Pepper Dessert Hybrids: Gulab Jamun Cream Puff with Rosewater Pastry Cream

July 7, 2019
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Today’s dessert hybrid marries two staples from two entirely different cuisines. Cream puffs, also known as profiteroles, are a classic French pastry. Made of choux, cream puffs have a golden exterior, but are incredibly light and fluffy inside. We are used to seeing them with a golden caramel on top, then filled with custard or cream. A gulab jamun on the other hand, is a rosewater syrup-soaked Indian sweet. It is usually a ball of milk solids that have formed into a dough, which is then deep-fried, then drenched in the syrup.

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In order to make a new hybrid, we decided to use the sweet flavors of the gulab jamun, and infuse it into a cream puff. Rather than plain vanilla custard or cream, we sweetened the profiterole’s filling with rosewater, to really nail those Indian flavors. Instead of just a traditional golden caramel on top of the puff, we dipped ours in shattered pistachio, which is traditionally sprinkled on top of a ball of gulab jamun. This created a sort of pistachio brittle, whose nutty flavor tones down the sweetness of rosewater-enhanced pastry cream.

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The recipe may sound a little technical, but once you get stuck in, you’ll realize that even a home cook can easily create some choux pastry at home. While we decided to mimic the sweetness of a gulab jamun, and bring the French cream puff into Indian territory, this recipe is adaptable enough for you to create other hybrid flavors you can dream up. But I guarantee that this delicious, multicultural hybrid will make the perfect dessert, and satisfy your sweet tooth.

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Gulab Cream Puffs with Rosewater Pastry Cream

Total Time: 90 minutes
Yield: 12 large cream puffs

Ingredients: Pate a Choux

  • 1 cup water
  • 6 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 1/3 cup flour
  • 4 to 5 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup crushed pistachios (save for the assembly)

Procedure: Pate a Choux

  1. Melt butter and water in a saucepan.
  2. Add sugar and salt and bring to a boil.
  3. Add in flour all at once.
  4. Combine the flour into the liquid until it comes together into one large ball and pulls away from the sides.
  5. Transfer the dough into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  6. Beat on medium speed until completely cool.
  7. Add in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding another.
  8. After the fourth egg is fully combined, run your finger through the dough to test it.
  9. The dough should slowly come back together.
  10. Add in the fifth egg if the dough is still too dry.
  11. Place the dough into a piping bag and cut a one-inch sized opening.
  12. Pipe onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
  13. Each puff should be about 3 inches in diameter.
  14. Bake in a 425F oven for 10 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 350F and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown.
  15. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Ingredients: Rosewater Pastry Cream

  • 2 1/4 cup milk
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar (divided)
  • 1/3 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tsp rosewater

Procedure: Rosewater Pastry Cream

  1. In a bowl, whisk together egg yolks, half the sugar, and cornstarch.
  2. Place the milk, rosewater, and the other half of sugar in a saucepan.
  3. Heat the sugar and milk mixture until just bubbling.
  4. Pour the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture while stirring constantly.
  5. Pour the mixture back into the pot and whisk continuously until thick, about 3-5 minutes.
  6. Do not overcook or the pastry cream will not be smooth.

Ingredients: Caramel

  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water

Procedure: Caramel

  1. Pour the sugar into the center of a saucepan.
  2. Pour the water around and on top of the sugar.
  3. Cook the sugar and water over a high heat until dark amber in color, about 10 to 20 minutes.
  4. Avoid stirring the caramel; just swirl the pot to even out the color.
  5. Remove from the heat.


  1. Place the crushed pistachios on a plate.
  2. When the caramel is ready, dip the cooled puffs halfway into the caramel.
  3. After the caramel, dip the puffs into the pistachios.
  4. Place the puffs on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper or foil with the caramel side down; this creates a flat and shiny surface on the tops of the puffs.
  5. When all puffs are cooled, carefully peel away from the foil and turn over.
  6. Slice the puffs in half with a serrated knife, taking care not to crush them.
  7. Fill with the rosewater pastry cream.
Pamela Cortez Pamela Cortez

Pamela Cortez writes about food full-time, and has honed her craft while writing for publications such as Rogue, Town and Country, and The Philippine Star. She once rode on a mule for a mile just to eat mint tea and lamb in Morocco, and has eaten a block of Quickmelt in one sitting. Her attempt at food photography can be viewed online @meyarrr.

4 comments in this post SHOW

4 responses to “Pepper Dessert Hybrids: Gulab Jamun Cream Puff with Rosewater Pastry Cream”

  1. Irene says:

    Cream puffs and gulab jamun – my two favorite sweets! Pam, you have made my day. Thank you for this!

    • Pamela Cortez says:

      This will be an awesome dessert if you love both! I also suggest adding cardamom to the caramel to bring in a bit of the spices usually featured in gulab jamun. Enjoy Irene 🙂

  2. I can’t at this. Tell me when it’s getting creepy and I’ll stop licking my screen.

  3. rosette says:

    where do you buy rosewater?

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