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I am making Danish puff and also mini cream puffs. When I make them with butter, they are coming out thinner and flatter, spreading out. they should be high and round. It calls for margarine (which I don't like and is hard to find except spreads.) Can anyone help?

The recipe for the puffs is:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup flour
  • salt
  • 4 eggs

Heat water, butter, salt to boil. Remove from heat and add flour all at once. Stir over low heat 1 min. or until forms ball. Cool slightly, add eggs one at a time, beating after each. Drop by tsps. bake at 400° F for 10 min. Reduce heat to 350° F and bake 20 mins.

It is flattening with butter. Should I add more flour? Ideas?

  • Is the butter leeching during the baking process? – mrwienerdog Jan 5 '15 at 17:38
  • puff: 1/2 c.butter, 1 c. water, 1 c. flour,salt, 4 eggs – marilee Jan 5 '15 at 22:50
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    Baking with butter will always be flatter than the same recipe made with margarine or shortening, that's just due to the physical properties of butter (it doesn't melt as suddenly, and starts deforming at lower temperatures). But I agree that there are many recipes for puff pastry which use butter, and they rise enough for presentable results. Are your pastries just less well puffed, or completely flat? – rumtscho Jan 5 '15 at 23:12
  • 3
    Any reason not to just use a recipe that calls for butter in the first place (i.e. most of them)? – Aaronut Jan 6 '15 at 4:56
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    You should be using unsalted butter, otherwise that will effect the leavening due to lower rate of evaporation. Also, butter won't create as much of a rise, for reasons mentioned above. Maybe consider adding some shortening or lard along with the butter. This should be relatively easy to find. Another options is following a different recipe that uses butter. What I've noticed for other pate a choux(cream puffs) recipes is that the flour:water ratio is 2:1, where as you're recipe would have double the flour it currently has. – tsturzl Feb 6 '15 at 21:54
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How funny since I learned this same recipe when I first got married 40 years ago. Here are the secrets I've learned. Maybe the extra detail will help you find what went wrong with your attempts.

First, you need to have everything at room temperature, especially the eggs. Once you add the butter (yes, butter, not margarine!) to the boiling water that is boiling and it melts, add the cup of flour quickly to the water and with a big spoon mix it fast. It will form a ball. Get it off the heat.

Now, get a mixer and add each egg, one at a time, and mix it thoroughly after each one - but don't overdo it. Do it quickly.

Now with either a pastry bag or a spoon (I use a spoon), drop rounds of the mix on a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Use approximately a 1 1/2 to 2 inch spoonful, so you will have anywhere from 18 to 22. Do not play with these.

Put in preheated oven of 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. The baking time will depend on size. When you take out of the oven, they look beautifully puffed, but if not baked properly, will start to deflate. So depending on the size, your oven and your patience, you'll have to adjust, but with practice you will master this. It's okay to open the door at the 20 minute mark to turn the cookie sheet, and get a idea if you need to go 10 or even 15 to 20 more minutes depending on the softness of the puff. Even if they deflate, it's okay.

Cool, cut then in half, fill them with a nice custard cream, top them off with the lid, either make a nice chocolate ganache or frosting or if you are lazy or tired, sprinkle with powdered sugar or cocoa powder.

You can also make whipping cream but once you make a good cream custard, no matter how badly deflated the puffs are, people don't usually notice with something on top. It's always been a hit and long ago I used to make only 12 and filled them up with my own special cream and they were the size of baseballs, topped with homemade frosting and I hope you try it.

  • Hello! You are describing some other recipe for cream puffs. But the OP was asking how to troubleshoot their own recipe, and wanted to learn what is going wrong there. I'm sure your recipe works for you, and it may or may not work for somebody else (there are always factors that are hard to control for) but the point is that it does not answer the question. – rumtscho Feb 26 '15 at 17:26
  • I think it's actually basically the same recipe, so all the details may help find the issue. And it does say it's okay to use butter, which seems like an important detail. – Cascabel Feb 28 '15 at 17:27
  • "How funny since I learned this same recipe when I first got married 40 years ago."...From her tone, it sounds like exactly the same recipe. – Lorel C. Aug 8 '16 at 21:06

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