Cream Puff Heaven

You may just happen to notice that Livin Local doesn’t sport many dessert recipes, and even fewer baked goods at that.  I’d like to say that is due to the fact there is no local flour milled in this neck of the woods.  But in truth, I just don’t have any baking mojo.  None.

Today our Gourmet Dinner Club is gathering to share a German feast together, and dessert is my assignment.  Give us any other assignment and we can browse and assess recipes like pros, but not desserts.  In testing recipes, we made a peach ditty that was ok, but not special,  and passed it off to our 20 something son with his 20 something friends with their 20 something appetites for their fridge.  A cookie type creation with almond dough wrapping fruit preserves was nibbled at and it sat on the counter in a house with two teenagers before we finally threw it away.  The German chocolate cake, soaked in alcohol, with butter-cream frosting between layers and whipped cream frosting on top, and chocolate shavings all over was so pathetic that we tossed three quarters of it in the garbage because even with all that potential goodness, the cake simply failed.  And none of this surprised me at all.

The cream puffs surprised me.  They are perfect!  On the first try, these lovely pastry shells came out perfectly and we devoured them on the spot.  So, regardless if you are a skilled baker, or if like me, you’ve never found your baking mojo, this is for you.

Recipe from JoyofBaking.com     Makes 18 heavenly cream puffs.

Ingredients:

Pastry:

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

4 TBS unsalted butter

1/2 cup water

2 large eggs, slightly beaten

Egg wash glaze:

1 large egg

pinch of salt

Whipped cream:

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 TBS granulated sugar

Garnish:

powdered sugar

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place rack in the center of the oven.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2.  In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, and salt.  Set aside.

3.  Place butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon or spatula, quickly add the flour mixture.  Return to heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about one minute).

4.  Transfer the dough to an electric mixer and beat on low speed a minute or two to release the steam from the dough.  Once the dough is lukewarm, start adding the lightly beaten eggs and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste.

5.  Spoon or pipe 12 to 18 mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing them a couple of inches apart.

6.  Beat together the egg and salt for the glaze.  With a pastry brush, gently brush the glaze on the tops of the dough.

7.  Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.  Bake for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the shells are a nice amber color.

8.  Turn the oven off and, with the door slightly ajar, let the shells dry out for a further 10 to 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack.

9.  Make whipped cream by placing the whipping cream, vanilla and sugar in a mixing bowl, cooling it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, and whisking or mixing it until soft peaks form.

10.  To assemble, split the pastry shell in half and fill with whipped cream.  Place the top half of the pastry shell on the shipped cream and dust with powdered sugar.

Notes:

  • Don’t let the number of steps alarm you.  This comes together very quickly. I just write directions out this way because when I read a recipe written in a long paragraph form, I get lost.  Baby steps.
  • Did you notice that most of the ingredients are already in your pantry?  Another reason to give this a try.
  • Seeing how these were devoured at home, I’m making a batch for the adults at the dinner, and another for our teens while they hang out together.
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3 responses to “Cream Puff Heaven

  1. I’d comment on the lovely cream puffs but I’m still trying to catch my breath after reading about your twenty something son. OMG! No way. Nuhuh. Can’t be older than, what 15??? 🙂

  2. and you claim to have no baking mojo. no way–these are tremendously impressive. what a treat, louise–give us more!

  3. me too, I’ve got a black thumb when it comes to baking… but there you go making perfect cream puffs! how awesome…

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