These delicious cream horns are filled with fluffy whipped cream inside of a buttery puff pastry. While they look elegant and complicated, you can have a batch ready in less than 1 hour because they are that easy to make!
I love using dough sheets to make blueberry puff pastry and these mini chocolate puff pastries that are very similar to cream horns, but with a chocolate filling. It’s so simple to work with and less time in the kitchen compared to making dough from scratch.
Cream Horn Molds
The unique shape of these pastry horns comes from the molds we are using. They are cone-shaped and are made from steel with a tin coating on the outside. If you have a cannoli mold you could use that as well. The cone shape may be a little distorted, but you can pinch the end together so the filling doesn’t come out.
If you don’t have either of these molds, try wrapping mini sugar cones with aluminum foil. It mimics the mold well and you may already have those on hand.
Some also try to make the cones using only foil versus wrapping it around ice cream cones.
Filling Ideas for Cream Horns
The creamy filling that we use is more on the traditional side. However, different regions have their own versions that may be a little different.
Fruity: Add fresh fruit, preserves, or seedless jam before filling it with the cream.
Nutella: Pipe in the spread as is, or use our Nutella frosting recipe.
Marshmallow creme: add a little marshmallow fluff to the filing or use the fluff instead of the whipping cream
Chocolate cream: add a tablespoon or two cocoa powder to whipped cream or go richer with this dark chocolate ganache.
Pastry cream or custard make great fillings too.
What do I Need for this Recipe?
- store-bought puff pastry – you could also use homemade puff pastry.
- egg and water – the egg wash gives the creme horns a pretty golden sheen.
- heavy whipping cream – keep it very cold until you are ready to use.
- powdered sugar – gives the filling sweetness and helps it to hold its texture. We also use a little extra for dusting.
- Additional water – to moisten the puff pastry.
We like to garnish the cream puffs with a dusting of powdered sugar.
- Molds – This cream horn recipe makes 18, so we find it easiest to purchase a kit online to speed up the process. They are about 5 inches long and almost 1.5 inches in diameter at the widest opening.
- Pastry bag and tips – We will add the filling to the bag to get it into the puff pastry. You can use any cake decorating tips you would like. The star tip looks really nice and great for special occasions. If you don’t have a frosting bag, you can stuff the filling using a butter knife or add it to a ziplock bag and snip the corner for the opening.
- Pizza cutter or pastry wheel – it makes slicing the pastry sheets easier.
Variations and Substitutions:
- See the idea list above for different variations of the filling.
- Cool Whip – can be mixed with powdered sugar instead of using whipped cream. You will want to make sure it’s thawed completely before using it.
- Dipped – If desired, dip the ends in your favorite melted chocolate.
- Nuts or sprinkles – once dipped in chocolate roll in chopped nuts or sprinkles.
- Syrup – Drizzle the tops with hot fudge, chocolate sauce, or caramel.
PREP: Allow the pastry sheets to thaw for 15 minutes before starting. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray the molds with cooking spray.
Step 1: Unroll one sheet of puff pastry at a time and cut it into 9 equal strips.
Step 2: Use a pastry brush to add a light coating to each strip.
Step 3: Place the mold at the end of each strip and wrap it around the tube, overlapping the pastry ¼″. Pinch the mold to form a cone, then repeat for each one.
Step 4: Whisk together the egg and the water. Place the cream puffs on the baking sheet, leaving room between each so they can puff up. Brush each with egg wash.
Pro Tip: If you need to reuse your molds to make a second batch keep the pastry in the fridge.
Step 5: Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the pan halfway through the cooking time. Continue baking until golden brown. Repeat with the second batch if needed. Allow the horns to cool slightly, then use a clean kitchen towel to gently twist the mold out and place them on a wire rack to finish cooling.
Step 6: Use an electric mixer to beat the whipping cream until soak peaks form. Mix in the powdered sugar, then continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
Step 7: Transfer the whipping cream to a piping bag and pipe it into the cooled cream horns.
SERVE: Dust them with powdered sugar and serve.
- Brushing the water on the pastry dough, helps it to stick to itself so it doesn’t separate while baking.
- The nonstick cooking spray with the powder in it works really well and the horns come right off without much trouble.
- Keep the second half of the pastry in the fridge until you are ready to use so the dough isn’t too warm.
The exact origins of cream horns, also known as lady locks, are not clear. However, it is believed that they were first created in Europe, possibly in Austria or Germany, in the 18th or 19th century.
The name “cream horn” is believed to have originated in the United States, where the pastry is commonly known by this name. In other parts of the world, it may be called by different names, such as “lady locks” or “choux à la crème.”
Keep the filled cream horns in an airtight container for 1-2 days in the refrigerator or freeze for 3 months. Unfilled cream horns can be kept on the counter in a container for up to 3.
- 17.3 oz. package puff pastry sheets
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Powdered sugar for dusting
- Additional water for moistening the puff pastry
- 18 large Cream Horn molds available at cake supply stores or on Amazon
- Remove puff pastry sheets from the freezer and allow to thaw for at least 15 minutes before working with them. You should be able to unfold the puff pastry without it cracking, but the pastry should still be very firm.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. Spray 18 cream horn molds lightly with non-stick cooking spray (the kind with flour in it works well here).
- Unfold one sheet of puff pastry at a time. Cut into 9 equal strips. (I like to use the folds that are already in the sheet to divide the sheet into thirds and then cut each third into three pieces. A pizza wheel works great for cutting puff pastry.
- Use a pastry brush to brush a light coating of water down one side of a puff pastry strip. Place the cream horn mold at the end of the strip. Turn the mold while wrapping the pastry strip around the mold, overlapping the pastry by about ¼”. Pinch the tip of the mold to form the cone. Repeat for the remaining strips.
- Prepare the egg wash by whisking together the egg and 1 tablespoon of water.
- Place the cream horns on the prepared baking sheet, leaving ample room between each mold to allow the pastry to puff. Brush with the egg wash.
- Bake for 15 minutes, turning the pan halfway through cooking, until the puff pastry is golden brown.
- Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry dough, if desired.
- When the cream horns come out of the oven, allow to cool slightly and then use a clean kitchen towel to gently twist the mold out from the pastry and set them on a cooling rack. Leave the cream horns to cool completely.
- Prepare the filling by whipping the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form. Transfer whipped cream to a piping bag. Pipe cream into the cooled cream horns.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
Some people swear by a nonstick cooking spray on the cream horn molds and some people swear by not using any kind of oil. I found that if the pastry was well chilled, the cream horns came off of the molds without too much trouble, but if the pastry was warmer going into the oven, it really stuck to the molds. Whether chilled or a bit softer, the cream horns slipped right off a lightly sprayed mold and the spray on the mold did not seem to interfere with the pastry staying ON the mold while wrapping or baking. The egg wash gives the cream horns a pretty golden sheen. You can also fill cream horns with a pastry cream, but a whipped cream filling is so easy and delicious. I would recommend keeping the second sheet of puff pastry chilled in the refrigerator if you are not forming the second set of cream horns right away (i.e., if you need to wait for the first batch to cook and reuse the molds, etc.)