If you want to knock your guests socks off then you need to make these cream puffs for your next party. I hope their socks don’t literally get knocked off, that could cause some problems.
Its not difficult to make, it just takes a little time. Start by making the shells with pate a choux dough.
Pate a choux (cream puff) dough can be made into savory gougeres by adding grated Gruyère or other cheese to the batter
The cream puff shells freeze well unfilled so you can make them in advance of your party. Just take them out of the freezer and let them reach room temperature, you can even toast them in a warm oven if you want to make them extra crispy. I simply thaw them, cut a bit of the top off, fill with pastry cream and replace the top. Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate and be happy.
Cream Puff Shells/ Pate a Choux – makes about 3 dozen mini cream puffs
1 cup of milk (Whole or 2%)
1/2 cup butter, cut into cubes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 ¼ all purpose flour
Preheat your oven to 425°
In a 2 or 3 quart sauce pan bring milk to a simmer with salt and butter. When the butter has melted reduce the heat to low and dump the flour into the milk mixture all at once. Stir until a thick paste forms, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Put the dough into the bowl of a mixer and beat on low speed for about 3 minutes to let the dough cool a bit. Add eggs one at a time on low speed.
Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Pipe the mixture in desired shapes (about the size of a quarter for mini cream puffs or 2 inches long for mini eclairs) see the pictures above, and bake for about 15- 20 minutes, until deep golden brown. Let cool completely then fill with pastry cream, ice cream or sorbet. You can also freeze them for future use.
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or 1 scraped vanilla bean
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup corn starch
1 tablespoon gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Simmer milk, 1/4 cup of sugar and vanilla in a sauce pan
In a bowl, add 1/4 cup of sugar to egg yolks and corn starch, immediately beat the mixture vigorously until smooth. If you let the sugar sit on the egg yolks without beating right away the egg yolks will crystallize.
Slowly add the hot milk into the egg yolk mixture starting with about 2 tablespoons at a time, beating the yolks as you add the milk. Begin to add the hot milk a bit more quickly until it is all incorporated.
Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium low heat, constantly stirring the mixture with a whisk until the milk has become a thick custard. Remove from heat but continue to stir for another 2 minutes. Pour the mixture into a Pyrex dish, cover with plastic wrap directly on the cream (if you’re nervous about plastic wrap touching the cream just rub a little butter over the warm cream, cover it with the plastic not touching the cream or use the lid to the Pyrex container. A skin will may but you can peel it off.) The pastry cream is finished at this point but I like to add the gelatin and whipped cream to make a stiffer mixture that will hold its shape after piping.
Pour water onto gelatin and let stand for 5 minutes. Warm the gelatin in the microwave of 30-45 seconds. Add the gelatin to the cold cream. Beat the cream to stiff peaks and fold into the cold pastry cream. Pipe this mixture into the cream puff shells.
Serve immediately or chill for up to 6 hours.