Don’t be Intimidated!

 

Whether you call it a profiterole, cream puff  or choux à la crème, this sweet treat recipe is easy to make and does not take a chef to make them at home. This is also the same recipe you use to make Eclairs, just oblong instead of a ball shape. All you need to do is get yourself a pastry bag without any tip at all, and pipe out 7-8 inch long hot dog-like strips of dough onto the baking sheet when making eclairs. When cooled, put a round tip on the pastry bag and pipe in whatever filling you want by puncturing one end of the eclair, filling as much as you can, puncturing the opposite end and doing the same.
If you don’t have a pastry bag, split the eclair in half horizontally and fill accordingly. Put the top back on and pour warm….excuse me while I mop up my drool….melted fudge over the top. But let’s start with the simpler preparation.

Cream Puffs

1/2 c. butter or margarine
1 c. boiling water
1 c.  flour
1/4 t. salt
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Put butter and water in small saucepan; stir over high heat until melted and liquid is boiling rapidly. Add flour and salt all at once and remove from heat. Stir the mixture very briskly with a strong, long handled spoon.* The sides should come away from the sides.  Break 1 egg into the paste; beat fast until smooth and fluffy. Repeat until all the eggs are used.
Drop by whatever size you want (1/4 c.) onto ungreased cookie sheet 3 inches apart. A spring-loaded ice cream scoop is best for dropping the batter onto the baking pan. Bake until puffed and golden 35-40 minutes. Cool and cut off tops and fill with filling or ice cream.

*This part of the recipe is best accomplished with a paddle and a mixer. Simpler add your boiling water/butter mixture into the bowl and add the flour/salt mixture at once. Turing on slow first, then increasing the speed as the flour is incorporated into the water. Add eggs, one at a time while mixer is on, until all eggs are well blended into the puff dough.

2 1/4 c. milk
4  egg yolks
2/3 c. sugar
1/4 c. cornstarch
1/4 c. flour
2 T. vanilla
1/8 t. salt
2/3 c. heavy cream or whipping cream

In 3-quart saucepan, heat 2 cups milk to scalding over high heat. Meanwhile, in large bowl, with wire whisk, beat egg yolks, sugar, and remaining 1/4 c. milk until smooth; whisk in cornstarch and flour until combined. Gradually whisk hot milk into egg-yolk mixture.
Return mixture to saucepan, cook over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and starts to boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook 2 minutes, again whisking constantly.
Remove saucepan from heat; stir in vanilla and salt. Pour pastry cream into bowl. Press plastic wrap onto surface of pastry cream to keep skin from forming as it cools. Refrigerate 2 hours or until cold, or overnight.
When ready to use, with mixer at medium speed, beat cream just until stiff peaks form. With wire whisk, beat pastry cream to loosen. Whisk half of whipped cream into pastry cream, then with rubber spatula, fold in remaining whipped cream.

Many restaurants will ladle some warmed Chocolate Fudge over the top and let this cool until semi-firm. This is indeed a treat, a messy treat, but none-the-less, well worth cleaning up after.

Want something a littler simpler to fill you Cream Puffs? Grab some premade Vanilla Pudding(or make your own with instant pudding mix) and fill the Puffs with it along with some Chocolate Whipped Cream.

Chocolate Whipped Cream

2 c. cold heavy cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 c. chocolate chips

Beat the cream in a medium bowl with an electric mixer or a whisk, until it begins to hold a loose peak. Sift the sugar into the cream. Continue beating until the cream holds a firm but still soft peak. Set aside.

Put the chocolate in a clean, medium, microwaveable bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave at 30 second intervals, until softened and warm. Whisk until smooth and liquid.

Fold about 1/2 c. of the whipped cream into the warm chocolate to lighten it. Add the lightened chocolate mixture back to the remaining whipped cream, folding until completely blended. Store in an airtight container until ready to use. It’s best used the same day it is prepared.