Thursday, January 12, 2012

Ooo La, La... Cream Puffs

I can not believe cream puffs, such a decadent looking and scrumptious dessert are so easy to make!  I just have to share with everyone!

On Sunday, Skyler asked me if I could make dessert for a luncheon at school.  He is usually assigned to bring the dessert because I actually like to make desserts and usually don't buy the kiddie cupcakes at Wal-mart!  He needed the dessert on Tuesday, so I had several days to think about what I was going to do but I didn't need to think long about it, I already knew what I wanted to do...  a Cream Puff Tower!

I saw the idea some where... now where was it???  I started combing through all my recent issues of various magazines that I subscribe to.  I look and look... and look and look... and look some more.  I start to panic, because I am so obsessed with the idea of the cream puff tower that nothing else will suffice!  After I had combed through about 12 magazines, I needed to take a break.

I picked up my Kindle, my new play toy that I absolutely love.  Love, love, love!  I love my Kindle!  I am scanning through the carousel, which is kind of like your book shelf.  It shows all that you have on your Kindle when all of the sudden I spy a Country Woman magazine that I had downloaded.  "That's it!" I scream!  Gleefully I start flipping through the pages of the magazine.  I know it has to be in here some where.  And it was.  Oh happy day!

They sounded almost too easy to make.  I posted on Facebook that I was going to try my first attempt at making cream puffs.  One friend had commented that the only kind she has ever seen were the frozen ones from the grocery store.  I was in this same category and I love those little balls of fluff and often buy them.  A few other friends, including my mother-in-law assured me they were easy and a few offered to be taste-testers.

Well, I sure hoped they were easy and turned out, because I did not have a back-up plan and the dessert needed to be delivered to the school in less than 3 hours.  I actually used two recipes... the original one I am posting below and the one from my vintage Better Homes & Gardens (red checked) cookbook.  I was just using the BH&G cookbook as a reference.  I trust the BH&G cookbook and wanted to make sure I was doing it the way they said to.  The BH&G cookbook also has pictures.  I like pictures!

So with both cookbooks, I felt prepared.  I followed the ingredients from the Country Woman recipe, but tried to follow the mixing technique from the BH&G recipe.  The BH&G recipe told me to stir the batter with a wooden spoon, but let me tell you...  that wasn't going to happen!  After stirring the first egg in with a wooden spoon, the batter was a globby, stiff mess and I was running out of breath with 4 more eggs to go.  I abandoned this idea and threw the batter in my Kitchenaid mixer and let it do the work.  Don't try to stir with the wooden spoon...

I got the batter done, it was so easy once I switched to the mixer, and dropped the batter onto the greased baking sheet just as the recipe said.  Oh, and I also tasted the batter and it tasted like ...flour and eggs, not very pleasurable on the palate.  I was thinking...  shouldn't there be sugar or something in this batter to make it taste good?  Oh well, into the over my little puffs went and the timer was sent for 20 minutes.

I looked after about 5 minutes and my little puffs still looked like dumpy little blobs of batter.  I was a little concerned, but had faith that they would "puff."  After 25 minutes they were golden brown little puffs!!  I removed them and cut the small slit in them for the steam to escape.  I needed about 60 puffs, so I had to make two batches of them which made about 80 puffs.

The Country Woman magazine said to fill them with creme de menthe flavored whipped cream.  I didn't really think I needed to serve creme de menthe whipped cream at school, so I decided to fill half of them with white chocolate pudding (just the box kind) and the other half with caramel flavored whipped cream.  For the caramel flavored whipped cream I just added a little caramel flavored syrup (the kind you put in coffee drinks) to the whipped cream.  Easy peesy!

I assembled the tower as per the recipe and drizzled it with chocolate glaze!  I must say it was a success!  You should try it if you ever need a fancy-smacy dessert sometime!

Cream Puff Tree

1-1/4 cups water
2/3 cup butter, cubed
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
5 eggs

2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup green creme de menthe

1/3 cup butter, cubed
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 to 6 Tbsp. hot water
Additional confectioners' sugar, optional

1.  In a large saucepan, bring water and butter to a boil.  Add flour all at once and stir until smooth ball forms.  Remove from the heat, let stand for 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Continue beating until mixture is smooth and shiny.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls 2 in. apart onto greased baking sheets.

2. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to wire racks.  Cut a small slit in the side of each puff to allow steam to escape.  Cool puffs.

3. For filling, in a large bowl, beat cream until soft peaks form.  Fold in creme de menthe.  Pipe about 1 Tbsp. into each puff.  Refrigerate for up to 2 hours.

4.  For glaze, in a small saucepan, combine butter and chocolate.  Cook and stir over low heat until melted.  Remove from the heat.  Stir in the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough water to make desired consistency for dipping.

5. To assemble tree:  Separate puffs according to size and shape, choosing the flattest ones for the bottom layer and the smallest ones for the top.  For bottom layer, dip the bottoms of the 21 flattest puffs into glaze.  Place on a 10-in. round serving platter, forming a solid circle.

6.  For the second layer, dip glaze on the bottoms of 15 puffs, them position on base layer.  Continue building the tree, using about 11 puffs in third layer, about six puffs in fourth layer, about four puffs in the fifth layer and one puff on top.

7.  Drizzle remaining glaze over tree, thinning with hot water if necessary.

8.  Loosely cover tree with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 hours.  Just before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar if desired.

And last but not least...  ENJOY!

No comments:

Post a Comment