Wednesday, July 22, 2015

"Boston Cream Pie" Cream Puffs

I had a wild hair to try my hand at Cream puffs the other day. They weren't as hard as people make them sound! I decided to dip the top of mine in ganache like a Boston cream pie... so yummy! I found the recipe for the Cream puff shells and pudding here and followed it pretty much to a tee.... She suggested baking the cream puffs in a muffin tin, which I did. Next time I think I will try just on a cookie sheet on parchment paper... just to see which method I like best. I loved the custard recipe for these.... YUMMO!

"Boston Cream Pie" Cream Puffs
  • Cream Puff Shells
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup butter (1 stick)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • Custard Cream Filling
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups milk, heated to warm
  • 4 egg yolks, beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • Ganache
  • 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp corn syrup (optional)
For the cream puff shells:
Place oven rack one place below middle. Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Set aside a large (12 or more) muffin tin, very lightly buttered. Note: If you can, use a regular aluminum muffin pan, NOT a dark non-stick pan. The puffs will be much bigger with the regular "silver" colored pan. It's worth investing in one of these pans, as you'll be making these again and again.
In a medium sauce pan, bring water and butter to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and add flour, stirring well until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs, one at a time, beating with spoon or large fork until dough is smooth. Beat additional 10 seconds to continue to increase volume of the dough.
Using a tablespoon, drop dough into deep muffin tins. This doesn't have to be an exact measurement, but depending on how big you want your shells to be. Divide all the batter between 12 tins.
Bake shells in 400 degrees F oven for 25 to 35 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. Important that the puffs are golden/crisp or they may collapse. Remove from oven and cool completely.
(The shells can be prepared the day before. Just lightly cover with foil when completely cooled and let sit at room temperature.)
Cook's note: Ingrid just baked the shells on a baking sheet about three inches apart, but my smart aunt decided the muffin tins make a nice shape to hold the cream. Either method works, but Ingrid's way will produce a little flatter shaped shell.
For the custard cream filling:
Place the 4 egg yolks in a medium bowl. Whisk them together and set aside.
Mix sugar, flour and salt in a medium saucepan. Stir in warm milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring almost constantly. Mixture will thicken and bubble. Once it starts to bubble, cook one minute more while still stirring.
Remove from heat. Stir about half of the mixture into beaten egg yolks.
Blend this back into remaining hot mixture in the saucepan. Stir constantly just until mixture begins to bubble again.
Add vanilla and stir until combined. Remove from heat. Set aside.
For the Ganache:
Combine chocolate, cream and corn syrup (if using) in a medium sized, microwave-safe bowl and cook on high just until the cream starts to simmer. Whisk or stir thoroughly until all chocolate has melted and ganache is smooth. Let this set for a few minutes, thickens as it cools.
If you add the corn syrup, your ganache will be slightly glossier when it sets, but it is optional and you don’t need to add it to have a good result.
Assembling the cream puffs:
Cut off shell tops.
Dip the top of puff into prepared ganache. Set back on parchment paper lined cookie sheet to set.
Fill bottom of puff with Custard Cream Filling. 
Replace top of puff. Place puffs in refrigerator, uncovered, chilling for 4 hours (at least one hour).  Puffs can remain in fridge overnight this way.
More notes for preparing ahead of time: 
You may completely assemble cream puffs the night before serving, but do not cover them.
For transporting, place completed cream puffs back into muffin tins, cover lightly with foil and they're ready to go!
Makes between 12 cream puffs if made in muffin tin.

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