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Secrets for Successful Cream Puffs and Eclairs

When baking the dough, it's important not to crowd the baking pan. Leave about 3 inches of space around each puff or eclair. The dough needs room to expand during baking and needs air to circulate so the steam it gives off can evaporate.

Cream puffs and eclairs are done when they are golden brown and have dry, crisp exterior.

For the best flavor, serve cream puffs and eclairs the same day they're made. If necessary, they can be prepared a day in advance. Store the unfilled pastries in a plastic bag in the refrigerator and fill just before serving.

For longer storage, arrange unfilled pastries in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze. Once they're frozen, transfer to heavy-duty resealable plastic bags and freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw at room temperature for 15-20 minutes before using. If the thawed pastries are a little soggy, reheat them in the oven for a few minutes.

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