Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cream Puffs

The second dessert I made for our graduation cook-out was Cream Puffs. Since I knew I didn't want to be making two desserts in five hours, I opted to make the Cream Puffs on Monday and freeze them until Thursday. I'm always so shocked when I find out that a dessert I thought was so complicated turns out quite easy. The recipe does not call for strange ingredients, but rather, staples that one would already have in the house. The same doesn't apply for the filling recipe I used, but instead of a whipped cream filling, you could fill the insides with chocolate, Nutella, or peanut butter.

Cream Puff Dough Cream Puff Dough

I wanted to make sure that there was enough for everyone at the cook-out so I didn't sample any when they were freshly baked, so I can't make a comparison to the frozen and re-baked ones. I baked the frozen puffs for 10 minutes at 350F and they were softer than I had anticipated. I thought they would be crispy and crunchy, but then again I've never really had genuine Cream Puffs before. They actually remind me of a Korean snack called Homerun Balls, which are basically mini Cream Puffs with chocolate inside.

Cream Puffs Cream Puffs

I realized that trying to fill the puffs without a piping tip would not end well since a Ziploc bag is definitely not sturdy enough to poke through the puffs. This time, I bought myself a proper piping tip with piping bags. It turned into such a mess because I filled up the piping bag too full so the pastry cream was falling out of both ends. I don't know what size the tips are, but I will have to go for a bigger one next time because it took too long to get enough filling inside. To continue with the school colors theme, I dipped each in either blue or white chocolate just as I did with the Cake Pops.

Cream Puffs

Fuji Cream Puffs [Makes 10 large, 20 medium, or 48 mini]
From La Fuji Mama

- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup butter (4 ounces)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs

1. Preheat the oven to 400F.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.
3. Bring the water to a boil in a medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the butter. When the butter has melted, add the flour mixture all at once and stir vigorously. Cook and stir until the mixture forms a ball that doesn’t separate.
4. Remove from the heat and cool slightly (about 1 minute). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one until the dough is smooth.
5. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough about 2-inches apart onto a greased baking sheet. Or transfer the batter to a pastry bag with a round tip and pipe circles about 2-inches in diameter and about 1-inch apart onto greased baking sheets. Bake the puffs for about 30 minutes until they are golden brown and puffy. If the puffs are medium-size, bake for about 22 — 25 minutes, and if the puffs are mini-size, bake for about 17 — 20 minutes. Remove the cream puffs from the oven and cool on a cooling rack.
6. Cream puffs will stay nice and crispy if you let them cool down and then Ziplock bag them and put them in the freezer. When you are ready to use them, put them on a sheet pan and bake at 350F for 5 minutes.
7. When to ready to serve, fill each cream puff with Pastry Cream Filling (recipe below). Melt chocolate or candy melts in the microwave or in a double boiler. Dip each cream puff in the chocolate and set down on serving plate. Let the chocolate set and serve.

Pastry Cream Filling
From Soup Belly

- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 8 oz cream cheese, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp lemon zest (optional)

1. Beat 1/2 pint heavy cream with a mixer until whipped, and set aside in a bowl in the refrigerator. Then start blending the cream cheese with powdered sugar, adding a little sugar at a time until combined. Add 1 tsp. lemon zest (optional). Fold in whipped cream by hand until combined with cream cheese.

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