If you don't have a pastry bag, use two teaspoons to shape the puffs for baking, then slice the top third off, spoon in the cream and replace the "lid". My tasters voted unanimously for white-chocolate filling over the traditional pastry cream; I think you'll love it, too.
For the white-chocolate cream filling
400ml thickened cream
150g white chocolate, chopped roughly into 2cm pieces
For the cream puffs
60ml whole milk
60ml water75g butter, sliced
5 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
95g strong white bread flour
2 large eggs
For the chocolate sauce
170ml thickened cream
1 tbsp honey
150g dark chocolate, chopped roughly into 2cm pieces
1. Begin by making the white-chocolate filling. Bring 200ml of the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Once simmering, remove from heat and add the chocolate. Stir gently until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth, then scrape into a bowl. Cool for 10 minutes, then cover with cling film and refrigerate.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C fan-forced (200C conventional) and line two large baking trays with non-stick baking paper.
3. Combine the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and place over medium-high heat. When the butter has melted and the mixture begins to boil, remove the pan from the heat and tip in the flour all at once. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until all the flour is incorporated and comes together in a mass. Place the pan back on a medium heat and cook the paste, stirring and folding continuously for 4-5 minutes. A thin crust will begin to form on the bottom of the pan – this is normal – but reduce the heat if the crust begins to brown.
4. Transfer the paste into the bowl of a cake mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on low speed for 5 minutes to cool it down. Increase the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat for 5 minutes, until thick and glossy, then scrape the paste into a piping bag fitted with a plain, round nozzle about 1.5cm wide.
5. Dab a little of the paste under the four corners of the baking paper so it adheres to the trays, then pipe 3cm balls (about 15g each), spaced about 5cm apart, onto the paper. Wet your fingertips and gently pat to smooth and shape the balls.
6. Place an empty baking tray on the floor of the preheated oven and fill to about 3cm with hot tap water: this creates steam in the oven, which helps the dough to rise. Place the trays of puffs into the oven and bake for 30 minutes; they're ready when they're brown and firm to the touch.
7. Remove from the oven and allow the puffs to cool for a minute, then poke a small hole at the bottom of each with the tip of a small knife to allow steam to escape. Set aside to cool completely.
8. While the puffs are in the oven, finish making the white-chocolate cream filling: scrape the chilled white-chocolate ganache into the bowl of the cake mixer, add the remaining 200ml of the thickened cream and whisk on medium speed until soft waves form. Scrape the cream into a piping bag fitted with a plain, round nozzle about 1cm wide, and keep refrigerated until you're ready to fill the puffs.
9. To prepare the chocolate sauce, place the cream and honey in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat, add the dark chocolate pieces and stir gently until smooth, then decant into a serving jug.
10. To fill the puffs, insert the tip of the pastry bag with the white-chocolate cream filling into the hole of one shell and squeeze to fill it with the cream. Repeat with the remaining shells, then pile the puffs onto a serving platter. Just before serving, pour over some of the chocolate sauce, reserving the rest to pass around in the jug.
Find more of Helen Goh's recipes in the Good Food New Classics cookbook.