Have you guys ever had that dream where you go to pilates and midway through the class you realize that not only do neither of your socks match, but they both have holes in them and you haven’t shaved your legs in, uh….well…when was the last full moon again?

Welcome to my real life.


And the thing is that none of this would be so traumatic if all the other pilates-goers weren’t the kind of girls who actually look in a mirror while they’re getting dressed.  But there they are en masse with their perfect messy buns (oxymoron but yes, this is a thing), wearing leggings and oversized shirts that both over- and under-emphasize their tiny waistlines…and they have totally smooth, freshly shaven legs. Even though it’s like 30 degrees outside.



I’m also willing to bet that they are rockstar cookie decorators with good hand-eye coordination and an obsessive compulsion attention to detail.

And that they’ve managed to send off all of their cookie packages off to their friends and family before the holiday rush. And did not stress-eat a single one in the process.  (Weirdos.)


It’s taken a while but I’ve come to realize that I will just never be that kind of girl.  My hair will always err a little bit on the frizzy side, my socks will absolutely never match (really, I’m lucky if they’re on the same side of the color spectrum)…

…and I’m probably going to bring this sort-of messy but ridiculously awesome cream puff ring to your holiday party instead of cookies.

I mean…it’s basically a giant eclair stuffed with peppermint pastry cream. {swooning.}

I’m sorry I’m not sorry.


Peppermint Cream Puff Ring
Serves 12, adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours

For the pastry

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs

For the cream

  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 40 fresh mint leaves
  • 6 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold creme fraiche
  • peppermint extract (optional)

For the glaze

  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 2 tsp light corn syrup
  • 3 tbsp chopped pecans, toasted (or crushed candy canes if you want to be more festive!)


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 425. Draw an 8-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper.  Turn the paper over and place on a baking sheet. Fit a large pastry bag with a 3/4-inch diameter piping tip.
  2. To make the pastry, bring the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour to the pan and mix it with a wooden spoon, then keep stirring energetically until the dough comes together.  The bottom of the pan should be covered with a thin film of flour. Cook the dough for another 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly, then transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer.
  3. Using the paddle attachment, beat in 3 of the eggs one at a time, making sure each is fully incorporated before adding the next. Whisk the remaining egg in a small bowl and add it gradually just until the dough is thick, shiny, and silky.
  4. Spoon the warm dough into the pastry bag. Pipe a ring of dough about 1 inch thick around so that it outlines your parchment paper circle. Pipe a second ring of dough inside the first ring, just touching it (so that they are concentric). Pipe a third ring of dough on top of the circle where the first and second rings of dough meet (so now you have a triangle of piped dough). If you have any extra dough, use it to pipe out as many cream puffs as you can.
  5. Bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375. Bake for another 20-25 minutes or until it is puffed, brown and firm. Transfer baking sheet to a rack to let the ring cool completely.
  6. To make the cream, bring 1 1/3 cups cream and the mint leaves to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove pan from heat, cover and let steep for 1 hour. Pour into a bowl and refrigerate until cold, about 3 hours or overnight.
  7. Strain the cream into a measuring cup and add as much additional chilled cream as needed to measure 1 1/3 cups.
  8. Use a serrated knife and very gently, slice off the top of the pastry ring in one piece. Pull out and discard (eat) any soft dough from the inside of the base. Carefully place the pastry ring base on a platter.
  9. Using a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream and 1/4 cup of the sugar until the cream holds firm peaks. Stir the remaining 2 tbsp sugar into the creme fraiche and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold the creme fraiche into the mint whipped cream.  Taste and add peppermint extract to taste. Beat again for another 30 seconds or so if necessary to make cream firm again.
  10. Spoon the mint cream into a clean pastry bag and pipe large rosettes into the base, keeping them close to each other. Pipe a second row of rosettes on top of the first row, piping the top rosettes between the bottom rosettes. Refrigerate the base while you make the glaze.
  11. To make the glaze, melt the chocolate with the cream and corn syrup in a double boiler, stirring, until the glaze is melted and smooth.
  12. Using a small icing spatula, spread the glaze over the top circle of pastry. Sprinkle the nuts over the glaze. Carefully set the ring on top of the base.Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before serving.  Pastry can be refrigerated for up to 8 hours before serving.


Since some of you may still be menu planning for the holidays, I thought I would do a little round-up of Christmas-friendly recipes past.  There are LOTS of desserts, some great vegetarian meal options, and some breakfast goodies.  Happy eating and baking!



