Papa fascinated me. The notion of a storefront filled with staff whose sole mission was to mix, bake, squirt and toss their interpretation of cream puffs to the masses could only be rivaled by Lucy Ricardo's excercise in futility of sorting out chocolates off the conveyor belt.

      While Beard Papa still has a strong appeal to alot of eager eaters, I personally find no real magic in their product. My desires, maybe like yours, are for a more traditional version of a cream-filled choux. Patisserie Chantilly offers such a creation, and then some. As the name "choux" implies (meaning "cabbage" in French, referring to the shape in this case of the pastry), Chantilly's pastry is a much more robust version, a perfectly browned, artisan-made gem where the body and flavor of this pastry is much more eggy and almost breadlike. While the cream filling is not airy light and fluffy like I think you might imply, it isn't a custard either. It reminds me of a fresh heavy cream that has been whipped to the hard peak stage, then gradually infused with a fine pastry cream which is folded in to form a perfect balance of lightness with a rich substantial mouthfeel - between a light whipped cream and a mousse. After enjoying a Choux a la Creme from Chantilly, I found Beard Papa to be anemic and banal.

      While some have complained of the price difference: $3 for Chantilly, versus $1.75 for Beard Papa, the difference in quality and presentation is akin to comparing a pedestrian version of conveyor belt sushi to a place like Mori or Sasabune. Moreover, to contrast the two even more, Chantilly offers a cream puff where the choux is studded with black sesame seeds, and the cream is infused with a black sesame butter as well - the Choux aux Sesames.

      Don't let the price difference dissuade you. You're not stepping up from a VW to a Bentley which would cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars. The additional $1.25 is a marginal difference when you consider the payback is a trip to the moon...

      19 Replies
      1. re: bulavinaka

        I agree. I'm on record as never getting the whole Beard Papa craze either. My homemade choux la cremes are much better!

        1. re: bulavinaka

          I still consider the filling pretty "custard-y". I thankfully live only a few miles from Chantilly and I go there all the time for their sesame flavored puff! Also, I've had the Beard Papa in Shanghai and for whatever reason, I thought the puffs there were leaps and bounds better than the ones I've had in the US.

          1. re: mstinawu

            The sesame one is whipped cream based and not custardy. Unless my eyesights failed me, the regular ones at Chantilly had a distinctively yellowish cast. Don't think that's whipped cream.

            The one I had a a cart during the LA County Fair is one that was extravagantly stuffed to the brim with nothing but whipped cream. But then you'll have to wait until September...

            1. re: mstinawu

              I think of it more like a whipped cream base with a pastry cream folded into it. It's too rich to be whipped cream, but it's too light to be custard. The high percentage of butterfat might be giving you the mouthfeel of something toward a custard at first, but the way it melts in my mouth tells me that it's in the direction of a mousse.

              Have you had a chance to order one of Chantilly's Paris-Brests? The last time we were there, one had just been finished and was being placed ever so carefully in a box... someone was very lucky that day...

              1. re: bulavinaka

                No, I zeroed in on the sesame puffs as those are what seems to be universally liked on the board. I'll check out the Paris-Brests (what is it?) next time as I still have to visit Gaja (unsucessful in last 2 attempts).

                1. re: notmartha

                  If you enjoy the cream puffs at Chantilly, the Paris-Brest is something you can share your enjoyment with four to six people. It's kind of like a "Hungry Jack" sized cream puff with a hole in the middle. The choux is piped into the shape of a large ring then baked like usual. Once finished, it is horizonally sliced in half and filled with cream (and oftentimes fruits as well), then finished with cream embellishments and powdered sugar (and any other garnishes). The one I saw at Chantilly looks like a larger version of their cream puffs, and are normally special order... Sounds like Mstinawu has been very often and thought this was an item that was sampled... It's on my order list the next time I know I'm headed out there...

                  1. re: bulavinaka

                    That's too much for 2. Sounds pretty though.

