one year ago: spring time lime cheesecake
listen, i can’t tell you how many times i’ve passed by this recipe with the understanding that it would be too much of a hassle. but when it was a birthday request from B, i could hide from it no longer. (“i could hide from it no longer”? have i been reading too much charlotte brontë and jane austen?!)
cream puffs are surprisingly simple. all in all, it’s just heating up some ingredients, mashing them, beating them and plopping them onto a cookie sheet, in any shape or form. it’s the ingredients that do all the magical work…not you…so there’s really no pressure!
have i talked you into it yet?!
cream puff pastry
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
preheat your oven to 400º and line your pans with parchment paper.
in a medium sized saucepan, stir together water, salt, sugar and butter. stir over medium heat till mixture just comes to a rolling boil. remove from heat and pour in flour. mix together till ingredients come together to make a ball. return the saucepan, back to low heat, for another 3 minutes to cook the flour…stirring and mashing as if you’re mixing up mashed potatoes.
transfer this mixture to a large bowl. add in eggs one at a time. with an electric mixer beat the mixture for about one minute after each egg is added. your mixture should be smooth and shiny.
you can pipe your mixture onto a cookie sheet, but i opted just to use two spoons to drop the mixture/batter/dough (what do you call this stuff?!) onto the pan to avoid all that extra clean up. i thought my results came out just like the picture i saw, so i had no regrets. take two spoons and use one to scoop up the batter and the other to scrape it off the other spoon onto your cookie sheet. leave about an inch and a half between each dollop.
bake for 30 minutes, till pastry has puffed up and turned a nice golden brown.
transfer pastries to a cooling rack and with a sharp knife cut a small slit in the side of each pastry to release steam. leave these to cool to room temperature, in a draft free area.
while they are cooling, go ahead and whip up your filling. there are lots of options here…ice cream, custard, pudding….but B is a whipped cream fan, so that’s what i’ve got for you.
stabilized whipped cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy whipping cream (divided)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
(note: i ended up making four batches of this cream to fill all the cream puffs i made….plan accordingly)
begin by putting your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
in a small sauce pan, over low heat, combine powdered sugar, cornstarch and 1 /4 cup whipping cream. whisk together till well blended. bump your heat up to medium and continue whisking till ingredients begin to thicken up and come to a rolling boil. immediately remove from heat and transfer to glass bowl to cool to room temperature – i usually just transfer it back to my liquid measuring cup as you will have to pour it out later on. once mixture is cooled, stir in vanilla and set aside. (if you’re making all parts of your cream puffs at once, you might want to start with this step, since it will take a while to cool down. it wont take too long for your whipping cream to whip up, so keep in mind that this mixture needs to be cooled before you start with the next step.)
using your chilled mixer bowl and beaters or whisk attachment, beat the remaining 3 /4 cup heavy whipping cream at a high speed till you begin to see distinct lines forming in the cream. with the beaters still going at high speed, pour in your cooled, sugar/cream/vanilla mixture. the next part happens pretty quickly, so pay attention. continue beating this mixture till it forms stiff peaks, being careful not to over-beat.
transfer to piping bag and fill your puff pastries up with cream. add powdered sugar or chocolate sauce and serve. (you should plan on adding the filling no sooner than 30 minutes before serving)
you can either slice your cream puffs in half, gently with a serrated knife, and pipe in the cream…or use a bismark tube to pipe the cream in where you previously made a small slit….i chose the lazy way….big surprise :)
happy birthday B….i’m so glad you get to scope out the new age before me, to let me know what to expect. welcome to your mid-late twenties….i know you don’t like the sounds of it….but i bet you like the sound of late-late twenties less….so rock this year out and enjoy it to it’s fullest! love you girly!