cream puffs recipe

Mini Cream Puffs

Mini Cream Puffs

If you want to surprise someone with a very special sweet treat, you could make cream puffs. These are a bit of work, but the end result is so wonderful. I think they are worth the effort, especially for special occasions. These would be a big hit at any New Year’s party.

You start by make a pate a chou, or cream puff pastry. This is the same dough used to make eclairs. It is a combination of water, butter, milk and flour- cooked on top of the stove, then enriched with the addition of eggs. The dough is piped onto baking sheets and baked until puffed, golden and crisp. Once cooled, they are filled with sweetened whipped cream or, more traditionally, a custard filling. You can serve them as is, or top with chocolate or dust with powdered sugar.

The size you make your cream puffs is really a matter of personal choice. I decided to make mini puffs- about an inch in size. I find them a fun size to serve at a party.

You can also split your puffs and fill them with a savory filling, instead. A crab salad would be a tasty choice.

 

Homemade Cream Puffs

1 recipe Cream Puff Pastry (Pate a Chou)- recipe follows

Egg custard- for filling, or sweetened whipped cream- recipe follows

Chocolate Ganache- for topping- recipe follows, or just use melted chocolate.

 

Start by making the dough. This recipe will make 3-4 dozen mini cream puffs.

 

Cream Puff Pastry

¾ c. water

¼ c. milk

¼ t. salt

½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter

1¼ c. flour – unbleached or bread flour preferred

4 large eggs

Extra milk for brushing

 

In saucepan, heat together water, milk butter and salt into a full boil. Butter has to be melted. While stirring, dump flour into saucepan, stirring constantly. Mixture will form into a ball. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking dough, while stirring, for another minute or two. Place dough in an electric mixer and allow it to cool down a little before adding the eggs. Mixture has to be at 140 degrees F, or below, before you start adding the eggs. I use the paddle attachment and beat the dough before adding the eggs. This cools the dough down faster. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until each is fully incorporated. Beat until dough is shiny. A spoon, lifted out of the batter, should leave a peak that does not fall down.

 

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment. I used a silicone liner and was happy with the result. Don’t grease the pan. Using a piping bag, squeeze the dough into 1-inch balls on the baking sheet- leaving a little room in between.  Using a little milk on your finger, smooth down any peaks on the puffs.  I missed a few and did get a couple that had cracks on the top. The smoother the balls look, the nicer your puffs will look. Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 375. Bake puffs 5- 10 more minutes, or until golden brown. Tap the shells. They should sound hollow. Turn off the heat and leave oven door open a crack, allowing them to dry completely. Cool before filling. Makes 3-4 dozen.

 

Custard Filling

 

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1⁄3 cup sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla

 

Using a whisk, combine milk, sugar and cornstarch in a medium saucepan over medium heat on stove top. Allow milk to scald (heat to the point when tiny bubbles form around edges of pan). Whisk occasionally to prevent cornstarch from clumping on bottom edges of pan. Remove milk mixture from heat, preferably to a burner that’s turned off.

Mix about 2 tablespoons of scalded milk mixture into eggs using whisk, then introduce eggs into milk mixture in a slow stream, whisking milk mixture constantly. Immediately return pan to heat and whisk gently until custard thickens, another two or three minutes. Do not allow to boil. (If you find that you have egg white strands in custard, feel free to pass it through a fine-mesh sieve into a different bowl now.) Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla. Cool before using. Makes 3 cups.

 

To fill the puffs, using a small piping tip with a pastry bag, filled with the custard. Squeeze filling in on the bottom, squeezing until it feels full.

 

Once cream puffs are filled, top with melted chocolate or chocolate ganache. I just dipped the tops of the cream puffs in melted chocolate. The chocolate hardened into a thin, crisp shell of chocolate on the puffs, adding a fun crunch.Filled puffs should be stored in fridge until ready to serve. They can be frozen.

 

Chocolate Ganache

4- 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped- or 1 cup chocolate chips

2 oz. heavy whipping cream

 

In saucepan, heat chocolate and cream together until just heated through. Remove from heat and stir until smooth. You can also do this in a microwave safe bowl, in the microwave for about a minute. Remove and stir until smooth. Makes 1 cup.

 

 

 

 

New Release: