Earl Grey Cream Puffs

Earl Grey cream puffs are easy to whip and offer a unique twist to a classic dessert. They combine the delicate flavor of Earl Grey tea with a crispy streusel topping for a perfect balance of texture and taste.

Cream puffs filled with Earl Grey whipped cream

Recipe At a Glance

The concept of these Earl Grey cream puffs is delightfully straightforward: we top our puffs with streusel topping for added crunch and fill them with Earl Grey-infused whipped cream. It’s that simple.

When you break it down, these are just an enhanced version of the simplest puffs you could imagine: plain cream puffs filled with whipped cream. By adding a streusel topping and infusing the cream with Earl Grey tea, you elevate an ordinary dessert into something extraordinary.

Keep in mind that the heavy cream needs at least 6 hours to fully chill after infusion. So, start the process a day before you plan to whip the cream and assemble the puffs. While this recipe is straightforward, it’s not one to whip up on a whim if you need dessert by lunchtime.

Making these Earl Grey cream puffs for the first time? Please read the ingredients notes, step-by-step instructions, and tips. If you’re familiar with the recipe, feel free to jump to the recipe card.

Earl grey cream puff anatomy
Earl grey cream puff anatomy

Ingredients Notes and Substitutes

Choux Pastry

Modern choux pastry ingredients
  • Water and milk. Full-fat milk works best, but skim should work in a pinch. I wouldn’t experiment with vegan milk, as it might alter the flavor of the choux. It’s better to use just water instead.
  • All-purpose flour.
  • Unsalted butter.
  • Eggs.
  • Salt and sugar. Sugar alternatives are perfectly fine.

Crumb Topping

Streusel topping ingredients
  • Unsalted butter.
  • All-purpose flour.
  • Brown sugar. You can use white sugar instead of brown sugar.
  • Food dye. Great if you want to make your puffs look even more impressive, but totally optional.

Earl Grey Whipped Cream

  • Heavy cream. Use the one you typically use for whipping.
  • Earl Grey tea. Loose-leaf tea or tea bags are both okay.
  • Powdered sugar.
  • Vanilla extract. Optional, but makes the whipped cream taste even better.
  • Gelatin. We use gelatin to stabilize the whipped cream so that it doesn’t weep and thickens nicely after being piped inside the puffs.

How to Make Earl Grey Cream Puffs

Here’s a high-level overview:

  1. Infuse the whipped cream with Earl Grey tea and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Prep the crumb topping.
  3. Prep the choux pastry, combine it with the streusel, and bake the puffs.
  4. Once the puffs cool, we whip the infused heavy cream with the gelatin and pipe the puffs.

Let’s get into the details.

Step 1: Infuse Heavy Cream

  1. Cook Heavy Cream: Pour the heavy cream into a pot and set it over medium-high heat. Heat it until bubbles form around the edges of the pot, indicating that it’s nice and warm. Keep a close eye on the cream; the goal is to heat it enough for infusion, not to bring it to a boil.
Cooking the heavy cream
Heat the heavy cream until bubbles form around the sides of the pot
  1. Infuse: Add the tea bags or leaves to the pot and allow them to steep for 15 to 20 minutes. Next, strain the tea, pressing the bags to extract as much flavor-rich liquid as possible.
  1. Cool: Pour the infused cream into a bowl intended for whipping and let it cool at room temperature for 30 to 60 minutes. Then, cover and refrigerate until it’s thoroughly chilled. Chilling the cream for at least 6 hours is crucial, though 8 or more hours is even better. I recommend infusing the cream a day in advance.

Step 2: Make Crumb Topping

(For more detailed information and tips on crumb topping, check out my article on streusel topping.)

  1. Warm Up Butter: Take the butter out, chop it into cubes, and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. We want it nice and soft. Skip this step if you’re in a hurry.
  2. Mix Dry Ingredients: Grab a medium bowl and mix your sugar and flour.
  3. Add Butter: Add that room-temperature butter to the mix and mix the ingredients using a fork until you achieve a homogeneous mass. A mixer will also do the trick.
  1. Add Food Dye: If using, add the food dye and stir it until well incorporated. Start with a bit and add more if needed. Use gloves if you’re incorporating the dye using your hands (which is probably the best way).
  1. Roll Out: Sandwich your dough between two sheets of parchment paper or silicone mats, and roll it out thin – aiming for about 1/10 inch or 2 to 3mm thick. When it starts getting tough to roll, peel off the top layer, place it on your work surface, and then flip the dough over onto it. Finish by peeling off and placing the other layer back. Repeat whenever it gets hard to roll.
  1. Refrigerate: Pop the rolled-out dough, still between the sheets, in the fridge for about 30 minutes. That’s when you can start working on choux pastry. For best results, place the rolled-out dough on something that will retain a low temperature for longer, like a cutting board.
  2. Cut: Once the dough is nice and cold, cut it into disks minimally larger than your puffs (about 2 inches). Once all the necessary shapes are cut out, gather the remaining streusel scraps using a pairing knife or an offset spatula, form them into a ball, and roll it out or freeze for next time. Be quick here because the dough softens fast.
  3. Refrigerate: Put the cut streusel into the fridge, where it’ll wait until your choux pastry is ready and piped. You can prepare the streusel the day before you need it and leave it overnight in the fridge, or do it even sooner and freeze the disks.
Refrigerate the cut streusel
Refrigerate the cut streusel

