Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Recipe: Cream Puffs with Mocha Pudding Filling

My mom owned a cookie press thingy for as long as I can remember. Not too long ago, she gave it to me. It came with a bunch of different tips for both cookie shapes and for forming pastry or meringue. Some of the cookie tips can be used for cake decorating with frosting. It's like a pastry bag, really, except that it's an aluminum cannister with a top that screws down to press out the batter or dough.

I've always wanted to try making cream puffs or eclairs, and today wasn't too hot or humid, so I gave it a whirl.

Basic Cream Puff Dough

Yield: about 20 smallish cream puffs
Time: 20 minutes prep; 15 minutes at 450F, and 20 more at 325F

  • 1 c. boiling water
  • 1/4 lb. (1 stick) of butter
  • 1 c. flour
  • 4 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  1. melt the butter into the boiling water
  2. stir in the flour, a little at a time, until it pulls away from the sides of the pot
  3. let it cool
  4. mix in the eggs, one at a time, thoroughly incorporating each, and mix in the pinch of salt
  5. form the cream puffs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat
  6. bake at 450F for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 350F and continue to bake another 20 minutes
  7. Let them cool
  8. slice a slit in the side, and fill them

Mocha Pudding Filling

Yield: 8 servings as pudding, or enough to fill the 18-20 cream puffs.
Time: 15 minutes prep; 30-35 minutes at 350F (in a bain marie) or on the stovetop (in a double boiler)

  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. strong coffee, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbs. melted butter
  • 1-1/2 c. flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 4-1/2 Tbs. cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 Tbs. of vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • a little milk to thin it out at the very end
  1. whisk the egg until light and fluffy
  2. slowly whisk in the sugar
  3. stir in the coffee
  4. stir together the cocoa powder and oil (or melt 1-1/2 squares of baker's chocolate -- 1.5 oz), and stir it into the wet ingredients
  5. sift together the dry ingredients
  6. whisk the dry ingredients to the wet ones, a little at a time, so the flour doesn't clump
  7. stir in the vanilla
  8. pour into a baking/casserole dish and bake in a bain marie at 350F for half an hour; alternatively, let it cook in a double boiler on the stovetop on low for half an hour until it thickens
  9. let it cool
  10. for plain old pudding, stop; for filling the cream puffs, you may need to thin the pudding with a little milk to get the right consistency for piping or spooning into the pastry
  11. optional: dip the tops of the cream puffs in chocolate ganache, or spoon on a little whipped cream
Notes: For a lighter filling, fold some whipped cream into the pudding. My cream puffs came out about 3" across, and not really as puffy high as I expected, but they had a nice hole in the center for the filling. Maybe it was more hot and humid than I thought, although it didn't seem too bad today. Maybe I should have chilled the dough a little before I piped it onto the parchment paper. Still, for a first attempt, I could have done a lot worse. As you can see, I didn't bother with anything on top of them.

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