Everyone has a story to tell, here's mine sprinkled with some creative projects along the way.
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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Pâte à Choux aka Cream Puffs

So I know I've said that I will take a rest from sharing recipes but I just had to share this one. I got this book from the library. It's a pretty good dessert recipe book, especially if you are interested in how thing are made from scratch. I tried this Cream puff recipe a month ago and I have to say...flour, butter and eggs sure make for a tasty dessert.

Pate a choux (Cream puffs)
Yield: 30 cream puff shells or 12 éclair shells

¾ cup water
6 tbsp. butter
1tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
Egg wash: 1 egg, lightly beaten with a pink of salt.

1. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a large plain around tip (or snip ½ inch off the tip of a filled disposable pastry bag)
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, butter, sugar and salt and set over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.
3. When the mixture reaches a boil, remove the saucepan from the heat source and sift in the flour. Stir to combine.
4. Return the saucepan to the heat and cook while stirring constantly until the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the saucepan.
5. Transfer the dough to a bowl and stir for 1-2 minutes to cool slightly. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
6. Add 1 of the eggs to the bowl. As you mix, the dough will break into pieces and appear loose and shiny. As the egg becomes incorporated, the dough will become coarse looking like mashed potatoes. When this happens, add another egg and repeat the process until you have incorporated all the eggs.
7. Transfer the dough to the pastry bag. Pipe the dough into mounds that are 1 inch long and 1 inch wide. Spaced 1 ½ inches apart on the lined baking sheets.
8. Using a clean finger dipped in water, gently press down on any peaks that have formed during piping. Choux puffs should have rounded tops.
9. Brush the tops with the egg wash.
10. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the choux puffs are well-inflated and golden.
11. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to bake the choux until dry, about 20 minutes more.
12. Transfer the choux puffs to a wire rack and let cool.
13. To fill the choux, piece the side f each puff with a knife, making a small incision just big enough to fit a pastry tip inside. Pipe desired filling and pres gently to close incision.

Éclair Shells
To make éclair shells, pip the dough into twelve fingers (approximately 4 inches long) spaced 1 ½ inches apart on the lined baking sheets, and bake as the recipe indicates.
When the shells have cooled d completely, slice it half lengthwise. You will need about 2 cups of filling to fill the éclair shells.

Vanilla Pastry Cream
Yields: Approximately 2 cups

2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup whole milk
1 egg
2 egg yolks
6 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. vanilla

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in a ¼ cup of the m ilk. Beat the whole egg, then the yolks, one at a time, into the cornstarch mixture.
2. In a saucepan, combine the remaining /34 cup milk and the sugar; bright o a boil, whisking constantly.
3. While whisking the egg mixture, slowly pour 1/3 of the boiling milk into it, to temper the eggs.
4. Return the remaining milk in the saucepan to medium-low heat.
5. Pour the hot egg mixture into the saucepan in a thick stream, whisking, so as to not scramble the eggs.
6. Whisk constantly until the mixture begins to boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla.
7. Pour the pastry cream in a bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surface so it does not form a skin. Cool to room temperature.
8. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Chocolate Pastry Cream: Stir 3 ounces melted semisweet chocolate into the hot pastry cream.
Coffee Pastry Cream: Stir 2 tsp. instant espresso powder into the hot pastry cream.
One of the things that drew me to this recipe is the title. I felt so "french" while making it. :) I was amazed at how easy it is to make, although it is time consuming but with a little bit of help from small hands, it makes the task accomplished faster.

If you are going to try this...I have to warn you that this is not going to help you with your diet, if you are in one. I didn't skimp on the butter because I didn't want to go through all the trouble of making it and be disappointed with the taste if I substituted the butter with margarine. I followed the recipe for the cream puff,making the rounds 1" wide but mine seemed to be smaller than what was expected so next time, I'll make my rounds about 2" wide instead.

The whole family loved this dessert. It takes a while filling up all of the puffs with the cream but it was well worth all the effort!

Thank you for stopping by and if you try this recipe, let me know how it turned out. I'd love to hear of your Pâte à Choux making experience.

Till next time,

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