Step 3: Make Choux Pastry

(Read my article on choux pastry for a more detailed description and tips on working with choux pastry!)

  1. Preheat Oven. Start by preheating your oven to 390°F (200°C).
  2. Melt Butter and Bring to a Boil. In a pot, combine butter, milk, water, salt, and sugar, then bring the mixture to a boil, ensuring the butter is fully melted.
  1. Add Flour. Take the pot off the heat, add all the flour to the mixture at once, and stir until it roughly combines. Bring the pot back to the stove and continue stirring with a spoon over low heat. The dough will thicken and clump quickly, but you should continue stirring the mixture for 2-3 minutes, ensuring all the flour is incorporated and no white floury spots are inside. While stirring, scrape the dough from the sides and bottom to prevent sticking. After 2-3 minutes, the dough should be glossy and easy to detach from the pot, and a thin layer, or film, should form on the bottom.
  1. Transfer. Move the dough to a mixing bowl and let it cool for about 10 minutes. Spreading it across the bowl can speed up cooling.
Spread choux pastry in bowl to cool
Spread choux pastry in bowl to cool
  1. Prepare Eggs. Crack the eggs into a separate bowl and whisk them.
Whisk the eggs
Crack and whisk the eggs
  1. Make Dough. Once the dough has cooled slightly, start mixing it with a hand mixer at medium speed. After 20-30 seconds of mixing, add half the eggs to the dough and mix until incorporated. Repeat by adding half of the leftover egg mixture. Now it’s time to get the dough to the right consistency: you want it thick enough to hold its shape but still pipeable. The V-Shape test is the best way to check for that: Dip your mixer whisks or spatula into the dough and lift it. The dough should slowly fall off, eventually leaving a piece of dough hanging that forms a characteristic ‘V’ shape or a triangle at the end of the whisk or spatula. If the dough is not there yet, continue adding the eggs bit by bit and checking the consistency.
Adding the whisked eggs
Mix the dough at medium speed and add the whisked eggs

Step 4: Pipe and Bake Cream Puffs

(Check out my cream puffs article for more info on making cream puffs.)

  1. Prepare Baking Tray. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Optionally, draw 2-inch circles on the underside of the parchment as guides, spaced about 1 1/5 inches apart, for uniformly sized cream puffs.
Cream puffs graphic
Cream puff pastry size
  1. Set up for piping. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a round tip or use a plastic food bag with a corner cut off.
  2. Pipe the dough. Start by holding your piping bag with a round tip vertically above the baking sheet. Begin piping by gently squeezing the bag, letting the pastry build into a mound. As you form the mound, lift the bag slowly, still squeezing, to let the pastry stack upon itself. Keep the tip partially in the forming mound, guiding it to expand up and out. Aim for about 3/4 inches in height and 2 inches in diameter. To finish, stop squeezing and smoothly pull the tip up and away, leaving a small peak. You can lightly pat this down with a damp finger.
  1. Add streusel. Once the puffs are piped, take the crumb topping discs from the fridge and place one on top of each piped mound, pressing gently.
Adding the streusel
Add the streusel on top of each piped mound and gently press
  1. Bake. Place the tray in the preheated oven, then immediately reduce the temperature to 356°F (180°C). Bake for 40 minutes. Open the door a tiny bit (and leave them open) for the last 5 minutes for any buildup steam to escape. If the puffs start to brown before the 35-minute mark, lower the temperature to 320°F (or 160°C).
Baked earl grey puffs
Bake puffs for 40 minutes and let them cool
  1. Cool. Remove the puffs from the oven, let them cool for 10 minutes, then carefully detach them from the parchment paper or silicone mat and let them cool on a wire rack for another 10 to 15 minutes.

