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Wednesday 13 July 2011

Cruffs The House of Cream Puffs Calgary AB - With a name like that who's going to argue?

Rating 8/10
Cream puffs... probably one of the most indulgent foods yet simplest pastry in the world. A round of puffy pastry baked in the oven, cooled, inside removed or squished in a bit to allow for some filling, and pipe the sucker as full of whipped cream or custard as you can.  I remember my first home economics teacher telling me its easier than making cookies.  After less than 10 minutes of measuring and mixing, the little orbs were turning a golden flakiness in the oven, and after cooling, we skipped the tricky lets make the custard part, and had a blast injecting the pastries full of whipped creme (cheated with the aersolized stuff), and proceeded to triumphantly stuff our faces.  So when a bakery opens up with a sole focus on cream puffs, my inner child just squeals "wheeeeeeeeee!!" and jumps on the opportunity to indulge and relive a very fond food memory.. but with more flavors!

Photo courtesy of
the assembly
Now I remember creme puffs while delicious warm and bursting with whipped creme, they tended to get mushy reaaaally fast.  While cool whipped creme or custard and flaky pastry are a match made in heaven, the reality is, the pastry disintegrates with moisture, and noone likes a puddle of pastry mush.  Cruffs gets around that by assembling most of the creme puffs last minute.  You choose your flavor and the pastry is injected with a light custard with a metal contraption that bears a strong striking resemblance to condiment dispensers at fast food burger joints... then, bite into a flaky, crisp exterior and smile when you hit the smooth, light custard goo. Nom! 

Now I say most are made last minute, because they have mini creme puffs that are dipped in chocolate, stacked into a creme puff cake, decorated or come in specialty flavors and those are premade and kept in a cooler to keep them intact till its time to eat.. like this cookies and cream custard filled creme puff.  The flavor was very faint, and the custard light and fluffy - not heavy and rich like traditional cream puffs, but allows you to try more flavors without feeling like a kid after eating half their halloween candy in one go... well, almost, the mini cream puffs are the size of a large timbit, but the regular sized cream puffs are fist sized!

the flavors, oh man, the flavors!
With daily special flavors, along with a glam glut of regular flavors, this is a far cry from simple whipped cream.  Chantilly cream, chocolate hazelnut, pistachio and mocha are a few of the flavors we try out of the 10 or so flavors, and we try their weekend special flavors - tangerine  as well as beer.  The light custard cream filling is a standard base for all the regular flavors, with most of the flavors being on the very light or faint side of things.  Out of the regular flavors, my favourite was the Chantilly cream - marvelously studded with vanilla seeds and oh so rich and creamy goodness. Nom!  The tangerine cream was surprisingly tart and aromatic, while the beer cream tasted like a light wheat ale with just a touch of bite from the bitterness of hops... definitely one for the adults.  Thankfully, the staff label the bottoms of all the wrappers, or you'd never be able to tell most of the flavors apart.

While not sticking to traditional cream puffs, this is a neat pastry shop... and building swans, towering cream puff tower cakes definitely redefines the simple cream puff.  Chantilly cream cream puffs.. you're going straight to my hips! Yom.

Cruffs the House of Cream Puffs
Address 2312A – 4th Street SW Calgary, AB
Phone 403-453-1134
Hours Tues-Thurs 10am-7pm, Fri-Sat 10am-730pm, Sun 10am-630pm
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Elsie said...

Wow, you got great pictures of your cream puffs! :) I kind of squished my Cruffs... but, they were quite fresh and tasty!

Beard said...

I have tasted both Beard Papa and Cruffs in Calgary. Both are unique, but I prefer Beard Papa because:

1) Price – the amount you get is way better deal
2) Taste – cream is cool and refreshing, not like Cruff’s room temperature cream (disgusting)
3) Quality – you can’t go wrong with the name. They have been in the business since 1999.

That really sums it up! said...

@ Beard - Perhaps you came in on an off day. We've been there on several occasions and Cruffs cream was nice and cool, and not at room temperature (even on the days where it was over 30 degrees outside!).

We've had hit and miss experiences with Beard Papas... the franchise out in Vancouver is great, but is lacking in both the Shanghai locations and Edmonton location. Its a franchise with different owners and other factors, so a Beard Papa's cream puff made in store A should be the same, but usually isn't. We will have to give Calgary's location a try sometime... and hopefully they're as good as the ones made in Vancouver! Thanks for letting us know about it!

Minh and Sandy said...

We went the Cruffs after a friend told us it was good. It was horrible!! The worst pastry I ever tasted. It’s overpriced and the size is way too small.

Cream was at room temperature!!!! Crust felt hard, by the time we got home, it was soggy. Wasted of time and money! .. not recommended at all.

If you ever gone to the west (Vancouver) try out Beard Papa’s! .. This copy cat doesn’t come close

foodkarma said...

Nice photos! And I definitely agree with you on cream puffs being one of the most indulgent foods.. one of my favs as well.

Your post references "puff pastry" but cream puffs are made with pate a choux. Puff pastry is made with chilled butter and through incessant rolling, the dough forms buttery, airy layers whereas with choux pastry the ingredients are combined together generally over heat. I don't bake but I've watched my dad make both types and personally choux pastry seems less fussy, which is probably why your home ec teacher says cream puffs are easier than cookies. The textures of the two pastries are very different.

I've tried Cruffs on visits to Calgary and I too prefer Beard Papa. Have been to the locations in Edmonton, LA, Vancouver, and Honolulu (don't think they've opened a location in Calgary), and like the texture and flavour of BP's custard much better than the cream at Cruffs (both their store and farmer's market location). said...

Hi foodkarma!

Thanks for the catch.. it was supposed to read "puffy". Corrected now :) Guess I had too much cream puffs on the brain!

Valerie Carnip said...

I love this! Thanks for sharing. This makes me look forward to our scheduled picnic this weekend. Can't wait!

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