Puff Pastry Cream Horns

published Sep 21, 2021
Cream Horns Recipe

In this recipe, spiral tubes of puff pastry are stuffed with a luxurious, mousse-like lemon-vanilla whip.

Makes12 cream horns

Prep20 minutes

Cook25 minutes

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Cream horn pastries (croissant shaped pastry, filled with cream)  on a mauve plate, with  powdered sugar on top.
Credit: Shilpa Uskokovic

Crunchy, creamy, crispy, flaky: All the best adjectives in the food vocabulary are fitting for cream horns! In this recipe, spiral tubes of puff pastry are stuffed with a luxurious, mousse-like lemon-vanilla whipped cream.

Using store-bought puff pastry makes the whole process super easy. My favorite brand is Dufour because it’s made entirely with butter, but Pepperidge Farm works great in this recipe, too. The most important thing to remember when working with puff pastry, or any pastry, is to keep the dough cold. If at any time while making these cream horns the dough feels soft, simply pop it in the fridge for 10 to 15 minutes until firm and well-chilled. Cold dough is not only easier to work with, but also puffs up higher in the oven.

No special cream horn molds? No problem! Use waffle cones wrapped in aluminum foil instead. Wooden dowels (easily found at any craft store) also make a great stand-in. If you don’t have wooden dowels or waffle cones (or don’t want to buy them), regular ole wooden spoons work just as well. Their long, straight handles are perfect for shaping these cream horns.

Do Cream Horns Need to Be Refrigerated?

Once filled, cream horns are best eaten within six to eight hours, but preferably within a few hours. Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one day. They will lose their crunch but will still taste good.

Cream Horns Versus Cannolis

  • Cream horns are made with puff pastry and are usually filled with a sweetened, whipped cream or custard filling. 
  • Cannolis are fried and made from a dough that usually contains white wine. The shells are much thinner and crispier than cream horns. Cannolis are generally filled with a lightly sweetened ricotta mixture and often include candied orange peel.

How to Make Cream Horn Filling

While most cream horn fillings are usually just lightly sweetened whipped cream, this recipe includes the addition of a little instant vanilla pudding mix. Besides the vanilla flavor, instant pudding mix also contains modified starch that thickens liquid without the need to be heated. This means the whipped cream holds its shape enough to be piped and stays firm for a few hours without breaking down.

Cream Horns Recipe

In this recipe, spiral tubes of puff pastry are stuffed with a luxurious, mousse-like lemon-vanilla whip.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 25 minutes

Makes 12 cream horns

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 1 (about 16-ounce) package

    frozen puff pastry

  • 12

    sugar ice cream cones (optional), or 6 (1-inch wide, 12-inch long) wooden towels

  • 2 cups

    cold heavy cream

  • 3 tablespoons

    granulated sugar

  • 1/4 cup

    instant vanilla pudding mix (not cook-and-serve)

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    finely grated lemon zest

  • Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)

Instructions

  1. Thaw 1 package puff pastry in the refrigerator according to package instructions.

  2. Arrange 2 racks to divide the oven into thirds and heat the oven to 375°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Wrap a 7x4-inch piece of aluminum foil around the outside of a sugar ice cream cone, starting at the tip. A small section at the top of the cone will remain exposed. Repeat with the remaining 11 sugar cones. (Alternatively, wrap 12 (1-inch-wide, 12-inch-long) wooden dowels individually in aluminum foil to completely cover.)

  3. Remove one sheet of puff pastry from the refrigerator (if your puff pastry comes in one sheet, cut in half to get 2 sheets). Unfold and use a rolling pin to gently smooth out any creases in the dough (the aim is just to seal any cracks and not to make the dough thinner or longer in length). Cut the pastry into 12 (about 1/2-inch-wide and 9-inch-long) strips. Repeat with remaining sheet of puff pastry.

  4. If using cones, wind 2 strips of pastry around each cone, starting at the tip of the cone. When connecting the first strip to the second strip, press firmly together where they meet before continuing to wrap the pastry. Wrap the remaining cones.

  5. If using dowels, wind 2 strips of the pastry around a foil-wrapped dowel (or sugar cone) in a spiral, starting at one end of the dowel and overlapping it slightly. When connecting the first strip to the second strip, press firmly together where they meet before continuing to wrap the pastry. Repeat at the other end of the dowel. Wrap the remaining dowels.

  6. Place the wrapped pastries on 2 large rimmed baking sheets. If using cones, place them on their sides. Bake until the horns are light golden-brown, about 25 minutes.

  7. Let cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes, then carefully slip the horns off the dowels or ice cream cones (this is easier to do while the pastry is still warm). Place the horns on a wire rack and let cool completely, about 25 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling.

  8. Place 2 cups cold heavy cream and 3 tablespoons granulated sugar in a large bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form. (Alternatively, use a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.) Add 1/4 cup instant vanilla pudding mix, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract, and 1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest. Continue whipping until thick, fluffy, and mousse-like, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a piping bag or large zip-top bag. Refrigerate until ready to use.

  9. Snip off one bottom corner of the piping bag or zip-top bag. Pipe the filling into the horns. Dust the cream horns with powdered sugar if desired. Cream horns are best eaten within 6 to 8 hours of being filled.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The unfilled pastry shells can be baked up to 2 days ahead. Store at room temperature in an airtight container, then refresh in a 350°F oven until crisp, if desired, before filling. The filling can be made up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container.