Kue Sus Isi Vla (Choux Pastry Cream Puffs) – Crispy and airy choux pastry shells are filled with smooth and soft custard cream.
Making kue sus isi vla always brings back memory of me as kid. When we moved to another house, my mom acquired a new stove (with an oven). It’s a really BIG DEAL back in the 90s in Indonesia. Unlike how the stove comes with the oven here in the U.S., that’s not the case in most Asian countries, especially back in those days. My mom took care of that stove like a baby LOL! That’s when we started to do more baking in the house too. I remember we made this kue sus isi vla almost every week.
A LITTLE BACKGROUND WITH KUE SUS ISI VLA
Choux pastry is of French origin, but it comes to Indonesia via the Dutch during colonial time. It is known as “Soes” in Dutch and in Indonesian version is written as “Sus”. Vla is also the Dutch version of custard cream and hence the name kue sus isi vla.
I’m not an expert in baking, especially pastry. But I love choux pastry. I find it hard and easy at the same time.
It may seem intimidating trying to get the dough to the right consistency, but once you figure that out, it’s really not as overwhelming as you think.
TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE GOOD CHOUX PASTRY
A good choux pastry has a crispy outer shell and lots of air holes inside it. It’s pretty much almost hollow with a soft custard-like shell on the inside.
1. The dough
The dough is cooked to a smooth, sticky, and shiny consistency. Not runny and not too stiff. Too runny and your choux will come out wide and flat. Too stiff and it will be dense and not hollow inside.
Make sure when you pipe or drop the dough on a baking sheet, you pipe/drop it “tall” (by layering to the top), not wide to the side. The choux pastry shape is pretty much determined at this step. This will give you a nice tall choux pastry after baked instead of flat ones.
They are baked with high temperature the first 10 minutes and then the temperature is lowered for the rest of the time to prevent the choux pastry from flatten once they get out of the oven.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTION ABOUT CHOUX PASTRY CREAM PUFFS
1. How to store choux pastry
– Raw dough (Pâte à choux)
You can store in a sealed pastry bag for 2 days max in the refrigerator.
– Already baked choux pastry
They can be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and crisp in the oven at 350 F for 5 minutes. If you freeze them, they can last for one month. They can be crisped in the oven at 300 F for 10 minutes.
2. How long can I store cream puffs in the refrigerator
They are best served once they are filled for that crispy shell and soft custard. But if you really must make-ahead, Maximum of 1 day. Anything longer and you will have really soggy choux pastry and there’s no way to re-crisp filled cream puffs.
3. Can I freeze the custard cream?
They do not freeze well and tend to separate. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
I always tell people, if a lousy baker like me can pull off this choux pastry cream puffs, any of you really can and probably do it better than I am! The kids gobbled this kue sus up so quickly that there’s no need to freeze any LOL!
The recipe was last published in 2015 and I have updated the recipe to an improved version on September 23, 2020.
Kue Sus Isi Vla (Choux Pastry Cream Puffs)
- 140 gr all-purpose flour 1 cup
- ½ tsp salt
- 120 gr butter 8 Tbsp
- 240 ml water 1 cup
- 2 large eggs (room temperature) about 50 grams each without the shell, you may or may not need both eggs
Custard cream filling (yield about 2 cups):
- Confectioners sugar/Powdered sugar
Preparing the custard (can be prepared one day ahead):
- Beat the egg yolks with a fork. Add flour and add in 1/2 of the whole milk and continue to whisk until smooth
- In a medium-size saucepan, add sugar, vanilla extract and the rest of the milk and heavy cream. Cook on medium to low heat until the sugar started to melt. Slowly add in the egg mixture while the other hand continue to stir. You will know when the mixture started to thicken, it will get heavy and smooth. Continue to stir until the custard is thickened. It took me about 15 minutes to get to the custard consistency. Remove from the heat and let the custard cool down completely. Cover with a plastic wrap touching the custard (to prevent skin from forming) and keep in refrigerator until ready to use
Making choux pastry:
- Preheat oven to 425 F. I have a conventional bottom heat oven no fan. If yours are convection , you may want to lower the temperature by about 15-20 degrees. In a medium saucepan, add water and butter. Bring to a boil to melt the butter and then lower the heat and add flour and salt all at once and continue to stir vigorously until the mixture is well blended. Keep stirring for another minute or two to dry the dough. The dough should be smooth and shiny. Remove from the heat and let it cool down for about 3 minutes. It won't be completely cool but it's totally okay to add in one egg at a time. Remember to do one egg at a time
The dough consistency you are looking for:
- Your dough may look like a big mess of blob once you add that first egg in, but don't worry, continue to stir until the egg is mixed in and the dough gets sticky. When you pull the dough up, it should drop down forming a "V" shape trail hanging down from your spatula. If it is, the dough is on the right consistency and you can stop adding egg. If it doesn't drop down at all, it's too thick. Beat another egg and try add half of the beaten egg and mix again and do the same "V" test until you reach that consistency I describe
- At this point, you can choose to use a large tipped nozzle with a piping bag or use two spoons to drop the dough on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you want to use piping bag, transfer the dough to the bag and pipe about 2-inch in size. Make sure you pipe it "tall", not wide to the side. Make sure you have about 1-inch gap in between as the dough will expand a bit as it bakes. If you use spoons, just gently drop the dough on baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Drop them "tall". Dip your finger in water and smooth out the top of the dough so the top won't burn during baking
- Pop this inside the oven (middle rack) and lower the temperature to 375 F (we won't bake at 425 F, that's for preheating the oven) and bake for the next 20 minutes (the time is just a reference, you may need 25-30 minutes). DO NOT open the oven door during this baking time. If you are baking two trays at one time, rotate the pans top to bottom and then back to front and bake for another 10-15 minutes. Once they are done, I turn off the oven and pop the oven door open ajar and let them sit in there or about 15 minutes and then remove from the oven, use a sharp paring knife to poke small holes on bottom to allow the steam to escape and cool on a wire rack completely
- Slice the choux pastry in half horizontally and top with 1-2 Tbsp of custard cream and then top with the other half. You can also pipe the filling for some aesthetic if you choose to. Sprinkle with some confectioners sugar if you going to serve it immediately. I recommend not to sprinkle with the sugar and keep them in the refrigerator as they will become "wet". You can drizzle or dip the choux pastry with melted chocolate if you choose to
- You can also fill the choux pastry by piping the filling through the hole at the bottom of the choux pastry if you prefer not to cut it in half like I mentioned above
- I only assemble as many as we want to eat and refrigerate the choux pastry and filling separately. Read the "frequently asked questions" in this post up there for more detail