Monday, July 2, 2012

Fancy Shmancy Cream Puffs

Today, I am crossing another item off of my "To Bake" list! I love having a baking resolution rather than a fitness or dieting resolution. It's so much easier to keep! And who'd've thought it'd be so easy?? I've made pâte a choux before with cheddar cheese puffs, so the process isn't unfamiliar to me. This was how they turned out:

Absolutely perfect and supremely fluffy, with the slightest hint of cheddar and herbs. They aren't a dessert, otherwise I'd have blogged about them. I have my standards, you know? And don't let people know I do other things besides make desserts. My reputation would be tarnished!

Anyways, this dough is fantastically easy to whip up, and so many wonderful creations can be had from these! Like today's blog post, in fact. So yummy!

Cream Puffs
from Bee In Our Bonnet

For the Pâte a Choux:
1 cup (2 sticks) butter
2 1/2 cups water
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons flour
8 eggs

For the filling:
12 ounces frozen whipped cream, thawed
1 large (6 1/2 serving) box instant vanilla pudding mix

For the chocolate ganache:
1 container chocolate frosting

We're going about this the easy way. I probably could have found an actual ganache and cream puff filling recipe, but that might have taken longer, and I wanted them NOW.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. You don't want it to brown, so watch it carefully. And be careful of hot, bubbling butter. It'll burn like nobody's business!

Now, it's time to add the water. Do it slowly to avoid splashing yourself with aforementioned hot butter.

Once that comes to a boil, remove it from the heat and add the flour.

My flour kind of looked like a teddy bear. :)

Stir it quickly and smoosh out all the lumps.

When you're done, it should look very similar to this:

Put it in a mixing bowl to allow it to cool slightly. You don't want to add the eggs too soon or they will cook and disaster will ensue. Okay, that's a little dramatic, but seriously. Don't let your eggs get scrambled! You can stir the dough a little bit to help it cool faster.

Once you don't really see too much steam coming from your dough, it's time to add the eggs. Only add a single egg at a time, and mix well to incorporate each egg before the next is added.

It will look very creamy in texture, like vanilla pudding.

Now, you can use two spoons or a fancy cookie scoop to plop them onto a parchment- or silicone-lined baking sheet. Space them out well, since they'll puff up to almost twice their size when baked.

Make sure to flatten out any peaks, since they will harden that way and poke you in the mouth. That would be unpleasant.

Bake them for 25 to 35 minutes. Mine took 35, so bake carefully. Don't open your oven to check on them, since they need that steam to help them bake fully.

While those are baking, prepare your filling. Whisk together the pudding mix and 2 1/2 cups milk. Let that set in the fridge for about 15 minutes. 

After the pudding has set, add the whipped cream.

Once your puffs are done baking, let them cool on the sheet for up to 10 minutes.

When you're ready to fill them, use a pastry bag or a ziploc with an icing attachment. Find a weak spot in the puffs and begin filling.

You can see a really good weak spot on the bottom left puff, next to the one I'm filling.


Now, you can stop right there. You can call it quits and have a perfectly delicious cream puff just like that. OR, you could be daring, you could be creative, you could add chocolate. Oh, you like that idea? Well, press on we shall!

In the microwave, nuke the jar of frosting (sans aluminum seal and lid) for 30 seconds. It should be thin-ish. Not liquid, by any means, but easily spread onto the cream puffs. If not at that consistency, heat it again, but for 10 to 15 seconds. That should do the trick!

Frost them as you would any other cookie, with a rubber spatula. The end result should look like this:

Make sure to refrigerate them (or freeze them) so that the filling doesn't turn to liquid! Or you could just say "What the heck," and eat them now!

Easy, peasy, right?? Enjoy! Or take them to some sort of get-together and end up with a million more friends!

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