Pumpkin Biscuits with Cranberry Curd
Meyer Lemon Rosemary Sticky Buns
Soft Dinner Rolls with Rosemary and Black Pepper


Curried Root Vegetable Stew with Dumplings
Buckwheat Harvest Tart
Lasagna Soup


Shepherd’s Pie with Chard-Lentil Filling and Onion Gravy
Spinach and Ricotta Roulade
Chard, White Bean and Sweet Potato Gratin


Garlic-Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Wheatberry Salad with Pomegranate
Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils, Brussels Sprouts and Goat Cheese
Bulgur and Kale Casserole with Yogurt Topping
Sweet Potato Spinach Pesto Lasagna Rolls


White Chocolate Gingerbread Cake Balls
Chocolate Brownie Cookies with White Chocolate and Roasted Macadamia Nuts
Peppermint Brownies
Peppermint Crinkles


Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Peppermint Cookies
Sweet Potato and Ginger Layer Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Filling and Brown Sugar Cinnamon Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Italian Rainbow Cookie Cake
Pumpkin Layer Cake with Butterscotch Filling 


Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting and Salted Candied Peanuts
Salted Caramel Apple Cheesecake Bars
Greek Yogurt Cheesecake with Pomegranate Syrup


Italian Cream Puffs with Custard Filling
Sparkling Champagne Cupcakes

You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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76 Responses to Peppermint Cream Puff Ring (and a Christmas Recipe Round-Up!)

  1. I love your stories!
    And if this isn’t the best looking cream puff recipe ever, I don’t know what is.
    Merry Christmas, Joanne! 🙂

  2. Tandy says:

    You, your mismatched socks, and this dessert are invited for dinner!

  3. I feel ya…things are way too perfect these days with Pinterest. Sometimes when I look at other people’s boards it makes me want to have an anxiety attack. I’ll stick with mismatched socks thank you!

  4. I would not be upset if you brought this to my holiday dinner. Not at all. And I wouldn’t judge the mismatched socks. Ok, maybe I would a little.

  5. I’d be quite happy to receive these cream puffs.
    Probably the sock mismatch took attention away from other areas. Its like someone walking around without any shirt/top, you don’t notice their shoes:) On this note have a great Xmas

  6. This is such an impressive dessert! Um, can we talk about how I just shaved my legs for the first time in… um, I have no idea. All I know is it was scary. Perfect is way overrated.

  7. Amy says:

    I’m one of those gals who has to have my sock seams perfectly aligned with my toes and heal, and when I take off my shoes, they must be perfectly placed together. Yes, I’m THAT girl. BUT…buuuuut….I will never know the meaning of a good hair day. Ever. Still friends? Great round-up! xoxo

  8. Oh girl, you make me laugh so hard. 🙂 I love your crazy, real-life moment stories. 🙂

  9. Uh, if you brought this to MY holiday party you would be its VIP. Also, you should try the eclair ice cream sundae at Chikalicious on 10th St if you haven’t. Total game-changer. I actually thought I hated eclairs (I KNOW, RIGHT) until the day it passed my lips. I now consider it the day my life began.

    Merry Christmas, Joanne! Thanks for bringing so much veggie goodness into my life this year.

  10. What a GREAT roundup – those peppermint brownies look AMAZING. I LOVE anything with chocolate and peppermint.

  11. i would happily take that at my holiday party 🙂 looks delicious!!

  12. your stories are just a cruel tease, why do I do it to myself? But without fail, every you post something and i come in I check at my boring desk. These treats are like a stripper in sequins dancing just for me. Gah.
    I would be so fat if we were friends. Your talents are irresistibly mouth watering. your writing skills par excellence.

  13. Hey, I give you credit! At least you went to pilates class!!! Your peppermint cream puff looks amazing! I love cream puffs and infusing peppermint into it is perfect!!! I love it!! happy Holidays to you and your family!!

  14. You are my kind of girl, Joanne!! This looks like the best dessert ever! 🙂

  15. Mary Younkin says:

    oh my HECK. That looks insanely delicious. Love the look of those peppermint brownies too! Have a wonderful Christmas, Joanne!

  16. Sometimes the uglier the dessert, the better…although I think yours is beautiful! Anyway, to be politically correct, it would be “rustic,” not messy ;)I totally don’t know how all those nyc girls look so perfectly messy…I’m definitely with you on NOT being one of them!

  17. Simply Life says:

    haha, I’m just impressed you make it to pilates class- I’ve never even made it that far 🙂

  18. sandra says:

    Wow you have been busy!! I haven’t even begun my holiday baking/cooking. And kudos to you for going to pilates as well as running races. I can barely get myself to my weekly yoga class these days.

  19. Elizabeth says:

    I love it. And so much goodness in one post. I’m so excited for our baking date!!!

  20. If you want to feel good about yourself you should take a Pilates class with me. I’m the girl in the back making all sorts of awkward noises, miss-matched socks, and holes in my (gasp) Old Navy stretchy pants. No Lulu lemon for this girl. Oh yeah, and I can’t decorate cookies to save my life. Do you feel better???

