RECIPE #312, DAY #508
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Cream Puffs” from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook*
TIMING: 2 hours, most of it baking and cooling time
DIFFICULTY: It won’t be the easiest thing you made this week, but easier than might be expected
TOOLS: A baking sheet, a soup pan, a wooden spoon, and a couple other things
COOK TYPE: Stovetop and oven
HEALTH: Nope. Although lower in sugar and higher in protein than many desserts, this is still not a health food.
EXPERIENCE: These were one of the first impressive foods that I ever made. Why I got it through my inexperienced head that I should try a choux pastry, I do not know, but it turns out choux is not really all the difficult as long as you follow directions.
I like my cream puffs on the light and subtly sweet side, so instead of a custard filling, I use a whipped cream.(You could, of course, use a vanilla custard, made with corn starch and egg yolks.) With the chocolate drizzle, they are still sweet enough. So delicious, your guests just might take three. Mine did.
NOTES: Please don’t take the color of this cream puff as any indication of the color yours should be. This is one of the ones I pulled before serving to guests, because I placed a batch too close to the top of the oven. Yours should be a pale tan with just a touch of golden.
I include using Whip It, a product that gels whipped cream and keeps it from falling or weeping. I recommend it, but you do not have to use it. You could use gelatin or agar agar, instead, or just serve before the whipped cream has time to get sloppy.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- In a large sauce pan, bring 1 cup water, 1/2 cup unsalted butter, and 1/8 teaspoon salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low and–with a wooden spoon–mix in 1 cup all purpose flour. Once incorporated, continue to stir vigorously until the dough pulls away from the side of the pan to form a ball. Remove from heat.
- Add 4 eggs and then continue to beat with the spoon until completely incorporated. In fact, beating until the dough is shiny is best.
- Drop dough by the 1/4 cup full onto a sheet pan, with 3 inches between each puff. Bake for 35 minutes, until puffed up and golden. Cool away from draft.
- Meanwhile, melt 1 ounce baking chocolate with 1 teaspoon unsalted butter, in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or double boiler, over medium-low heat. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup powdered sugar and hot water, a little at a time, to the consistency that you want. I like to drizzle my chocolate over the puffs. You can also spread it.
- Meanwhile, in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, beat 1 cup heavy cream with 1 package Whip It, 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. Continue just until stiff peaks form.
- When the puffs have cooled, cut off the top and hollow out the insides with your fingers (if needed). Stuff with the cream, then replace the top and drizzle with the chocolate. Serve right away or freeze.
Serve with espresso with foam or maybe a cafe au lait. Also, a cheese plate would be nice.
*Recipe changed from the original.