Makes 100 puffs
INGREDIENTS FOR PÂTE À CHOUX
½ cup or 125g of whole milk
½ cup or 125g of water
7 ½ or 110 g of unsalted butter
1 tspn or 5 g of granulated sugar
¼ tspn or 2 g kosher salt
1 cup or 140 g of all purpose flour
4 extra large eggs plus 1 egg beaten separately
1 cup whole milk
2 tb unsalted butter
2 ½ tb granulated sugar
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 tb cornstarch
1 tb cake flour
2.5 tb granulated sugar separately
4 egg yolks
Prep time: 1 hour | Cook time: 45 minutes
This recipe may be done a day in advance to have the crème puffs filled on the second day. It is impossible in our home not to eat all of these right away. Makes 100 Crème Puffs. Let’s get started!
For the puffs, preheat oven to 400°F. Please note that your oven may need to be set higher or lower. Checking your oven temperature is important.
Line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine milk, water, butter, sugar and salt. Stir together with a wooden spoon and bring to a boil. Once the mixture is well mixed together and comes to a full boil, turn off heat to avoid losing any of the moisture. Make sure that there are no lumps of unmelted butter.
Add the sifted flour in one swoop to the milk mixture. Immediately start stirring vigorously. You can use a whisk for the first 30 seconds or so but I prefer to just continue using a wooden spoon. The less washing up in the end the better.
After stirring vigorously for 30 seconds place pan back on medium heat and cook while stirring for about 1 minute. Once a film starts accumulating on the bottom and sides of your pot it is just about ready.
Remove from heat and transfer the dough to the bowl of a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix the dough on medium speed for about 1 minute. This will allow the dough to cool so that you do not scramble the eggs as you are adding them. Turn the speed of the mixer on low and add the eggs one at a time. Add the next egg only when the previous one has been fully incorporated. Once you have added 4 eggs, stop the mixer and scrape the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. This will allow the mixture to be consistent throughout. As you dip the paddle into the mixture let it overhang. The dough, as it is coming off the paddle should form the letter V. If it does not and it is still too stiff, turn the mixer on low speed and add, one tablespoon at a time, the beaten egg checking for the V shape every few tablespoons.
Now you are ready to pipe the choux pastry. If you do not have a pastry bag do not fret. Either take a large plastic sandwich bag and cut a hole in one of the corners or use two spoons to scoop the dough into small rounds. You can also use a very small melon baller.
If you are using a pastry bag, fill it half way and pipe into 1 ¼ inch rounds. Make sure to leave at least ½ inch space between each puff so that they have room to puff up. Brush with egg wash and make a small impression on top of each puff with a fork.
Once you have piped the choux pastry into rounds you can freeze it for up to a month for future use. Freeze in sheet pans uncovered, then transfer to a freezer bag.
Once ready to bake, place sheet pans with the puffs into the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Once the puffs puff up turn the oven down to 325°F and bake for another 25-45 minutes. The cooking time depends on the size of the puffs. Larger puffs need more time in the oven. In the end, the puffs should be golden all around and sound hollow inside when you tap them with your finger. Allow to cool and proceed to filling them.
FOR THE PASTRY CREAM
In a medium sized saucepan, combine milk (leaving about ¼ cup) butter, 2 ½ tb of sugar and vanilla extract. Whisk and bring to a boil.
In a medium bowl whisk together cornstarch, flour and 2 ½ tb of sugar. Add ¼ cup of milk remaining and whisk in the egg yolks. When the milk comes to a boil, whisking vigorously, drizzle in half of the milk into the egg mixture. Strain it back into the remaining half of the milk.
Whisk the mixture again over medium heat. Make sure to whisk all around including the bottom of the pan. The mixture will start to thicken quickly. Remove from heat, whisk for another 1 minute and return back to the heat. Whisk for 1 more minute.
At this point you can either let the pastry cream cool or, if you are in a rush. Transfer it to a plastic wrap lined baking sheet. Cover with another piece of plastic wrap and transfer to the freezer for 15 minutes. If the middle of the baking sheet is cool at the end of the 15 minutes then it is ready for piping. (The pastry cream will stay fresh for 48 hours)
Using a piping bag with a small attachment, pipe the cream puffs with pastry cream. For an additional extravagance dip the finished puffs into caramel and serve.