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Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs are my go-to fancy dessert that I think is easy.

Cream Puff or Eclair.  Cream Puffs are round, Eclairs are elongated.
Mix together 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup cornstarch.
Boil 2 cups water and 1 stick of butter + 2 Tbs (10 Tbs butter total)
When the water-butter is at a full boil add the flour/cornstarch and turn off the heat.  Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth then add 6 eggs one at a time mixing them in completely before adding the next egg.  Stir until the mixture is smooth.
Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon out cream buffs.  I use an ice cream scoop.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, then without opening the oven, reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven and let cool.

Pastry Cream - Not so easy.
3 egg yolks, beaten.
Mix together in a medium sauce pan until dissolved:  2 cups milk,  1/8 tsp salt,  2 and 1/2 Tbs cornstarch,  3/4 cup sugar.  Bring to a boil.  Add a few spoonfuls at a time of the milk mixture to the egg yolks so they don't scramble.  Add the egg yolks to the milk mixture.  Stir that all together and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and add 2 Tbs butter and 1 tsp vanilla for flavor.  Refrigerate.  Cover with plastic wrap so the wrap touches the top of the cream to keep it from forming a skin on the top.  It takes a few hours to cool.

When cool, fill the Cream Puffs with Pastry Cream.  You can do this a couple of ways:
1 - Fill a pipping bag or plastic bag with Cream. Using any metal tip, insert into the puff and squeeze some pastry cream into the puff until it oozes out the sides.  This is my preferred method.
2 - Cut the top off the puff, remove the insides, spoon fill with cream, then add the top back on.  This is takes forever, but you get to eat the cream puff insides as you work.
3 - Using any of the above two methods use instant pudding as a filling instead of pastry cream.  Or ice cream would be good.

Leave plain, dust with powdered sugar, dip in chocolate, or make some fancy chocolate design on top.  Enjoy.