Step 5: Make Stabilized Earl Grey Whipped Cream

  1. Bloom Gelatin: Whisk gelatin with water in a small bowl and let it sit for 10 minutes to soften.
  1. Prep Gelatin Solution: Melt the bloomed gelatin in the microwave using short bursts (to avoid cooking it), or use a hot water bath or double boiler (turn off the heat when the water in the pot starts boiling). Once the gelatin melts, mix in 2 tablespoons of the cold, infused heavy cream to temper it. It’s better to use a hot water bath or double boiler so the heavy cream warms slightly and doesn’t set immediately. If there are any lumps, gently heat the solution until smooth. The solution must be liquid before moving on.
  1. Whip Heavy Cream: Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract to the remaining infused heavy cream and whip until soft peaks form. Aim for the cream to double in volume and start looking like whipped cream, although it should not fully hold its shape yet.
  2. Add Gelatin Solution: Add the gelatin and heavy cream mixture into the bowl and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. If you can’t achieve stiff peaks, a mousse-like consistency is also good enough for piping into cream puffs, so don’t worry.

Step 6: Pipe and Serve

  1. Pipe: Scoop the whipped cream into a piping bag or syringe and fill the puffs. If your whipped cream has more of a mousse-like consistency, a piping syringe is easier to work with (at least for me). I fill these from the bottom, but you could go in from the side or even the top (if you plan on decorating these). Don’t worry about the cream oozing out — it thickens nicely in the fridge. If you fill the puffs from the bottom, storing them on their sides before the filling thickens is an option but not a must. The whipped cream should be thick enough not to ooze out if standing upright on a flat surface.
  1. Refrigerate or Serve: You can serve these right after piping or keep them chilled until it’s time to serve.
Cream puffs with Earl Grey whipped cream

Tips

Here are a few tips when making these cream puffs:

  • Whip Cream When Ready: Whip the stabilized cream only when your puffs are baked and ready to be filled. Stabilized whipped cream thickens quickly and becomes more difficult to pipe, so timing is crucial. If the cream thickens before piping, it’s still usable, but the process will take longer.
  • Use Leftover Whipped Cream: If you have any whipped cream left after filling the puffs, refrigerate it for at least an hour until it thickens, then pipe decorations on the puffs.
  • Prep Crumb Topping Earlier: The crumb topping can be a bit of a process, so I prefer to get it done early, perhaps while I’m busy with other kitchen tasks. You can prepare it the day before and refrigerate it, or even make it up to a few weeks in advance and freeze it.
Earl Grey cream puffs with crumb-topping
Earl Grey cream puffs with crumb-topping

Variations

Here are some ideas for modifying this recipe according to your needs and time constraints.

Earl Grey cream puffs dusted with powdered sugar

Simplify

  • Skip Crumb Topping: While the crumb topping adds a delightful crunch to the puffs, its preparation can be time-consuming. If you’re looking for simplicity, you can skip this step and just dust the puffs with powdered sugar or coat them with a simple chocolate ganache. As my vanilla cream puffs recipe shows, the ganache only requires 10 minutes to prepare, plus some cooling time. Without the crumb topping, the puffs won’t expand as much, so you can reduce the whipped cream ingredients by a quarter. Alternatively, keep the filling proportions unchanged and use any excess to decorate the puffs after filling.
Earl Grey cream puffs with streusel

Elevate

  • Make Earl Grey Pastry Cream: For a richer alternative to whipped cream, consider using pastry cream. Start with my vanilla pastry cream recipe, infusing the milk with Earl Grey tea for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking. For a great in-between option, prepare half the pastry cream recipe, incorporate bloomed gelatin while the cream is hot, and once cooled, fold in 2 cups of whipped cream (from 1 cup heavy cream) to create Diplomat Cream. Pipe the puffs right after combining.
Cream puffs with Earl Grey whipped cream and streusel
Earl Grey cream puffs dusted with powdered sugar

Storage

You can store these cream puffs in the fridge for 3 to 4 days. Make sure the container is sealed tightly so they don’t absorb any smells.

