Fat of some kind (butter, margarine, vegetable oil etc.)
*You can bake 9 puffs at once in a home oven
*I have given ingredient amounts based on 1 egg; please multiply the amounts based on how many eggs you are using.
*Use whatever kind of fat or oil you like. *Vegetable oil will make light cream puffs. *Butter will make substantial, rich tasting ones. *Margarine is somewhere in between.
Preheat the oven to 220°C.
Beat the egg(s) well.
Put the butter in a pan and melt it over low heat so that it doesn't burn. *If you are using vegetable oil only as the fat, start at Step 6.
Add the water and cake flour to the fat melted in Step 5, and mix well with a whisk until completely combined.
Heat up the mixture over high heat while mixing with the whisk. When it comes together, lower the heat to medium and keep mixing and kneading with a wooden spatula. *It should become the consistency of mochi or soft bread dough (this is important).
Take the pan off the heat, and keep mixing well while adding the beaten egg little by little. *It should have the consistency of very thick cream.
Put the batter into a piping bag while it's still warm, and pipe it out onto a kitchen parchment paper lined baking tray. *If the batter is not still warm when you put it in the oven, it may fail.
Score the tops of the piped out pastry with a toothpick or other implement several times. This makes the puffs have cream puff-like pretty cracks on top.
Just before putting the pastries in the oven, mist them with water. (If you don't have a mister, just skip this step.)
Bake in a 200°C oven for 20 minutes, then lower the temperature to 180°C and bake for another 15 minutes. *The baking temperature and time varies depending on your oven.
If you don't bake the puffs thoroughly, they may shrivel right after you take them out of the oven. *If you're worried about this, don't take them out of the oven for about 10 minutes after they're finished baking.
This version was made with 25g of butter and 5g of vegetable oil.
I should add more step by step photos...
I have a recipe for the custard cream filling too.
This is a version that you can make right away. Ultra-Easy Whole Egg Custard Cream - Recipe ID: 1793691
Ultra-Easy Custard Cream Made in a Microwave - Recipe ID: 1791678
How to make the cream puffs look nice when finished: 1. When mixing and kneading the batter to a mochi-like consistency in Step 7, make sure to cook the flour thoroughly.
2. Score the top of the piped out pastry.
3. Bake the batter while it's still warm.
4. When you start to bake the puffs, don't lower the temperature below 200°C.
5. Don't lower the temperature below 200°C for the first 20 minutes.
6. If you don't bake the puffs completely, they will shrivel up when you take them out of the oven.
7. If the puffs don't puff up as much as you thought, the oven temperature is too low.
8. The puffs puff up between 10 to 20 minutes after they're put in the oven, so pay attention to the oven temperature during that time. Beyond that, bake the puffs until they are completely done.
9. If your puffs are getting burned, you need to mist them beforehand.
10. If you are concerned about messing up, make mini-cream puffs, which are fool-proof. (Mini-puffs are baked for a shorter time.)
I added some more guidelines on how to make the cream puffs look nice.
By the way, this is a recipe for cream puffs made the usual way: Easy Big Cream Puffs - Recipe ID: 1796932.
Story Behind this Recipe
I wondered if I could cut corners and still make cream puffs. So I cut out as many steps as possible to make cream puffs that still were like properly made ones.
*The puffs won't turn out if the batter isn't warm before being putting in the oven. *If your batter doesn't cook properly starting in a 200°C oven, your oven may actually be cooler than the indicated temperature, so try starting at 220°C. Baking times and temperatures will vary depending on your oven, so please make a note of that.