One of our favorite desserts growing up was Mom’s cream puffs. She used to have us help make the “puffs,” or paté choux . We’d also make the filling – Jello Vanilla Pudding (not instant). When she started catering in the early ’80’s, she changed the filling and began making the pastry cream that made her a “hit” as Mrs. T Catering at the Old Dana Point Cafe and Wine Bar. The pastry cream recipe was in my 5/03/12 post called “Mom’s Homemade Pastry Cream.”
My good friend is giving a bridal shower this weekend, doing a traditional English tea menu. Included was making paté choux mini puffs which she will fill with curried egg salad. We made them together, then I took the odd sized ones for a luncheon I was doing…they are so easy to make. In the past, we used a wooden spoon and mixed each egg in by hand, now I use a Kitchenaide stand mixer. Either works well….old fashioned elbow grease or electric mixer.
These are always a hit and can be filled with sweet or savory fillings. The filled puffs look unique and inviting. We prepare the puffs days in advance, freeze them, thaw in the fridge the morning you plan to use them. Fill each puff a few hours before serving, the filling softly and lusciously melds into the eggy pastry.
Here’s the recipe we use:
Paté Choux Puffs: Makes approximately 40 petite puffs, using a teaspoon-sized scoop.
PREP TIME: 20 minutes TOTAL TIME: 35 minutes (includes baking time)
Preheat oven to 425˚F.
¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup filtered water
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
4 large whole eggs
In a medium saucepan, combine butter, sugar, salt, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and immediately remove from heat.
Using a wooden spoon, quickly stir in the flour until combined. Return pan to medium-high heat, and cook, stirring vigorously, until mixture pulls away from the sides in a solid mass and forms a ball, about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat. With a wooden spoon add 4 eggs, one egg at a time. Beat each egg into the mixture until smooth, then add the next one or use a mixer.
Transfer mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until slightly cooled, about 1 minute.
Drop batter by teaspoonful 1” apart onto a greased or Silpat ® lined baking sheet; or if piping, transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted only with a ½” tip. Hold the tip of the bag about 1” above the baking sheet, pipe the dough onto the prepared pans, forming mounds ½“ diameter and ½” high, placing each mound about 1” apart.
Dampen your finger and round off the top of each puff.
Bake at 425˚F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350˚F for 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. The puffs should be firm on the outside and not too doughy on the inside.
Cool the puffs on a wire rack. They can be frozen for up to three weeks.