Friday, December 2, 2011

Delicate Cream Puffs

When Aunt Mary pried open the massive tupperware to reveal an army of cream puffs lined up in rows, it was a vision from the past.  It had been ages since I had seen one.  My mom used to make these addictive little desserts when we were kids.  Cream puffs are like my favorite doughnuts, airy French crullers and Bavarian cream, smooshed into one delicate dessert.

The most interesting discovery for me, when making the puffs myself, is that one has to heat the dough on the stovetop.  This recipe is fool-proof since I not-so-brilliantly decided to make them for the first time as a contribution to a  wedding menu and they came out without a hitch.

Next time, I want to add an egg to the cream filling to make it dense and richer.  Enjoy!

Cream Puffs
Adapted from Betty Crocker

1 package (4-serving size) vanilla instant pudding mix
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whipping cream

Mix pudding, milk, sugar and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, whip the cream. Once cream stiffens, fold in the pudding mixture.

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Heat oven to 400ºF.

In a medium saucepan, heat water and butter to rolling boil. Stir in flour; reduce heat to low. Stir vigorously over low heat for about 1 minute or until mixture forms a ball; remove from heat.

Beat in eggs, one at a time; continue beating until smooth.

Spoon dough into a large ziplock bag.  Cut a small triangle from the corner of the bottom of the ziplock bag. On a baking sheet, squeeze out dough in a spiral motion for each puff, about 3 inches apart. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until puffed and golden. Cool away from draft, about 30 minutes.

Cut a slit one-third of the way up from the bottom of each puff shell. Hinge open puff like Pac Man and add a generous dollop of filling. Dust tops with powdered sugar.

Yield: 10 cream puffs

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