Cream puffs filled with Earl Grey whipped cream

Earl Grey Cream Puffs

Earl Grey cream puffs are easy to whip and offer a unique twist to a classic dessert. They combine the delicate flavor of Earl Grey tea with a crispy streusel topping for a perfect balance of texture and taste.
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Refrigeration: 6 hours
Total Time: 7 hours 30 minutes
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keyword: Cream Puffs, Earl Grey, Filling, Whipped Cream
Servings: 16 Earl Grey cream puffs

Equipment

  • whisk
  • Stand mixer

Ingredients

Choux Pastry:

  • ¼ cup water ~60 ml
  • ¼ cup milk ~60 ml
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter ~45 g
  • oz all-purpose flour ~70 g
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • tsp sugar
  • 2 large eggs ~95g after cracking

Streusel Topping:

  • 2 oz unsalted butter 4 tbsp or 61g
  • 2 oz all-purpose flour 1/2 cup or 61g
  • 2 oz light brown sugar 1/4 cup or 61g
  • Food dye optional

Earl Grey Whipped Cream:

  • 2 cups heavy cream ~480g
  • 8 g Earl Grey tea 4 bags or about 3 teaspoons
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract optional
  • 2 teaspoons gelatin 6g
  • 2 tablespoons water 30g

Instructions

Infuse Heavy Cream:

  • Heat Cream: Pour heavy cream into a pot over medium-high heat until bubbles form at the edges.
    2 cups heavy cream
  • Infuse Tea: Steep tea bags or leaves in the hot cream for 15-20 minutes, then strain.
    8 g Earl Grey tea
  • Chill Cream: Let the infused cream cool at room temperature for up to an hour, then refrigerate for at least 6 hours, ideally overnight.

Streusel:

  • Soften Butter: Cut the butter into cubes and let it soften at room temperature for about an hour.
    2 oz unsalted butter
  • Mix Dry Ingredients: In a medium bowl, combine sugar and flour.
    2 oz light brown sugar, 2 oz all-purpose flour
  • Add Butter: Incorporate the softened butter using a fork or mixer until evenly mixed.
  • Add Food Dye: If using, add the food dye and stir it until well incorporated.
    Food dye
  • Roll Out Dough: Between parchment papers, roll dough to a thickness of 2-3mm. Peel and replace paper as needed for easier rolling.
  • Refrigerate: Refrigerate the rolled dough (still between sheets) for about 30 minutes, ideally on a cutting board that will retain temperature for longer.
  • Cut Shapes: Cut the dough into 1.5 to 2-inch disks quickly before it softens, remove the excess, and return the disks to the fridge.

Choux Pastry:

  • Preheat Oven: Heat oven to 390°F (200°C).
  • Boil Butter Mixture: In a pot, mix butter, milk, water, salt, and sugar. Bring to a boil, ensuring the butter melts completely.
    ¼ cup water, ¼ cup milk, 3 tbsp unsalted butter, ¼ tsp salt, 1¼ tsp sugar
  • Add Flour: Off the heat, add flour and cocoa powder (mixed) all at once and stir. Return to low heat, stirring continuously for 2-3 minutes until the dough is thick, glossy, and leaves a thin film on the pot bottom.
    2½ oz all-purpose flour
  • Cool Dough: Transfer dough to a bowl and let it cool for 10 minutes, spreading it out to cool faster.
  • Whisk Eggs: Beat eggs in a separate bowl.
    2 large eggs
  • Mix Dough: With the dough slightly cooled, mix with a hand mixer. Gradually add half the eggs, mix, then add the remaining eggs bit by bit until the dough forms a 'V' shape when lifted with a whisk or spatula.

Bake:

  • Prepare Tray: Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Pipe Dough: Fill a piping bag and pipe dough onto the tray in 2-inch mounds, leaving 1¼ inches space between each.
  • Add Streusel: Place refrigerated streusel discs on each dough mound.
  • Bake: Place the baking tray in the oven, immediately reduce the temperature to 356°F (180°C), and bake for 40 minutes until slightly browned. Open the oven door slightly for the last 5 minutes of baking.

Whip Cream:

  • Bloom Gelatin: Whisk gelatin with water and let sit for 10 minutes.
    2 teaspoons gelatin, 2 tablespoons water
  • Melt Gelatin: Microwave bloomed gelatin in short bursts or use a hot water bath to melt it. Mix in 2 tablespoons of cold infused cream to temper. If it becomes lumpy, warm up gently until everything is liquid.
  • Whip Cream: Add powdered sugar and vanilla to the rest of the infused cream and whip to soft peaks.
    2/3 cup powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Combine with Gelatin: Mix the gelatin solution into the whipped cream until stiff peaks form. A mousse-like consistency is also good enoguh for piping the puffs.

Assembly:

  • Pipe Cream: Fill a piping bag or syringe with whipped cream and pipe into the puffs. Choose to pipe from the bottom, side, or top. The cream will thicken in the fridge, preventing leakage.
  • Serve or Chill: Serve the cream puffs immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.
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