Did you know that today, Jan. 2, is National Cream Puff Day?
I love a good cream puff. Fresh out of the oven, with the pastry cream still warm—that’s my favorite way to enjoy them.
Cream Puffs aren’t hard to make, they just take a little time and patience. Also, you can make the puffs a couple of days before you need them, and combine them with any filling you like. Traditionally, cream puffs are filled with pastry cream. But choose fresh fruit, whipped cream, or even savory fillings, for variations on the theme. Below you will find both a pastry cream and a chocolate cream filling, as well as the pastry recipe.
A few years ago, I started researching food holidays. It began as simple curiosity after reading an article about some food day celebration. What I found was out of 365 days, only 2 days don’t have a food, dish, or ingredient to celebrate. Who knew?
For 2013, at the beginning of each month, CHEFS Mix will bring gather all the days that celebrate and recognize food. There will be a pdf for each month that you can print and share.
Your Turn: What is your favorite food celebration in January?
Yield: 12 large puffs
1 cup water
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
4 large eggs
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease 2 large baking sheets.
In a medium saucepan, combine water, butter and salt. Bring to a boil then remove from heat. Add flour and, using a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until combined and smooth. Return the mixture to low heat, and stir continually until the mixture pulls away from the side of the pan and forms a ball, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove the mixture from heat. Beat in eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously until smooth after each addition. Drop batter by scant 1/4 cupfuls about 3 inches apart onto prepared cookie sheet.
Bake 35 to 40 minutes until puffed and golden Puffs should sound hollow when lightly tapped.
Let cool completely on wire rack.
To assemble, with a sharp knife, cut off tops crosswise. Remove any soft dough from inside the pastry. Fill with choice of filling. Replace top. Glaze with melted chocolate or dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Pastry Cream Filling
2 cup of whole milk
¼ cup cornstarch
½ cup plus 2 tablespoon sugar
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
Pinch of salt
4 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoon vanilla
In a large, heat safe, mixing bowl, combine cornstarch and ½ cup milk and stir to dissolve. Beat whole egg and yolks into mixture. Set aside.
Combine remaining milk with sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove sauce pan from heat. Set aside and cool milk mixture for 5 minutes. Slowly add egg mixture, in a thin stream, into hot milk.
Return mixture to stove top and stir vigorously until mixture comes to a boil. Continue to stir until pastry cream becomes thick, about 5-7 minutes. Once pastry cream reaches this stage, remove sauce pan from heat and stir in butter and vanilla extract. To prevent over cooking from residual heat, transfer the saucepan to the ice bath. Stir occasionally until pastry cream is cool about 30 minutes.
Chocolate Cream Filling
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-1/2 cups milk
2 to 3 teaspoons powdered instant coffee
1 egg yolk, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir together sugar, cocoa and cornstarch in medium saucepan; gradually add milk and instant coffee. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture boils; boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat.
Gradually stir small amount of hot mixture into egg yolk, blending well; return mixture to pan. Heat just to boiling, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Pour into bowl; press plastic wrap onto surface. Refrigerate until cold.