I haven’t met too many men in the ANR world. But the few I’ve met are definitely the type who although masculine and expectedly sexual, are big teddy bears on the inside.
The hundreds of women I’ve profiled all share this sweet, tender affectionate trait, and one thing I think male and female alike have in common: being foodies. My conjecture is that we all enjoy soft, sweet, rich, creamy, delicious and decadent foods.
I remember having a loved one buy me cream puffs for the first time. Immediately they spotted the large tub in the grocery store, they knew I’d like it. They were absolutely right.
That’s how it ought to be with your potential mate. You should know them so well, have such a good grasp on their personal tastes, that you just sense this dripping, creamy, fatty goodness written all over them. For self-explanatory reasons, this “creamy” trait tends to be more pronounced in female ANR fans than in males.
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman:
Cream puffs make me giddy. As I was sitting at my kitchen table eating one yesterday, I actually started laughing with joy. Laughing in disbelief that something so magical and delicious just came out of my kitchen. True story: my husband walked into the kitchen this morning and said, “I was dreaming about those cream puffs.” I’m telling you: they’re literally dreamy.
A cream puff starts with choux (pronounced SHOE) pastry. It sounds foreign and intimidating, but it’s pretty simple to make. Choux pastry is the same batter used to make eclairs. It’s cooked over the stove, then baked in the oven.
Once puffed in the oven, the pastry has a crisp, light shell and a hollow center, perfect for filling with creamy goodness.
Traditionally, cream puffs are filled with sweetened whipped cream. I make mine a little differently. I do like whipped cream—on an ice cream sundae or topping a pie—but I’m not crazy about a big bite of whipped cream on its own.
Here’s where pastry cream comes into play. Pastry cream or crème patissierie (lovingly referred to as “crème pat” if you’re addicted to the Great British Baking Show like I am) is a thick, pudding-like cream that is usually the filling for eclairs.
For the cream puffs, I like to combine pastry cream with sweetened whipped cream. The combination of the two is heavenly. Pipe into a cream puff shell and you have … magic.
First, make the pastry cream. It needs some time to chill before assembly. You’ll cook this on the stove until thickened. There’s some tempering of eggs involved which sounds difficult, but is really just whisking hot milk into the eggs. Don’t let that scare you.
Once the cream is finished cooking, you’ll strain it, add butter (yay!), and place it in the fridge.
While that’s chilling, make the cream puffs.
It all starts with bringing water, butter, and salt to a boil. Vigorously stir in the flour, then return to the heat.
Once smooth, you’ll beat in eggs one at a time. Speaking of the Great British Baking Show, I recently learned a choux pastry trick. When the pastry is perfectly made, the batter will form a V-shape when a spatula is pulled from the bowl. No more wondering if you need one more egg. If it forms a clump rather than a V, your choux needs another egg.
When the choux is ready, place it in a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch tip. Pipe 12 rounds and bake.
The cream puffs stay in the oven for a bit once cooked, a little like making a cheesecake. This will help keep them from deflating.
Before filling, make a simple sweetened whipped cream and fold into the pastry cream. This looks like a lot of cream. Believe it or not, you’ll use almost every bit of it.
Cut the cream puff in half. They should be hollow or just have a few strands of dough running across.
Fill the bottom halves generously with the cream (see the little flecks of vanilla bean in there?) and replace the tops. Dust with powdered sugar. These are best served soon after filling, but can be refrigerated. If serving from the fridge, dust the tops with powdered sugar after taking them out.
Dreamy, creamy, fluffy, puffy cream puffs—I think I love you.
August 27, 2017 0
- PREP TIME:
- 105 Minutes
- COOK TIME:
- 30 Minutes
- 12 Servings
- FOR THE PASTRY CREAM:
- 3 cups Whole Milk, Divided
- 1/4 cup Cornstarch
- 1 Tablespoon Unbleached All-purpose Flour
- 4 Egg Yolks
- 3/4 cups Sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Or Fine Sea Salt
- 1/2 Vanilla Bean
- 4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, Room Temperature
- FOR THE CREAM PUFF SHELLS (CHOUX PASTRY):
- 1 cup Water
- 1/2 cup Unsalted Butter
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher Or Fine Sea Salt
- 1 cup Unbleached All-purpose Flour
- 4 Eggs, Or As Needed
- FOR THE SWEETENED WHIPPED CREAM:
- 3/4 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
- 2 Tablespoons Granulated Sugar
In a large bowl, whisk 1/4 cup milk, cornstarch, flour, and egg yolks. Set aside.
Combine remaining 2 3/4 cups milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add seeds and vanilla pod to the pan. Heat over medium-high heat until boiling. Remove from heat.
Pour the mixture through a fine sieve placed over a bowl. Once the cream has gone through the sieve, stir in the butter until melted and combined.
Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the cream and refrigerate until chilled, several hours. Whisk before using.
For the cream puff shells (choux pastry):
Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan, heat water, butter, and salt until mixture comes to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Remove pan from heat, add flour all at once, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Once all of the flour is incorporated, place the pan back over medium-high heat. Stir continuously for 2–3 minutes until dough is smooth, shiny, and is pulling away from the edges of the pan.
Place dough into a bowl of an electric mixer and let cool for 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl each time. Beat until egg is fully incorporated. After the third egg, the mixture will start to look fluffy when beaten. Before adding the fourth egg, check the batter. Lift a silicone spatula with the batter over the bowl. If the batter hangs off the spatula in a V-shape, there’s no need to add the final egg. If not, add the egg and beat until fluffy.
Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip. Pipe the batter into 12 rounds on the prepared cookie sheet. With a wet finger, tap down any peaks on top.
Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the heat to 350ºF and bake for 15 minutes more. The batter should have risen and puffed. Turn off the oven, crack the door, and let the puffs rest in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the puffs from the oven, gently lift off of the sheet, and place on a wire cooling rack. Pierce the side of each with a paring knife to allow steam to release. Let cool completely before filling.
For the sweetened whipped cream:
Whip the cream until soft peaks form. Add the sugar and continue whipping the cream until stiff peaks form.
To assemble the cream puffs:
Whisk the cooled pastry cream. Fold in the whipped cream until combined. Place cream in a piping bag fitted with a large star tip.
Cut the cream puffs in half. Pipe the cream generously on the bottom half. Place the top half on the cream. Dust with powdered sugar. (Alternately, spoon the cream into the cut shell.)
Best served soon after filling, cream puffs may be stored in the refrigerator. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.