Friday, December 12, 2008

Cream Puffs

Cream Puffs are really not that hard to make(unless you're making 180 of them to give away at Christmas-not really a good idea), but they make an impressive dessert. One recipe will make 25-30 small puffs.
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
You can use any filling you'd like, but this is my favorite:
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
1 teaspoon almond extract
4 TBS butter
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 heaping Tablespoons cocoa
2 Tablespoons milk
To make filling: Prepare pudding according to instructions on package, but use only 1 1/4 cups milk. Fold in whipped cream, and 1 teaspoon almond extract. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. It should look similar to this:

Let it cool for 5 minutes. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. When it's mixed enough, if should look like this:

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto a very lightly greased baking sheet. I like to use a Tablespoon size cookie scoop. I can fit 20 onto a cookie sheet like this:

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry. Make sure not to under cook or they will fall. They should be a nice golden brown and look like this:

Immediately poke sides with a toothpick or a sharp knife to let the steam escape. Move to wire rack. When the shells are cool, carefully cut off the tops with a sharp bread or slicing knife. You can pull out any of the web like stuff inside if you prefer (this makes them easier to fill) and spoon the pudding mixture into them.
To make Glaze, melt the butter, then mix in the rest of the ingredients. Stir until smooth. Let it cool some, so it's not so runny, then spoon some on top of each cream puff.

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