Make This: Cream Puffs

My sister made these fantastic cream puffs for my daughter’s birthday. Very delicious and surprisingly easy.

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Vanilla Pastry Cream
(makes about 2.5 cups)
Time: 20 minutes (if that)

2/3 cup sugar
2 T all purpose flour
2 T cornstarch
pinch salt
2 eggs or 4 yolks
2 cups cream, half&half, or whole milk
2 T unsalted butter, softened
2 t vanilla extract

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch and salt. Mix together the eggs or yolks with the cream.

Whisk the cream-egg mixture into the sugar-cornstarch mixture over medium heat.

At first, whisk occasionally to minimize lumps, then whisk almost constantly until the mixture just begins to boil and thicken, about 10 minutes.

Adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently and continue to cook until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

When you draw your finger through this coating (caution: hot!), the line holds it’s shape.

Stir in the butter and vanilla extract, strain through a fine mesh sieve and set aside to cool.

If refrigerating for later use, cover directly with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming.

Cream Puff Pastry
makes about 18 medium sized puffs
Time: 1 hour (including baking time)

butter for baking sheet
1 stick (8 T) unsalted butter
1 cup water
pinch salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 eggs

Heat oven to 400F. Grease baking sheets.

Combine butter and salt with 1 cup water in a saucepan and bring to boil over high heat.

Turn heat low and add flour all at once.

Stir constantly until the mixture pulls away from the pan and forms a ball, about 30 seconds.

Remove from heat and beat the eggs into the mixture one at a time (ok to use a mixer).

Stop beating when the mixture turns glossy and minimize handling.

Pipe pastry dough or use two spoons to form mounds about 1 inch wide and a little higher than an inch.

Bake until very puffy, golden brown, and hollow sounding when tapped, about 40 minutes.

Prick with a toothpick once or twice to let steam escape, then cool to room temp on a baking rack.

Fill puffs by cutting off tops and filling, replacing top; or use a pastry bag with small pointed tip to pipe filling directly. dust powdered sugar on top (or drizzle with melted chocolate!)

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