cream puffs cooking with cocktail rings

Cream Puffs

This recipe for cream puffs is especially meaningful because my aunt’s grandmother would always make them for me. We weren’t even blood relatives yet every Christmas Eve she would bring a whole plate of them just for me because she knew they were my favorite. When she passed away I found her recipe and knew I had to recreate them. Now I plan on continuing the tradition and making them every Christmas as well.

Choux pastry, the dough used to make the cream puffs, relies on rising steam to create a hollow center that will be filled with a cream filling. You start by baking the pastries at a high heat to help them rise and puff up, then lower the heat slightly to give them a golden brown color. You then lower the heat once more to finish the baking process and cook them through. It is important that you don’t open the oven door while they are cooking so they don’t deflate.

 

Ingredients:

For the choux pastry:

½ cup shortening

½ teaspoon table salt

1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted

4 eggs

 

For the cream filling:

3 cups heavy whipping cream

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

 

Instructions:

For the choux pastry:

Heat oven to 450ºF.

In a small saucepan bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Whisk in the shortening and table salt. Whisk in the flour then stir with a wooden spoon until a ball forms and the dough dries out slightly, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and let cool slightly then move to the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add the eggs, one at a time, until the dough becomes thick. Drop the dough in 2-inch balls onto a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 375º and bake for an additional 12 to 15 minutes. Lower the heat once more to 300º and bake for an additional 15 minutes to dry out the puffs.

Remove the puffs from the oven to a cooling rack. Poke each with a toothpick to release any remaining steam to keep them from getting soggy on the inside. Let cool completely.

 

For the cream filling:

Chill a the bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment. Add the cream, vanilla and sugar to the bowl and beat on high until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.  

 

For assembly:

Split the cream puffs in half horizontally. Use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe the filling into the center of each cream puff just before serving. Serve immediately garnished with a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.

 

Makes 1½ dozen.  

 

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