Cream horns are delicate, flaky puff pastry cones filled with sweet whipped cream. No need to head to a bakery – they’re easier to make than you might think!
When I was growing up my dad would sometimes pick up a package of cream horns at the grocery store and I considered that a special treat.
And frankly, I should have – it’s sugar on top of sugar that I got to consume at breakfast.
Ever since I moved to New England, I’ve had a hell of a time even finding them in grocery stores. I’ve found places where I could order them from a bakery, but nothing that I could just grab and go.
It hurts my little sugar-loving heart, you guys. Hurts.
Last week one of my friends posted a #ThrowbackThursday picture of her and her siblings shoving their faces with cream horns and I got a pretty epic bout of nostalgia.
I tossed my iPad onto the couch and vowed that I would not leave my kitchen until I made them and I made them RIGHT.
Cream horns can be hard to get right
The cream filling couldn’t be too creamy, and it couldn’t be too sweet. The pastry couldn’t be too flaky, but it also couldn’t be too thick. It took me a couple rounds to get it where I wanted it, and I love it.
I gave up on making my own pastry and just went with store-bought puff pastry, but frankly I don’t have an issue with that. The cream filling is what I was more concerned with.
What I came to realize is that I wasn’t going to know if it worked with the pastry until I made the pastry, made the filling, and placed them in the fridge for a while. I tried one before it went in the fridge to cool both the pastry and the filling, and something didn’t seem right.
The chilling process is key to the flavoe
Then I tried another after it had been in there for a couple hours and it tasted perfect. It brought me right back to my childhood.
If I could have changed into Batman pajamas and sat down in front of the TV with one to watch The California Raisins, I would have.
Can we stop for a moment to talk about how adorable these measuring cups are? I got them at Home Goods last year and never got around to grabbing a picture of them. They’re perfectly compact since they stack, and I love anything that I can put on display that’s also functional.
Plus, when they’re stacked it makes a milk jug. And that’s completely adorable.
Making pastry cones
I’ve used the aluminum foil method (see recipe card) to form the cones you form the pastry around, but if you want to be legit about this pick up these pastry cones (affiliate link). So much easier! It’ll save you time and your sanity.
Add garnish if you wish!
Anyway – back on point! I know some people like to drizzle a little chocolate on top or add some fruit to the filling, but I love them in their simplest form.
Pastry and cream with a dusting of powdered sugar. Make whatever variation you’d like, but don’t tell me about it. I might judge you for ruining perfection.
Below is a step by step for those of you who are more visually inclined:
After you’ve made this recipe, please consider coming back to share your experience with others by leaving a comment below with a star rating!
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg, room temperature
- 1 cup powdered sugar, divided
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Take out a sheet of puff pastry to let it thaw enough that you can unfold it without it breaking apart. Once thawed, cut the pastry sheet into nine equal strips. Set aside.
- Spray metal pastry cones with non-stick spray. If you don't have pastry cones, make your own! Rip off 8-12" long sheets of aluminum foil, fold in half, and roll each into a cone shape.
- Wind a strip of pastry around each cone, starting at the pointed end and making sure to overlap layers. After you've reached the end of the pastry, gentle press the end to the top layer of pastry to prevent it from popping off while baking. Place them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes so that they'll hold their shape while baking.
- Preheat oven to 400°F and prepare a baking sheet with a non-stick silicon mat or non-stick spray. Place each pastry, seam side down, 2-3" apart on baking sheet (you may need multiple baking sheets depending on their size - remember, the pastries will expand as they bake and you don't want them to touch!).
- Create an egg wash by whisking together one egg with a teaspoon of water in a small bowl. Brush the top (and only the top!) of each pastry with egg wash to give them a nice golden brown sheen.
- Place 1/4 cup powdered sugar in a flour sifter and crank the sifter to cover the top of each pastry.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on baking sheet with the metal forms still inside.
- While the pastries are cooling, prepare the cream filling. In a large bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms soft peaks. Add vanilla and remaining 3/4 cup powdered sugar. Whip until it forms stiff peaks. Taste test it and add more powdered sugar if you'd like it a little sweeter.
- Once pastries are completely cooled, fill a piping bag with the cream and squeeze with firm pressure into the pastry cavities. If desired, top with a little powdered sugar or drizzled chocolate. Keep refrigerated and enjoy!