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Perfect Week to Indulge in Cream Puffs!
Submitted by Pam on Mon, 02/11/2013 - 19:10
Custard Cream Puffs with Chocolate Topping
Who doesn't love cream puffs! Whether filled with sweetened whipped cream or luscious custard (my absolute favorite version), once we have eaten one, we never forget it!
Cream puffs are so easy to make - really they are! And since in many families some kind of cream filled puff dessert is traditional for Shrove Thursday or Fat Tuesday; and since both days fall so close to Valentines Day this calendar year, I am thinking this is the perfect week to be making cream puffs!
The shells and the filling can even be made the night before serving. And assembly is - seriously - a piece of cake!!
The recipe I am sharing is the recipe I adapted to create equally delicious sugar free cream puffs for my little E-book "Not so Sweets". The e-book version is quite similar and completely illustrated with step by step pictures. I am only sharing the recipe here.
If you do have someone you love in your family who is on a sugar restricted diet, you might want to consider popping over to Diane's shop to purchase a copy of "Not So Sweets". In addition to cream puffs, you will find sugar free and sugar reduced illustrated recipes for panna cotta, cheese blintz, chocolate mousse, a couple of my favorite cookies and baking tips.
And now the recipe!
CUSTARD FILLED CREAM PUFFS
Recipe makes 8 to 10 puffs
Make the Puff Shells
1 cup (8 oz or 237 ml) water
1/2 cup (113g) butter
1/4 teaspoon (1.5g) salt
1 cup (126g) all purpose flour
4 large eggs
Preheat your oven to 400F (200C)
1.Place the water, butter and salt in a saucepan and bring just to a boil.
2.Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the flour all at once. Beat vigorously until the flour is completely incorporated.
3.Return the pan to the heat and beat the mixture until it leaves the sides of the pan and can easily be formed into a smooth ball with the spoon - usually a couple minutes.
4.Remove the pan from the heat again and beat in the eggs one at a time. Your arms might get a little tired - I always enlist back-up!
As you begin beating in the egg, the mixture will break apart!
5.Just keep beating vigorously and soon the mixture will pull together and become smooth again. Once it does, add the next egg and beat until smooth. Repeat until all four eggs have been added.
6.Once all four eggs have been beaten into the mixture, continue beating until the puff batter is glossy and it breaks in pieces when the spoon is lifted.
7.Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop the batter by tablespoons onto the parchment about 2 1/2" (6 cm) apart. Don't worry if they aren't perfectly round - they always bake up into beautiful puffs!
8.Bake until puffed and browned - about 50 minutes. Do not under bake! They will look done before they are. Check them at 45 minutes. Tap the puff shells with your finger nail and if they sound hollow, they are done! I routinely leave mine in the oven for the full 50 minutes.
Let your puff shells cool completely.
Make the Custard Filling
2 cups (16 oz or 474 ml) whole milk
1 cup (8 oz or 237 ml) half and half
2/3 cup sugar (134 g)
3 tablespoons (21g) cornstarch
4 large egg yolks
2 1/2 teaspoons (13 ml) vanilla
1.Heat the milk and half & half in a sauce pan over medium heat until little bubbles form around the edges. Watch carefully and do not bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat.
2.Mix the sugar and cornstarch together and then whisk the mixture into the milk all at once. Return the pan to the heat and continue whisking the mixture until it comes to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about one minute, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat.
3.Slightly beat the egg yolks in a small bowl. Add about a half cup of the milk mixture to the egg yolks, a little bit at a time, whisking after each addition.
The idea here is to slowly warm the egg mixture so that it won't form lumps when it is added to the hot milk. (If you were to put the eggs directly into the milk mixture, the eggs would start to cook and form hard little bits of egg in your custard!)
4.Whisk the egg yolk and milk mixture into the pan and return to the heat. Cook, whisking constantly, until custard comes to a boil and thickens. Stirring constantly and cooking at fairly low heat are important in order to avoid scorching the mixture and forming lumps. Take your time and don't rush this step.
5.Remove the pan from the heat. If you do notice that a few little lumps formed while mixing, pour the mixture through a wire sieve to strain them out.
6.Stir in the vanilla.
7.Transfer your custard to a shallow bowl and place plastic wrap directly on top of the custard surface. (This keeps a thick film from forming on the surface as the custard cools.) Once the custard reaches room temperature, place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to fill the shells.
2 tablespoon (14g) cornstarch
2/3 cup sugar (134g)
1/4 teaspoon (1.5g) salt
2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (6 oz or 173 ml) water
2 ounces (56g) good quality unsweetened baking chocolate (chopped)
3 tablespoons (43g) butter
2 teaspoon (10 ml) vanilla
1.In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch, sugar, salt and water together.
2.Place the butter and the chocolate in a small sauce pan. Cook over low heat just until the chocolate is melted.
3.Add the sugar/water mixture to the chocolate mixture and, stirring constantly, bring the mixture to just barely to a boil. Just until a few bubbles start to form.
4.Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let mixture cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
To Assemble Cream Puffs
1.Using a serrated knife, cut the tops off the puff shells.
2.You will find moist stringy bits of dough inside. Reach inside with your fingers and remove most of them. You won't need to remove them all - just clean out the opening so you have lots of room for the yummy filling.
3.Spoon the custard filling into the puff shell and replace the top piece of the puff shell.
4.Top the puff shell with the chocolate topping. Refrigerate for a couple hours and serve on a pretty plate!