  21. thank goodness you, too, are a person that has not mastered the perfect messy bun. How the HECK do they do that? I’d choose baking over looking in the mirror when I get dressed ANY day 🙂

  22. Holy moly what a roundup!

    Garlic-Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale Wheatberry Salad with Pomegranate – is drop dead stunning!

    and I made the orignal version of the Tosi cookies, but the Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow with Peppermint!! <-- is such a good idea!

  23. Patsy K says:

    You can bring that cream puff ring to my house anytime! And, for what it’s worth… I’m in the same boat as you when it comes to going to those classes… always the one who “forgot” to shave that day and threw on a pair of capri workout pants… um, yeah… that’s me.

  24. Beth says:

    If it’s the last thing I do, I swear I’m going to bake that sweet potato and ginger layer cake. The only problem is, I’m the only one who likes sweet potato in my family I will have to plan it very carefully to avoid gaining twenty pounds and a second chin.

  25. MM says:

    Bring your messy cream puff ring and your mis-matched socks over any time. I will not be sorry!

  26. I’d have a part of this cream puff ring over any cookies made by those other pilates girls 😛

  27. Karis says:

    I’ve never been into cream puffs, which are all the rage at the Wisconsin State Fair, but you make it look good and I’d really like to sample it!

  28. I love the addition of peppermint to a cream puff. This ring looks delightful for the holidays!

  29. So, the main reason I favor cookies and pies as desserts in that I don’t have the patience to decorate a cake. Or even throw on a crumb coat. When I do make a cake for a pary, it usually shows up lopsided and stuck to the side of my cake carrier and I just have to say “please don’t look at it, just eat it.”

    Your cream puff ring, by comparison, is gorgeous. With perfect cream-filling roses that got squished, of course, and perfectly messy chocolate on top. This sort-of-messy cream puff would be the hit of any party. No one would notice mismatched socks with it in the room.

  30. Debbie says:

    You can bring that cream puff over an time!!!! Looks great to me! Well, you know that I am making the rainbow cake for our Christmas dessert. I’m excited and can’t wait to make it….

  31. lita rina says:

    Pretty Much post it is. I enjoyed very much. If you want to know about “Food Storage” please visit:

  32. Jessie says:

    Girl, if you brought that cream puff to my house, I wouldn’t care if you were wearing a burlap sack and hadn’t shaved in several full moons – just being that deliciousness in! Besides, shaving is WAY overrated. There should be a ban on shaving when it’s like 25 degrees outside.

    I’ve had your yogurt cheesecake with pomegranate bookmarked like forever (ok, like a month) – gotta make that soon! Happy holidays, Joanne!

  33. That is an awesome dessert Joanne and as someone who has hung out with you in real life, you are perfectly perfect!

  34. Danielle says:

    I was on the treadmill at the gym once and looked down and realized I had 2 different sneakers on…also I was jamming out on the treadmill this week for about 20 minutes before realizing that my earphones weren’t plugged all the way in and everyone could hear my music (I got a lot of weird looks.)

  35. Lynn says:

    You are so funny – I’d rather hang out with women like you any day! Love the looks of that peppermint ring.

  36. OohLookBel says:

    A pair of long yoga pants covers a multitude of sins. Not to mention, the stretchy waistband allows maximum creme puff consumption! Love this puffy ring, it’s like a fabulous big eclair.

  37. That Girl says:

    Who shaves their legs in the winter?

  38. Giant eclairs for the win! Awesome round-up of holiday recipes 🙂 As for shavingm – I’m a big advocate of laser hair removal hehehe

  39. What a gorgeous, grand eclair! Who’s counting calories during the holidays anyway? Eating this is much more fun than shaving too 🙂

  40. Pam says:

    Woman! You are killing me with all of these mouth watering photos… everything looks so amazing.

    Love the giant circular eclair… it would disappear in no time at my house.

    Happy holidays Joanne!

  41. Mmmmm…Peppermint pastry cream in a chocolate covered cream puff sounds like a lovely way to celebrate any occasion, with or without a perfect messy bun and shaved legs. 🙂

  42. Kari says:

    I will always have slightly frizzy hair and non-perfect cookie decorating skills too. And frankly, if you turned up at my house with this, you would be very welcome indeed.

    Lovely round up too!

  43. Erica says:

    Wow! That ring looks amazing….Love all your recipes for Christmas…..Merry Christmas, Joanne!

  44. Ugh, Joanne, you kind of kill me with your amazing looking food porn. So delicious looking! I absolutely love puff pastries and anything peppermint. Beyond divine.

  45. Your cream puff ring is gorgeous! It looks straight out of a Food Network magazine…only prettier!

  46. Anonymous says:

    Just yesterday Joanne, I only shaved one leg because I didn’t have time to do the other. And I’m cool with that. Don’t let the “perfect” pilates girls get you down; their lives clearly aren’t as exciting if they are able to find the time to match their socks.

