Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lovely Cream Puffs

The May 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Cat of Little Miss Cupcake. Cat challenged everyone to make a piece montée, or croquembouche, based on recipes from Peter Kump’s Baking School in Manhattan and Nick Malgieri.
Cream Puffs are something my mom finds a bit of nostalgia with.  Gramma had made lots of them when mom was growing up.  In fact when I was little....cream puffs were what my mom sent me to school with when we had class parties.  Always light and delicious and filled with yummy whipped cream.  It was on my mother's last visit out about a year ago that she made some for me to take to school for a PAC meeting at the school.  Well here we are again....more cream puffs....and I'm not complaining.  The recipe provided is very similar to the one used on mom's last visit and turned out quite nicely.  Just to try something different....this time I filled them with one of the filling recipes provided.....a vanilla pastry cream and drizzled the lot with a chocolate glaze recipe for glazing chocolate dipped donuts.   They were just as delicious as we had all expected, and I look forward to making them for Ike to bring to school some time:)  If you have a hankering to try are the recipes. I made only a 1/2 batch of cream puffs and made them quite small...they baked up about 38 puffs about 1 1/2 inches across.  You will need a full batch (double what is written) of the filling to fill a half recipe of cream puffs, and I found a half recipe of the chocolate glaze was more than enough to drizzle over a half batch of puffs.

Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)
¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
For Egg Wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt
Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Preparing batter:
Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.
Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly.
Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny.
As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes.

It is at this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs.
Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I piped directly from the bag opening without a tip). Pipe choux about 1 inch-part in the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high about 1 inch wide.
Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top.
Brush tops with egg wash (1 egg lightly beaten with pinch of salt).
Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.

For the Vanilla Crème Patissiere (Half Batch)
1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla
Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.
Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.
Return the remaining milk to boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, continuing whisking.
Continue whisking (this is important – you do not want the eggs to solidify/cook) until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla.

Chocolate Glaze
3/4 cup chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water, combine chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup. Stir until chips are melted and mixture is smooth, then add vanilla.
  2. Spread warm glaze over top of cake, letting it drizzle down the sides.


Amanda said...


Question though: Did you use the chocolate to stick your cream puffs together? I used the chocolate method, but mine ended up slipping off while they chilled in the fridge.

Brilliant execution. Yours looks like what I wanted mine to look like. : )

Jeanne said...

Your croquembouche is beautiful! And what great memories it holds for you! :)

SprinkleBakes said...

Beautiful! I was so tempted to make chocolate - looks so yummy!

LittleRed said...

Thanks everyone:) The cream puffs are free standing as the chocolate sauce had not set enough to help hold their position when I took the photo.....and I was afraid to move it:) I loved the flavours I chose and Ike is waiting for more.