Saturday, July 11, 2009

Cream Puffs

Pate Choux is one of the best, fabulous food fake outs. It is kind of elegant, but deceptively simple to make (so don't be intimidated), and once you master it, variations of this same basic recipe can be used to make cream puffs, cheese puffs, profiteroles, and ├ęclairs. Super simple, and a very affordable way to wow your guests.

Pate Choux:
1 cup milk
1/4 pound butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Cream Filling:
1 cup cold heavy cream
1/4 cup whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and the seeds from half of a vanilla bean)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Heat the milk and butter over medium heat until scalded. When the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and beat it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough (it will look essentially like mashed potatoes). Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2-3 minutes, until the flour begins to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the eggs and pulse until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the mixture is thick.

Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe one inch mounds onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should have about 35 puffs. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff (so it won't burn during baking). Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for another 10 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Make a small slit in the bottom of each puff to allow the steam to escape, and cool upside down on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, whip the heavy cream and cream cheese in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on high speed until soft peaks form, add the sugar and vanilla, and continue beating on high until the mixture is stiff, but not dry. Spoon the cream mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a small star tip, and fill the cooled puffs, using the steam vent you created on the bottom. Refrigerate the puffs until you are ready to serve. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar, and enjoy!


pksarna said...

Ohhlala! Thanks for sharing a wonderful fakeout! Those are the best recipes. Super wow, affordable, few ingredients, and pretty simple. I just want to run out and buy a pastry bag to get started!

Btw, took my Masi to Ikea today. It was her first time...remember, you took me to Ikea my first time. Oh, I remember I was just so so so amazed...wait, it was you, wasn't it?

pksarna said...

Didja cater something with these delights? or, just for a lovely dessert hour at your home with a few of your closest friends and a bottle of bubbly?

Jacob Blankenship said...

Oh ikea...what joy you bring into our lives.

I made them along with a few other little nibbley things to have with cocktails for a little gathering we had at a friend's house last week. [there were cream puffs, chocolate dipped strawberries, hummus/veggie/pita platter, and little miniature pigs in blankets (which are totally ghetto,lol, but also totally delicious)] I like to walk that line between down home comfort food and up scale elegance... you know? Familiar foods and flavors with just a little dash of fancy schmancy. =)