Monday, June 28, 2010

Schmancy looking super simple cream puffs

I love these things - they're eggy and rich and light and fluffy all at once - similar to pop-overs which I fully intend to try sometime very soon...

The shells are awesome, you can fill them with all manner of things, I'm going to put a huge scoop of coconut ice cream in them tomorrow for my friend Sophie at work.  She's skinny.  I'm trying to fix that.  Against her will maybe...

Anyhow malicious intent aside, you can fill these with all manner of things - whipped cream and sliced fruit for example, custard if you're feeling fancy, whipped cream for a light treat, ice cream for a cold treat, etc.

To make the puff shells;

Oven to 400 degrees

1 cup of water
1/2 cup of butter (4 oz)
1 cup of flour
about 1/4 tsp. of salt (I use a smidge less.  Dr.'s orders.)
4 large eggs

combine the flour and salt and set aside

in a fair sized pot boil the water, add the butter and melt it down completely, turn the heat down to medium
Add all the flour at once and stir until fully incorporated, and the dough comes away from the sides of the pot - it will still be a little sticky but it should come off the sides relatively cleanly.

Now you're going to start adding the eggs - one at a time.  Upon adding each egg, you'll find the dough gets a little gloopy - keep blending until the dough is smooth again, then repeat one egg at a time until all four are incorporated.  The dough will start to look like this;

Now spoon the dough onto a lightly greased cookie sheet (or a silpat if you are like me and never want to scrape caramelized anything off your bakeware).  I find that this recipe makes about 12 large puffs, you could certainly make them smaller, just keep in mind that they expand when they bake so you need to leave space between them.

Now pop them in the oven - they'll puff and turn golden brown and crisp on the outside in about 15 to 20 min - individual ovens vary so keep an eye on them.  Try to avoid opening the oven though, the puffs can deflate if the oven temp changes too much - peek thru the window on the oven to check and see if they're done;

When they're done, pull them out of the oven and let them cool - now you can either enjoy them just like this - slice them in half stuff them with your favorite filling!

If you want to show off a little you can dip them in chocolate as well.  Melt a bowl of chocolae in the microwave, and gently dip and twist the top of the puff into the melted chocolate.  I dipped about half of them in coconut;

The shells themselves aren't sweet, so you could in theory make a savory puff from these as well - perhaps a filling of salmon with a touch of hollandaise sauce, or a nice tuna salad with celery for texture?
Use your imagination!!

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