Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs

 

Source: Joy of Cooking

Cream puffs can take on many shapes, flavors, and fillings.  Our favorites are the Profiteroles, small puffs filled with a rich pastry cream (preferably vanilla, but chocolate can be used), then covered in rich dark chocolate.  We have found that in England and Ireland, the cream puffs tend to be filled with a rich whipped cream, while in Germany and Spain they tend to use a chocolate cream.  Only in France (and one pasteleria in Fuengirola, Spain) have we found them with the vanilla pastry cream.

Choux Paste

1

cup

sifted flour (plain)                  

4

ounces

115

grams

cup

water                                        

 

 

125

ml

cup

whole milk                                   

 

 

125

ml

Tbs

unsalted butter                       

4

ounces

115

grams

tsp

salt                                          

 

 

2.5

ml

large

eggs

 

 

 

 

Combine the water, milk, butter and salt in a large saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a full boil over medium heat.
Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan.
Continue to cook and stir the mixture for about 1 minute to eliminate excess moisture.
The butter may ooze our, which if fine; it simply means that the moisture is evaporating.
Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Beat in 1 egg at a time by hand with a wooden spoon, making sure the paste is smooth before adding the next egg.
After all eggs have been added, beat the dough until it is smooth and shiny.
Choux paste can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.
When it is cold, you do not need to bring the paste to room temperature  before shaping.

Preheat oven to 400F [205C].
Shape the desired shapes onto ungreased baking sheets or parchment lined sheets for the larger pastries.
Scoop dough into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1" [2.5 cm] tip for large eclairs or " [1 cm] tip for the others.
Pipe onto the baking sheets, leaving about 2" [5 cm] between the pastries.
Bake as below, poking a hole in each before leaving to dry in the warm oven:

Shape
Qty
Size

Bake at
400F [205]C

Continue at
350F [175C]

Dry in oven

Eclairs

8-10

large

15 minutes

25-30 minutes

10 minutes

Eclairs

24

miniature

15 minutes

10-15 minutes

10 minutes

Cream Puffs

30

medium

15 minutes

20-25 minutes

10 minutes

Profiteroles

48

small

15 minutes

10-15 minutes

10 minutes

Fill Eclairs and cream puffs with pastry cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream.
Fill Profiteroles with vanilla ice cream.
Top all with chocolate glaze or ganache

Pastry Cream

Use for filling Boston Cream Pie, Eclairs, fresh fruit tarts, etc.

cup

sugar (caster)

  2

ounces  

65

grams

2

Tbs

all purpose flour  (plain)

 

 

30

ml

2

Tbs 

cornstarch (corn flour)

 

 

30

ml

4

large

egg yolks

 

 

 

 

1

cups

whole milk

 

 

330

ml

 

tsp

vanilla

 

 

4

ml

Bring the milk to a simmer (with vanilla bean, if using, then remove bean).
Meanwhile beat together remaining ingredients.
Gradually pour 1/3 of the warm milk over the beaten ingredients, stirring to combine.
Add remaining milk and blend well.
Scrape the egg mixture back into the pan and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly to prevent scorching.  Be sure to scrape the bottom and corners of the pan as well.
Cook until the custard is thickened and begins to bubble.
Then continue to cook, whisking, for 45 to 60 seconds.
If you haven’t used the vanilla bean, add the vanilla extract (essence) and stir well.

Cover the surface of the custard with a piece of wax or parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming.
Let cool, then refrigerate before using.
This keeps, refrigerated, for 2 days.

Variations:

Chocolate

Fold 3-5 ounces [85-145 grams] bittersweet chocolate into the warm pastry cream.

Cocoa

Combine 1/3 cup [85 ml] sugar and 1/3 cup [85 ml] cocoa (preferably Dutch) into the saucepan before adding the milk.  Add just enough to make a smooth paste, then stir in the remaining milk and proceed as above.

Hazelnut or Almond: 

Fold 1/3 cup [85 ml] crushed hazelnut or almond praline into the cold custard just before using.

Frangipane

Fold 1/3 cup [85 ml] ground blanched almonds and 1/8 tsp [. 6 ml] almond extract into the hot custard.  Or fold 1/3 cup [85 ml] crushed almond macaroons into the cold custard just before using.

Butterscotch

Substitute cup [125 ml] light or dark brown sugar for the sugar and add a pinch of salt.

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