Monday, May 21, 2012

perfect cream puffs

My mom has a thing for cream puffs. That is why I chose to take on the challenge of making my own fresh cream puffs at home for Mother's Day.
Whenever we go to visit family in Hawaii, we always set aside a moment to share a delicious Beard Papa's puff together. When we were in New York City this past Spring, we savored some of the most delicious cream puffs ever -- made by a little Japanese woman behind at a tiny counter in a busy market. I guess you could say that sampling the world's cream puffs has become one of the special things that we do together.
When I took on this challenge of making these simple puffs at home, I realized that a lot of the recipes out there were quite complicated, with various rituals such as leaving the oven open to let the puffs dry out, or with complicated recipes for french pastry cream. However, cream puffs don't have to be this complicated -- with a good pate a choux recipe up my sleeve, and a fool-proof recipe for fresh whipped cream, I was able to create these beautiful, fluffy, eggy pastries with ease.
With love,
Erica
after being popped out of the freezer
fresh from the oven, before being piped with cream

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • Powdered sugar (for dusting) 
Recipe Notes:
You can freeze the piped dough rounds on the baking sheets, then transfer to resealable plastic bags and freeze for up to 1 month. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, spacing apart (do not defrost) and continue with recipe (brushing with egg wash and baking at 375F). This is especially helpful because cream puffs are best when freshly baked, and do not keep very well after being piped with cream.  
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit 1 large pastry bag with plain 1/2-inch tip (I usually use a plastic freezer bag with 1/2-inch cut from one bottom corner.



Bring milk, butter, 1 tsp. sugar, salt, and 1/2 cup water to a boil in a medium sauce- pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add flour all at once; reduce heat to medium-low. Stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until a dough forms and pulls away from sides of pan, 1–2 minutes.
Continue beating vigorously for about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium sized bowl.

Add 1 egg and stir vigorously with wooden spoon until egg is incorporated and dough looks dry again, about 2 minutes. Repeat with 4 more eggs, adding one at a time and stirring vigorously to incorporate before adding the next. Dough should be smooth, shiny, and thickened.

Scoop dough into prepared pastry bag; pipe out rounds about an inch high and with a 2 1/2 inch diameter on prepared sheets, leaving 2 inches between rounds.  (now would be the time to freeze the rounds if you plan to bake them later)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk remaining egg with 2 tsp. water and brush each puff all over with egg wash. Bake for 25 minutes until puffs turn a deep golden brown.



Prepare a second bag with 1/2-inch open-star tip. Beat heavy cream and remaining 2 Tbsp. sugar in a large bowl until soft peaks form (I flavored the cream with a fresh vanilla bean, but feel free to flavor it however you please). Place whipped cream into prepared pastry bag. Puncture a small hole in the side of each puff, and fill each puff with cream. Dust tops of cream puffs with powdered sugar.

5 comments:

  1. Wow! These cream puffs look fantastic- the best cream puff I've ever had was in Sydney's chinatown on a school excursion. Anyway, I'm a teenage blogger/baker like you and I just found your blog through a comment you left on 'Sophia's Sweets'. I'm really excited to discover there are other teen food bloggers out there! I noticed you were interested in talking/recipe sharing and I was wondering if we could maybe do the same some time (if you'd like)? Love the blog, by the way, and your photography is INCREDIBLE! Mia :)

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    1. Thank you so much Mia! Wow, Sydney Australia? YAY! I am always thrilled to meet and get to know other teen bloggers, and I would love to recipe share with you! Shoot me an email at the address on my "about me" page!
      Can't wait to hear from you!

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  2. Do you insert the tip of a small knife in the side of each cream puff upon removing it from the oven? I remember my mum doing so to let any excess moisture escape? They do not DRY OUT by doing this, but sometimes my puffs would not have the delicate flaky interior I desired. Perhaps this goes back to the stone ages: yes, I'm, sigh, one of your elders. Still baking and love to share.

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    1. I do puncture a small hole in the side of each puff, not to dry them out, but to pipe them with the cream!

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  3. Looks yummy seems so easy, thank you.

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