I love cream puffs.
I've always loved cream puffs, and if you've never made these amazingly delicious stuffed egg pastries, you're in for a surprise:
I'm not kidding, I'm totally serious, it's a one-two-three kind of production. The only thing that takes time is stuffing the little suckers, but think of the finger lickin' good possibilities there!
Basically, you make cream puffs in three steps:
Make the puffs
Make the filling
Fill the puffs.
Now here's a fun tip: The puffs can be made and frozen well ahead of time. They don't lose a bit of quality when defrosted, as long as they're securely wrapped. That's the fun of a "dry" pastry, they freeze beautifully.
Filling can be made the day ahead and chilled. Cream puffs are best if they're put together fresh, but if you need to do them the day ahead, go ahead. BUT HIDE THEM!!!! YOU MUST PUT THEM INCOGNITO IN SOME CONTAINER THAT LOOKS LIKE IT SHOULD HAVE RAW CHICKEN OR SOMETHING OR THEY'LL FIND THOSE PUFFS AND EAT THEM!!!!
Egg puffs: (heat oven to 400°)
1 cup water
1 cup flour
Bring water and butter to a boil.
Stir in flour quickly. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat with spoon until smooth and shiny. Drop by small spoons full onto ungreased baking sheet for small puffs. Bake at 400 until dry and golden-looking, about 35 minutes for large puffs and 20 - 25 for small puffs.
OR..... Drop by larger, 1/4 cup size for large, bakery-style cream puffs.
I do the small ones (two-bites) because my family thinks if you eat 6 little ones, it's way better for you than ONE BIG ONE...
Cool completely and either freeze or store in air-tight container. (Puffs keep well).
Whipped cream filling:
(this is a NO BRAINER)
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup sugar
Beat whipping cream and sugar on high until whipped cream is stiff... Stop before it turns to butter!!!!
2 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
Melt butter. Mix sugar and corn starch together, add to butter in saucepan.
2 cups milk
2 egg yolks
Whisk together and heat to boiling over medium heat. Boil and stir one minute. Remove from heat, stir in two teaspoons vanilla. Cool completely. (If you don't like "skin" on your pudding, lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding. This prevents the "fat" from rising and forming the skin... Now I love "skin", it's a favorite!!! But I'm weird.
To fill cream puffs, you can either use a pastry tube, fill the bag, insert tube in side of puff and squeeze gently to fill puff.
You can slice the top off the puff, remove any pastry filaments inside, and stuff with whipped cream or pudding/custard.
GRATUITOUS FINN VIDEO!!!!!
Okay, BACK TO CREAM PUFFS.
Except you really should admire our ocean:
We now have assorted shells, a pod of Orca Whales, SPARKLE FISH!!!, and in our science books we have seahorses and sea urchins.
And did you know you can BUY SEAHORSES for $125 and up from a Seahorse Farm in Hawaii????
Think of that, a farm you can fit in your garage! AWESOME!!!!!
Now here's the things, (really back to cream puffs this time) these are habit forming. And they're delicious. These could become a NATIONAL PASTTIME because they're that amazing.
I make them for holidays or family parties, showers, etc.... It's one of those things that if you've got the puffs in the freezer, all you have to do is make pudding.... or whipped cream... stuff and go!
You can top them with whipped cream (I think that's weird beyond words, but I've found people do that, Mary Connealy is one of them, and of course she's an odd little duck, but I want to make her feel good about herself. That's what friends are for....)
OR... you can sift confectioners (10X, powdered, a sugar by any other name is still a sugar!) over puffs.
OR (and this is our way) you make Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Frosting and use that on top of the puff:
Hershey's Perfect Chocolate Frosting
1/2 cup butter, melted
2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
(Hershey's doesn't call for the salt, but I find it makes the recipe better)
Melt butter in 3 quart saucepan. Mix in cocoa, salt, powdered sugar and milk. Whisk until smooth and let cool.
ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS FROSTING THAT TAKES MAYBE 5 MINUTES TO MAKE.
And worth every moment, LOL!
Oh, man. HUNGRY.......