Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cream Puffs - B-Day Girl Request #1

Ok, so I've never even considered making a cream puff before.  Although, admittedly, I find them absolutely delicious!  So, when one of my besties requested them as her special birthday dessert last weekend, I decided to take on the challenge (with a back-up plan, of course... Lemon Bar recipe to come).  I was a little hesitant, mostly because we were going out salsa dancing and I was nervous they would completely melt before anyone could have a chance to try one! 
I waited as long as I could to assemble them and once assembled, I threw them in the freezer (while my boyfriend and I went out for dinner). As we were heading out the door to make it to the salsa lesson before the party, I put them in a carrier with an ice pack, topped a few with toothpicks so the foil wasn't smooshing the chocolate glaze too terribly, and hoped for the best! The chocolate got a little smooshed, but not too bad and no one seemed to mind anyhow!
I didn't have a recipe on hand (I don't have many dessert or baking recipes in my big binder of recipes at home), so I took to the internet. I found the basic recipe on Joy of Baking's website and used the chocolate glaze from a different recipe I found on Cooks.com.  Yummy in the tummy!
Cream Puffs with Whipped Cream and Chocolate Glaze
Makes 12 small puffs
194 Cal, 14 g fat, 16 g carbs, 2.4 g protein, 68 mg sodium, 77 mg chol, 19% Vit A, 2% Calcium, 4% Iron

Choux Pastry:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon granulated white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup water
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Whipped Cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated white sugar, or to taste

Chocolate Glaze:
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
1/2 cup water
1 (1 oz) square unsweetened chocolate
Dash salt
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Choux Pastry:
1. Preheat oven to 400° F and place rack in center of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly butter or spray the pan with a non-stick vegetable spray.
2. In a small bowl, sift (or whisk) together the flour, sugar and salt.
3. Place the butter and water in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil. (Make sure that the butter melts before the water boils to reduce the amount of evaporation.) Remove from heat and add the flour mixture, all at once, and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Return saucepan to the heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about 1-2 minutes).
4. Transfer the dough to your electric mixer (or hand mixer) and beat on low speed to release the steam from the dough (about a minute). Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the lightly beaten eggs (dough will separate and then come together) and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste (dough will fall from a spoon in a thick ribbon, this will take several minutes).
5. Spoon or pipe 12 small mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, spacing about 2 inches apart.
6. With a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the dough with a lightly beaten egg (you can probably skip this step if you're planning on using the chocolate glaze, the glaze will cover up the nice shiny shell top anyhow - but it made for nice pictures).
7. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350° F. Continue to bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes or until the shells are a nice amber color.
8. Turn the oven off, poke a couple of holes in each puff and, with the oven door slightly ajar, let the shells completely cool (and dry out).

Whipped Cream:
1. In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine.
2. Cover and chill the bowl and whisk in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes.
3. When chilled, whip the cream just until stiff peaks form (this took several minutes).

Chocolate Glaze:
1. In a saucepan, combine sugar and cornstarch. Add water, chocolate, and a dash of salt. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly, several minutes.
2. Remove from heat; stir in butter and vanilla. Cool to warm.

To Assemble:
1. Split the pastry shells in half with a sharp knife (should be completely dry inside).
2. Place the tops of the shells on a rack and spoon chocolate glaze over the top (I did this as a separate step to avoid melting the whipped cream by spooning over the top of the assembled shells).
3. Fill (or pipe) the shell bottoms with the prepared whipped cream.
4. Place the top half of the pastry shell on the whipped cream and refrigerate to keep cool. Enjoy cream puffs the same day you assemble (they become soggy on standing).

No comments: