Saturday, December 11, 2010

cream puffs with vanilla bean pastry cream.

I present to you... my jumbo cream puffs! Which are about to be brimming with pastry cream. I absolutely love this pate-a-choux recipe by Pierre Herme. It sits firmly in the non-cardboard-tasting category- buttery and tender. The smell itself is worth making this for- I would bottle it and label it Cream Puff No 5.
I made 2/5 of his recipe because I'm sadistic and I love torturing my brain. Nah, just kidding. I just wanted to make a small batch in case I failed, that's all. According to the original, you would have yielded 12 small cream puffs. Instead, I super-sized them and I got 4. I didn't follow the instructions for baking temperatures. I was afraid that 190C might be too low so I baked mine at 210C for 10 minutes before lowering to 190C for 20 minutes. So in total, I baked my jumbo cream puffs for 30 minutes, daring to open the door only past the halfway mark.
Still, they weren't as tall as I would like. Although, I was incredibly happy they didn't fall at all! I should know- I watched the "baking cream puffs" show for half an hour. I would be eternally grateful if anyone can give me tips on how to make a tall, sturdy cream puff! 
I live in a humid country, so just about 2 hours after baking, the shells started to get soft. I think it would be best to re-crisp them before serving if you made them in advance.
I like be extremely liberal with the icing sugar- go powder power!
Lick-your-lippylicious vanilla bean pastry cream I made yesterday! Take note if you used my pastry cream recipe: there's not enough to fill 4 gigantic puffs! I advise you double it.

Pierre Hermé’s Cream Puff Dough
Pâte à Choux via Apple Pie, Patis & Pate


makes 20-24 Éclairs
1/2 cup (125g) whole milk
1/2 cup (125g) water
1 stick (4 ounces; 115g) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (140g) all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature

  1. In a heavy bottomed medium saucepan, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar and salt to the
    boil.
  2. Once the mixture is at a rolling boil, add all of the flour at once, reduce the heat to medium
    and start to stir the mixture vigorously with a wooden spoon. The dough comes together very
    quickly. Do not worry if a slight crust forms at the bottom of the pan, it’s supposed to. You
    need to carry on stirring for a further 2-3 minutes to dry the dough. After this time the dough
    will be very soft and smooth.

Pâte à choux before adding the eggs.
  1. Transfer the dough into a bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or using your
    handmixer or if you still have the energy, continue by hand. Add the eggs one at a time,
    beating after each egg has been added to incorporate it into the dough.
    You will notice that after you have added the first egg, the dough will separate, once again do
    not worry. As you keep working the dough, it will come back all together again by the time you
    have added the third egg. In the end the dough should be thick and shiny and when lifted it
    should fall back into the bowl in a ribbon.
  2. The dough should be still warm. It is now ready to be used for the éclairs as directed above.

Notes:

  • Once the dough is made you need to shape it immediately.
  • You can pipe the dough and the freeze it. Simply pipe the dough onto parchment-lined baking sheets and slide the sheets into the freezer. Once the dough is completely frozen, transfer the piped shapes into freezer bags. They can be kept in the freezer for up to a month.

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