Did you all have a good New Year’s? Have you made New Year’s resolutions? I prefer to set goals for myself instead of making resolutions. Cliff and I usually make them together. We have not done ours yet this year but in years past we usually make it a goal to travel to somewhere new, and finish some projects around the house. And of course, eat healthier and exercise more. That’s the tough one! I know many of you probably have resolutions to lose weight, so I have a challenge for you! Just try not to make these cream puffs! I know, I’m cruel. Our first post of 2012 and it is one of the best desserts we have ever made.
Growing up my Grandma always made cream puffs for dessert. I remember my cousins and I always fighting over them. And finally she just stopped making them. I asked my Dad if he had her cream puff recipe and he said that he thinks they were store bought. Well, I was fooled. I always thought she made them homemade! Kelly and I set out to find a cream puff recipe that we thought would live up to the ones we remembered from our childhood. I must say, these cream puffs were even better than I remember. They are a lot of work. Which is actually a good thing, because I can’t just whip them up whenever I feel like it! But they are worth the work once in awhile! We served these for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve and everyone really liked them. Just go ahead and try to resist them!!
For the pastry cream
- 2 cup half and half
- 1/2 cup sugar, divided
- Pinch salt
- 5 large eggs
- 3 tbsp cornstarch
- 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the pâte à choux
- 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 6 tbsp water
- 1 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup flour
For the chocolate glaze
- 3 tbsp half and half
- 4 oz chocolate chips
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- Begin with the pastry cream. Heat the half and half, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer until the sugar is dissolved. While the sugar is dissolving combine the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons sugar in a bowl. Whisk until the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture is creamy. Add the cornstarch and mix until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. Once the half and half has come to a simmer and the sugar is dissolved slowly begin adding it to the egg yolk mixture to temper, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Simmer the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy. This took me about a minute. Be sure not to overcook it because you will end up with scrambled eggs. Remove from heat and add in the butter and vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through a sieve set over a medium bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. You can leave it in the refrigerator for a couple of days if you prefer.
- Once the pastry cream is set you can begin the pâte à choux. Start by whisking the eggs and egg white in a liquid measuring cup. You will only need ½ cup. If you have more you can throw it away. Set aside the eggs. Combine the butter, milk, water, sugar and salt in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring once or twice. Once it comes to a full boil, and the butter is fully melted, remove from the heat and stir in the flour until incorporated and the mixture clears the sides of the pan. Return the saucepan to low heat and continue to cook. Stir constantly by pressing the mixture against the side of the saucepan. The mixture should be slightly shiny. The recipe we followed said it should look like wet sand but we thought it looked like mashed potatoes! Transfer the mixture to a food processor and process for about 10 seconds with the feed tube open. This will allow the mixture to start to cool. While the machine is running slowly add the eggs that you whisked earlier. Once they have been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and process 30 additional seconds. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe the paste in small mounds on the baking sheet. The mounds should be about 1 ½ inches high. Flatten each mound slightly with a spoon. We got about 22 mounds. Bake for about 13 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the puffs from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. When they are cool enough to handle slit one side of the puff with a paring knife. The puffs will be hollow so you really just need to pierce the puff. Place your pastry cream in a pastry bag or Ziploc bag and begin filling the puffs.
- Once the puffs are filled begin the chocolate glaze. Add the half and half and the chocolate chips to a microwave safe bowl and microwave in 20 second increments until melted. Add the powdered sugar and whisk until smooth. Dip the top of each puff in chocolate and return to the cooling rack. They are best eaten the same day. If you do have leftovers freeze them right away. Ours were just as good 1 week later.