1 cup water
½ cup margarine
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
1 pound vanilla custard or Bavarian cream
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with silpat or parchment paper.
Place the water, margarine and salt in a medium sized saucepan and bring to the boil. Continue boiling until margarine is completely melted. Stir to combine. Remove from the heat.
Add the flour all at once and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until the mixture forms a ball. Add the eggs one at a time and mixing after each to a smooth, shiny paste. It will take a bit of effort to combine each egg thoroughly into the batter.
Using a piping bag fitted with a large round or star-shaped tip, pipe mounds for profiteroles or thick strips about 2 inches long for éclairs. Leave 2 inches of space between each to allow them to grow.
Bake for 15 minutes at 450 degrees, then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer. Remove from oven and allow puffs to cool completely. They should be firm and dry.
Fill a piping bag fitted with a doughnut-filler tip with Bavarian cream. Using the tip poke a small hole on one side of the puff. Fill with custard. Fill just before serving as the filling will soften the pastry.
You can also fill your cream puffs with ice cream by slicing them across and filling with a small scoop of ice cream. Put the top back on and drizzle with your favorite dessert sauce.
Another famous cake created from cream puffs is known as croquenbouche. It is a tower of cream puffs bound together by caramelized sugar. The cream puffs are dipped into melted sugar and piled high. As the sugar cools and hardens it holds the puffs in place to create a tower. It is sometimes served as a wedding cake or at other traditional celebrations.