                    1. re: notmartha

                      Too much for 2 as in the two of you? Oh - come on, where's your gusto? Burp... :)

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        I am doing badly for someone who is trying to stick with low carb... 8(

                        Will try their regular sized regular custard/whipped cream puff and maybe a piece of cake (to go) next time.

                        1. re: notmartha

                          Maybe just eat the cream and wear the rest of the Paris-Brest as giant earrings? Your SO will be gnawing on your lobes... I think I would prefer life in prison instead of low-carb - just keep slipping me the cream puffs through the jail cell bars...

                    2. re: bulavinaka

                      I've ordered a bunch of bday/celebration cakes from Chantilly, here's a pic of one I got a while back. Yuuuuuuummmmmy!

                      1. re: gomagoma

                        That Paris-Brest aux Sesame (goma!) is amazing... I decree from this point on that I am officially one of your best friends or family members - what ever it takes to have you get me one of these! Thank you for so generously sharing this photo!

                        1. re: bulavinaka

                          You're very welcome! Like you, I just can't get enough of her cakes. I'm driving down today to pick up a bday cake - a large Mont Blanc! Can't wait! I also know that she has started making macarons...yummy!

                          1. re: gomagoma

                            Macarons - interesting... Any idea on what flavors she's coming up with?

                            1. re: bulavinaka

                              Currently, she is giving away samples as a gift to celebrate their 2 year anniversary. Chocolate, tea and strawberry in one cute package. Check out my pic (dessert @ home last night!). I personally liked the tea one because it's unique and different and also went well with my "momo" tea from Lupicia. Texture was very nice, delicate and scrumptious!

                              I had just picked up a bunch of macarons a few days ago at La Provence and The Little Next Door (already tried Boule and Jin). I was surprised to see how many different types La Provence had (total of nine, including rose, lemon, lavender, etc.) to offer. I will be picking up a bunch in Tokyo next week at the Pierre Herme store :)

                              1. re: gomagoma

                                Chantilly never ceases to amaze and impress... This could reignite a new battle on macarons... Jin's 18-count in the nice clear plastic box displays the combination of colors and textures like a Chuck Arnoldi abstract..., but with Chantilly throwing in their hat, what artist might come to mind then?

                                Again, thank you for the photo... Keiko would be blushing from all this praise...

                                1. re: gomagoma

                                  You've got to take pictures of those macarons from Pierre Herme to share! I'm jealous :P

                                  1. re: cookee

                                    I will definitely share pics when I return! I'm looking forward to trying out some of the newer flavors they have at their main store in Aoyama. I just love how they come up with special/seasonal/limited-time only ones (hot red ones for Valentine's, holiday colors and the ones with light fruity cream for the summer).

                                    BTW, I just saw your other post on Chantilly macarons --- they were VERY yummy!!

                          2. re: gomagoma

                            I've been thinking of getting one of these lovely items for a party. I called them, and the woman told me it was 18.50 for 16 cm, 27.50 for 18 cm. Her English seemed a little shaky, so I was wondering if these truly are 6.3 inches and 7 inches in diameter (seemed a little smaller than I expected)? I had some trouble confirming this with her.

                            ps. not sure if it's clear or not, but I was responding to gomagoma's post about the paris-brest at Chantilly.

                2. Go to Paradise Pastry in Glendale. They have Armenian cream puffs in large and small sizes. These are freshly made on location: very light, fluffy, and with white whipped cream in the middle. They are delicious and cheap. You can get there quickly via the 5 freeway north from Los Feliz (exit Alameda or Western). Paradise is located on Glenoaks, between Alameda and Western.


                  1. The strawberry-and-cream-in-choux-pastry concoction that MILK carries (I saw one at...9PM last night-"tonight") might be along the lines of what you want.

                    1. Thanks a lot. I will be checking out Chantilly (excellent reveiew BTW) and Paradise Pastry right away.