About Pumpkin Spice Cream Horns
If you’re looking for a creative fall treat with fancy flair and southern enthusiasm, look no further than these pumpkin spice cream horns.
Packed with tasty pumpkin-infused filling, this flaky cream horn recipe has all the delicacy of a French pasty but is surprisingly easy to make. And once you whip up the creamy pastry horn filling, you might be tempted to eat it straight, but trust me – it’s worth wrapping the cream in fluffy puff pastry.
Pumpkin Puree vs Pumpkin Pie Filling
When it comes to holiday treats, you’re going to be faced with two types of canned pumpkin in the baking aisle:
Pumpkin puree vs pumpkin pie filling.
And while these types might seem interchangeable, there is a slight (yet significant) difference.
With pumpkin puree, the only contents are cooked and mashed pumpkin (or a variety of winter gourds), with no added flavors or spices. Pumpkin pie filling is made with cooked and mashed pumpkin, too, but it is also has flavored added, typically with pumpkin pie spice.
The key difference here is convenience. If you don’t have (or don’t want to buy) pumpkin pie spice, using pumpkin pie puree can save you some time and effort; you simply add it to the recipe and skip measuring the spices. However, it does limit your ability to control the taste, and if you’re using the pumpkin pie puree with other flavors, there’s no way to guarantee how they’ll interact.
This is why you’ll see many homemade recipes use pumpkin puree (which, again, is just the gourds, no added flavor) and season and spice the recipe by hand as needed. It is a tad more work but it also gives you more control over the flavor of your fall treats.
Can you use pumpkin pie puree?
If you only have pumpkin pie puree on hand – and trust me, I’ve been there, having grabbed the wrong thing at the store – then yes, you could substitute it in this recipe for the pumpkin puree. Just make sure to omit the pumpkin pie spice from the recipe so that the cream horns don’t come out with “too much” fall flavor.
Can you use storebought puff pastry?
Yes, you totally can! And in fact, I highly recommend that you do use store-bought puff pastry for this easy recipe for cream horns. Because while these pastries are delicate and pretty, but they’re not complicated or difficult to make. There’s no need to go through a lot of extra steps to get this fall treat in your hands when store-bought pastry is more than sufficient.
However, you don’t have to use store-bought pastry. If you’d prefer to make this recipe completely from scratch, I highly recommend this recipe for homemade puff pastry.
How are cream horns made?
While cream horns may appear like that they’d be difficult to make, there’s an easy tool you can use to make perfect cone shapes every time:
Yes, that’s correct – there’s a mold made specifically for cone-shaped pastries. The molds are small, simple cones, and you only need to wrap the dough around the cone to create the classic cream horn shape. Once prepared, the mold can safely be baked with the pastry and easily removed once the pastry is cooled.
Can you use orange food coloring?
Yes, you can use food coloring in this recipe, but be careful. The cream in this recipe is fairly delicate and can become runny quickly if you add too much additional liquid. This could be solved by refrigeration or freezing, but whether or not that works depends for you on the temperature you’d like to serve these cream horns (they’re typically served room temperature).
In the cream horns pictured, I skipped the food coloring, but only because I liked being able to see grains of the pumpkin pie spice in the cream. So even without a brighter orange color, this fall treat can still look invitingly festive.
How long to cream horns last?
Ideally, these cream horns should be eaten on the same day they are made. Puff pastry is airy and delicate, and it won’t take long for the cream to saturate the layers and make the cream horns seem soggy.
However, you can try to extend the life of the cream horns (one or two days) by storing them in the refrigerator in a sealed container.
Can you freeze cream horns?
In this case, no, I would not recommend freezing cream horns for more than a day or so. As mentioned above, the puff pastry will quickly become saturated by the cream and the texture could become soggy.
Pumpkin Spice Cream Horns
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
On a flat surface, unfold one puff pastry sheet. Using a pizza cutter, create 16 strips by cutting once across the dough and then six cuts up the length.
Separate one of the dough strips. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough lengthwise so that it doubles in length (don't worry about width). If the rolling pin keeps sticking to the dough, sprinkle a small pinch of flour on the dough.
Starting at the bottom, begin wrapping one end of the dough around a cream horn mold. After wrapping the dough around once, pinch the seam to secure it, then finish wrapping down the length of the mold. When at the end of the dough, lightly press along all the wrapped edges so that they're sealed.
Repeat the last two steps until all cream horn molds are wrapped.
Bake puff pastries in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Bake in batches of 16 or less at a time.
Remove baked pastries from oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the baking sheet, then remove molds and transfer pastries to a wire rack to cool completely.
When ready to serve, using a stand mixer (or hand mixer + large bowl), add cream cheese, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla extract and beat on high until there are no clumps of cream cheese, about 1-2 minutes. Add cool whip and beat on medium for another 2-3 minutes until smooth.
Pour pumpkin filling into a Ziploc bag and cut a small hold in a corner. Use the bag to pipe pumpkin filling into the "mouth" of the baked puff pastry.
Dust tops of cream horns with powdered sugar. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator or freezer until ready to eat.