Italian Cream Puffs

If you are looking for a light, delicious, easy, and impressive dessert recipe, then look no further. These Italian cream puffs are made from a baked chioux pastry and filled with a sweet ricotta cream filling. Italian cream puffs are sometimes called St. Joseph’s Cream Puffs (Bignè di San Giuseppe), baked bignè, or profiterole. They are a simple dessert that is sure to impress anyone who takes a bite! I grew up on the egg-based custard filling cream puffs and without a doubt these Italian cream puffs are simply spectacular!!

By the way, this is a two day recipe if you are using supermarket Ricotta cheese. If you are using Artisan Ricotta, then these can easily be made in a short period of time. See the note below in regards to the Ricotta.


INGREDIENTS:

Shells/Puffs
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup flour
4 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 teaspoons blanched almonds finely chopped (optional)

Ricotta Filling
2 cups heavy whipping cream (do not switch out for light cream)
2 1/2 cups ricotta cheese (see the note below for preparing the ricotta).
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon Amaretto Liquor (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

Shells/Puffs
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Combine hot water, sugar, butter in a 2 quart saucepan and bring to a boil.
3. Add all of the flour and beat with a wooden spoon till mixture leaves sides of pan and forms a ball.
4. Remove from the heat and add eggs one at a time. Beat vigorously, using a hand mixer helps. Beat each egg until batter is smooth.
5. Add lemon zest and almonds. Mix well.
6. Drop by a heaping tablespoon onto a baking sheet. Make sure they are about 2 inches apart.
7. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes and then reduce oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes more. Cool on a rack before filling.

Ricotta Filling
1. In a medium size bowl, combine 1 cup heavy cream with 1 teaspoon vanilla, ¼ teaspoon cream of tarter, 1 cup powdered sugar and whip until soft peaks form.
2. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, mix remaining ingredients: 2 1/2 cups ricotta, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup powdered sugar, and Amaretto Liquor (optional).
4. Combine both mixtures together. Chill for at least an hour.

To Assemble: Cut puffs in half and use an ice cream scoop to fill each puff generously with the cream mixture or use a piping bag.

Notes: Use only heavy whipping cream. The filling may be prepared ahead of time and frozen for up to one month. Use high quality ricotta that is not watery or grainy. The supermarket variety cannot be used unless it is dried out (drain over cheese cloth in refrigerator overnight or up to 1 day). As an example, ricotta is thick enough if it sticks to the spoon when the spoon is inverted and does not drop off. Your filling will not come out the same if you skip this step.

Enjoy, Drew Frederic

Published by Drew Frederic

Photographer, Artist, Poet, Chef, and Photojournalist.

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