If you ever get a chance to go to Honolulu, Hawaii, I highly recommend visiting Liliha Bakery and getting a box of their Coco Puffs! Their Coco Puffs are one of my favorite desserts in the world! This gloopy, messy, and delicious dessert is pâte à choux with a chocolate filling, and topped with what they call chantilly (not to be confused with chantilly cream). Also note that there is no coconut in their chantilly frosting, either.
You can really use any pâte à choux recipe to make these Coco Puffs. I chose to use a chocolate pastry cream to use as my filling. An easier and faster substitute for chocolate pastry cream would be chocolate pudding. I made my chocolate pastry cream a day before I made the pâte à choux and chantilly frosting.
The chantilly frosting is my favorite part of these Coco Puffs. It has a sweet, smooth, buttery richness that always leaves me wanting more! Liliha Bakery may never reveal their coveted recipe, but the recipe below makes some pretty delicious Coco Puffs (and they’re much cheaper to make than buying airfare to Hawaii!).
COCO PUFFS RECIPE
Pâte à choux:
Yields 8-9 puffs
- 1/4 cup (60ml) whole milk
- 1/4 cup (60ml) water
- 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons; 56g) unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup (68g) all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- Center a baking rack and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
- In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt to a rapid boil over high heat.
- Once the milk mixture comes to a boil, add the flour all at once and lower the heat to medium-low and stir the mixture energetically with a wooden or sturdy heatproof spoon. Keep on stirring until a crust forms on the bottom of the saucepan. This should take 1-2 minutes, at which point the dough will come together and be very smooth.
- Turn the dough out into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Let the dough sit for a couple of minutes, then add the eggs, one by one. Be sure the first egg is incorporated completely before adding the second egg. The dough may seem as though it has fallen apart, but it should come together after the addition of the second egg. Use the dough immediately.
- Pipe the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, so that the dough has a base diameter of approximately 2-inches.
- Place the baking sheet into the oven and immediately turn the oven down to 375 degrees F. Bake the puffs for a total of 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet midway. The puffs will be golden brown, firm, and feel hollow when they are properly baked. Transfer to a cooling rack and allow them to cool to room temperature.
Chocolate Pastry Cream
- 2 cups (480ml) whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2/3 cups (75g) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 7 oz (198g) bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (1-1/4 oz; 35g) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into chunks
- Bring the milk to a boil in a medium saucepan
- Whisk the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, and sea salt together in a medium heat-proof bowl. Slowly pour 1/4 cup of the hot milk to temper the yolks, whisking the eggs constantly. While still whisking, pour the remaining milk into the egg mixture in a steady stream. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and bring back to a boil over medium heat, while constantly whisking. You’ll know when you’ve cooked the mixture enough because you’ll see a big bubble rise to the surface and pop. It’s easier to see this if you slow down your mixing for a second or two and wait for a bubble to form.
- Pour the mixture through a sieve into a clean bowl. Whisk in the melted chocolate. Leave the bowl for 5 minutes, then whisk in the butter, stirring until it is fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth.
- Place plastic film against the surface of the cream (so it doesn’t form a skin) and refrigerate it until it’s chilled, about 2 hours.
- 3/4 cup ( 1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
- 1-1/2 cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- pinch of salt
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
- Take the butter off the heat and whisk in the evaporated milk, sugar, salt and the egg yolks one at a time.
- Whisk in the cornstarch and cook over medium low heat until boiling, whisking the entire time. Like the chocolate pastry cream, cook until you see a big bubble rise and pop.
- Pour into a clean bowl and whisk in the vanilla extract.
- Cool for 10 minutes, then place in the refrigerator to chill completely.
- Fill a pastry bag, fitted with a small plain round tip, with the chocolate pastry cream.
- Make a small “X” at the bottom of a puff using a paring knife and pipe the cream into the X. You should feel the weight of the chocolate pastry cream transfer from the bag to the puffs.
- Spoon as much chantilly frosting on top of the coco puffs as you want!
These are really delicious when they’re chilled. These are great make-ahead desserts!