Cream Puffs

One of my favorite recipes that comes courtesy of my mother’s recipe book, is the cream puff.  Cream puffs are also known in France as choux à la crème.  The traditional cream puff is related to the ever so popular Éclair (which is basically the same dessert just in a different format).  They are a simple, delicate, pastry dessert that is looks and tastes impressive.

While the cream puff looks very complicated and difficult to make it is actually a relatively easy dessert to make.  There are many different versions of the cream puff.  Some recipes have a instant vanilla pudding or ice cream filling.  While other recipes call for cream puffs that are topped with whipped cream or coated in chocolate.

This cream puff recipe is part of what I like to refer to as my “Off the Rocker” recipe series.  You can read more about my “Off the Rocker” recipes in my “About” page.  In a nutshell my “Off the Rocker” recipes are meant to be insanely rich, crowd pleasing, no holds barred type of recipes.  They are in a sense the Ying that completes my Yang, which would be my healthy recipes.  These recipes are not for the individuals who are diet or health conscious and they are not meant for everyday use but rather for occasional special gatherings.  They stray from my usual use of healthy and no/low processed ingredients.

Cream Puffs

– Shells

1 cup water

1 stick of unsalted butter

1 cup all purpose flour

4 eggs

– Filling

3/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk (warm)

4 egg yolks (beaten)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a large muffin tin (12 openings).  In a medium sauce pan, over medium heat, combine water and butter.  Bring the butter mixture to a low boil.  Reduce heat to medium/low and add flour.  Whisk or stir well until mixture forms a ball, then remove from heat. Stir in eggs, beating with a whisk or fork until dough becomes smooth. Beat additional 10 seconds to continue to increase volume of the dough.

Drop dough into muffin tins (about a tablespoon size amount). Bake shells in preheated oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk egg yolks and set aside.  In a medium saucepan, mix sugar, flour and salt. Add the warm milk and cook over medium heat.  Stir the mixture constantly and once the mixture comes to bubble, cook one minute more.  Remove the mixture from heat. Add half of the mixture into the beaten egg yolks.  Stir this hot egg mixture back into the remaining mixture in the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly until it begins to bubble again.  Add the vanilla extract and stir until combined, then remove from heat.

Cut off the top of the puff shell and scoop out some of the shell inside to make room for the puff custard.  Fill the bottom of puff with the custard filling. Place the shell back together and dust with powdered sugar.  Place the uncovered finished puffs in refrigerator for about 3-4 hours. If you prefer to have the puffs covered, do not dust them with powdered sugar until after they have chilled.  

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