There are only a few weeks left in my 52 weeks of baking resolution, so I'm trying to find things on my "I can't believe I haven't made these before" list. Cream puffs were near the top of that list, but after last night, I'm officially able to cross them off.
I found a pastry recipe that looked simple and yielded a large haul of puffs. However, instead of a traditional custard cream — there wasn't enough time to let it set — I went with a whipped cream filling and a chocolate glaze. While mine isn't quite a traditional French Croquembouche — aka stacked cream puffs coated with caramel — it does work as a modern twist. To get the recipe that I put together on a weeknight just
1 1/4 cups water
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
4 to 6 large eggs
- In a heavy saucepan bring water to a boil with butter and salt over high heat.
- Reduce heat to moderate. Add flour all at once and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture pulls away from sides of pan, forming a dough.
- Transfer dough to bowl of a standing electric mixer and beat in 4 eggs, 1 at a time, on high speed, beating well after each addition. Batter should be stiff enough to just hold soft peaks and fall softly from a spoon. If batter is too stiff, in a small bowl beat remaining 2 eggs lightly, 1 at a time, and add to batter, a little at a time, beating on high speed, until batter is desired consistency.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. and butter and flour 2 baking sheets.
- Spoon pâte à chou into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain tip and pipe about 55 mounds onto baking sheets, each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, leaving 1 1/2 inches between mounds.
- With a finger dipped in water gently smooth pointed tip of each mound to round puffs.
- Bake puffs in upper third of oven 10 minutes, switching position of sheets in oven halfway through baking if necessary. Reduce temperature to 400°F. and bake puffs 20 minutes more, or until puffed and golden.
- Let puffs stand in turned-off oven 30 minutes. Transfer puffs to racks to cool.
- With a skewer poke a 1/4-inch hole in bottom of each puff.
- Puffs may be made 2 days ahead and kept in an airtight container. Recrisp puffs in 400°F. oven 5 minutes and cool before filling.
Whipped Cream Filling
2 cups heavy whipping cream
4 tbsp powdered sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Whip cream until frothy.
- Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract.
- Whip until stiff peaks can be formed.
6 oz semisweet chocolate cut into pieces (or chocolate chips)
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
- Place the chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl and set aside.
- In a medium sized saucepan heat the cream and butter over medium heat. Bring to a boil.
- Pour boiling cream over the chocolate and let stand for five minutes.
- Stir with a whisk until smooth.
- Add a pinch of cinnamon, nutmeg or clove if desired.
- While cream puffs are cooling, make whipped filling. Transfer filling to a large pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain top and barely fill each puff (do not overfill).
- Using toothpicks or skewers stack cream puffs into a cone shape.
- Make glaze. Drizzle glaze on top of stacked cream puffs.
Alternatively, you can just dip each cream puff into the glaze and serve individually.