Behold the humble cream puff. After what I've shown you so far this week, these guys need almost no instruction now. Whip up a batch of pastry cream and let it chill. Mix together a batch of pâte à choux pastry and pipe into small, one inch sized balls of dough. Use a damp finger to press the balls into a nice shape before baking. Be sure you read the tips about shaping and baking them in the pâte à choux pastry post and the tips about filling them in the eclairs post. This pastry recipe will make about 50 cream puffs.
Let them cool completely before piping them full (but not too full lest you create a pressure filled pastry "bomb") of pastry cream with a small diameter cake decorating tip. If you prefer, you can instead fill them with plain or flavored whipped cream. They can be dusted with powdered sugar if you choose as well.
These will stay fresh and delicious at room temperature the entire day they are made. If you want to save them for more than one day, be sure to refrigerate them since they are filled with a custard. I personally don't think they are nearly as good after the first day since the trip into the refrigerator softens the pastry up quite a bit. Theoretically, they can even be frozen and thawed to eat later. Again, not as good as the first day, but still worth the calories.
Check back tomorrow for the pièce de résistance: Cream Puff Pastry Swans! A dessert to make your company swoon.