    Thank you for your recipes, they look amazing and I can’t wait to try a few of them 🙂

  47. Wow, that looks gorgeous. I would definitely take this over cookies!

  48. Hotly Spiced says:

    We have those women in my part of town too. They do that ‘Naomi Watts-messy-bun-look’ very well. And they wander the streets with a rolled-up yoga mat under one arm while carrying their takeaway coffee with their other hand. But they don’t bake! They go to the gourmet delis and bring everything home in takeaway containers then upturn it onto platters and congratulate themselves. I love your giant eclair – it just looks stunning xx

  49. grace says:

    i love this pastry idea! confession, though–i’d definitely scrape out all the filling and eat it first. 🙂

  50. I’ve never understood how “those girls” could actually be so perfect at any given moment. Oh well. It’s a mystery. Now, this is freakin’ amazing – I want a big, fat slice!

  51. This reminds me of cake, cream puff/eclair, donut and so many delicious things that I stared at your pics for awhile, it made me so happy! …love your round up, especially your pomegranate jewels! =)

  52. Karen says:

    I need to make this… or at least some version of it. I bet you were the hit of the party when you walked in with this!

  53. And so your socks dont match…………… but you can cook…… and you can write and I can relate to your odd ball choices and holey socks in matching spectrum’s. You have a beautiful Christmas and I love all your ideas

  54. Jenn Kendall says:

    i wish this cream puff ring was sitting on my table right now – i would devour it 🙂 all your recipes look and sound AMAZING! and i too will always be running around with mismatched socks and my hair a mess 🙂

  55. Reeni Pisano says:

    That is a stunner of a cream puff! I am so in love with peppermint right now this would be very welcome at my table. That is one delicious round-up!

  56. cquek says:

    That platter looks like something I’d like to have for breakfast, lunch & dinner every day of the year (perhaps sans the booze at breakfast).

  57. Sara says:

    Wow, that cream puff ring looks so delicious and decadent…totally perfect for the holidays! YUM.

  58. Hannah says:

    Oh my, a giant peppermint cream puff made for sharing? You’re killing me! Now I sorely regret not revisiting the issue of vegan pate a choux. Maybe it’s a worthy project to revise over these more quiet days of winter holiday.

  59. You sound like the kind of girl I would like to hang out with on a regular basis. I would be thrilled if you brought me a your cream puff ring. Have a wonderful Christmas.

  60. WOW, this looks incredible. I’d take this over cookies any day at a party.

    Happy holidays!

  61. Claudia says:

    A giant eclair – with a little peppermint? Howley cannoli. I’m in. And could probably chow down on all those delicious delectables. Who are those people in your pilates class? I’d find a new class! Happy Holidays, Buon Natale to you and yours.

  62. You most definitely would not have to apologize for bringing this to my place, or any of the other things on this list! I love how even for the pastry in the middle that was just going to get smooshed, you still piped it into perfect roses .. I think that makes up for the mismatched socks 🙂

  63. oh please, shaved legs in winter is soooo overrated.
    pass the cookies, it’s the holidays dammit!

  64. Natalie says:

    That cream puff ring has me drooling.

  65. Jeanette says:

    What a stunning dessert Joanne – we’re hosting a Christmas Eve Open House this year and I know my guests would love this – might just have to whip this up!

  66. You can bring this messy cream puff to me anytime. That creme sounds exquisite. I love this round-up, as I do remember many of these. They all look awesome, and I’m not a vegetarian per se. However, I love eating as a flexetarian anytime! Merry Christmas, Joanne!

  67. I’m right there with you – my messy bun is nowhere near perfect. Ugh.

    Anyway, this cream puff ring just totally made my night. I could totally eat this for dinner you know.

  68. london bakes says:

    I would rather have this so much more than a perfectly decorated cookie. This you can get properly stuck into. Love it!

  69. Anonymous says:

    really? but i how would they have to the time to bake since they would be so busy getting their hair and clothes down right. and if they did decorate cookies i bet they don’t taste very good. here is to messy untidy bun hair and mis-matched socks 🙂

  70. Lora says:

    I love the peppermint cream puff ring! Love that idea and the roundup is drool-worthy.

  71. Johanna GGG says:

    It is a sign that I am not one of those perfect girls that I finally get to read your christmas round up after christmas but you know I love to drool over it anyway – and those perfect pilates girl probably don’t even bake and they would never bring anything as amazing as this delicious pastry to a christmas do – I know what I prefer!

  72. Are you serious with this puff ring?! Looks absolutely mouthwatering!

  73. You are welcome at any party of mine!

  74. Laura says:

    To the dessert: OH EM GEE

    About those girls… alas my husband teaches at a school like that (it’s like 90% Greek, we’ll just leave it at that) and seriously even though I am, at this point, almost 20 years older than those girls I still find it so disconcerting sometimes. Even at my most put together, I am not remotely put together.

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