Monday, September 29, 2008

Amelia Bedelia's Cream Puffs

We picked up a collection of Amelia Bedelia stories the other day and we have read through them at least two dozen times! I think they're funny, but I'm quickly growing tired of them!

In the story Come Back, Amelia Bedelia, Amelia Bedelia makes some cream puffs and after having read the story so many times we decided to make our own.
I had never made cream puffs before, so I was a little intimidated. But they weren't hard. I used the recipes for the pâte à choux and the vanilla and chocolate creams (I just added 2T chocolate chips to half of the vanilla cream) from the Joy of Cooking.

The kids helped with making the pastry cream, until it reached the point where it needs to be cooked - then you really need five minutes of uninterrupted time to whisk constantly!
Delia and Joshua enjoying their cream puffs.

Here are the recipes from the Joy of Cooking:

pâte à choux
makes 24 profiteroles, 8 t0 10 large puffs, or 48 miniature eclairs

Position a rack in the lower third of the ovem. Preheat the oven to 400º.
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
Combine in a large saucepan:
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup whole milk (I used 1% with success)
8 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt (I reduced this to 1/4 tsp and added 2 tsp. sugar)

Bring the mixture to a full boil over medium heat. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan. Continue to cook and stir the mixture for about 1 minute, to eliminate excess moisture. The butter may ooze out, which is fine; it simply means that the moisture is evaporating. Transfer to a bowl and let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Beat in 1 at a time by hand, with a wooden spoon, or on low speed with a mixer:
4 large eggs

Make sure the paste dough is smooth before adding the next egg. Beat the dough until it is smooth and shiny. Choux paste can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours. When it is cold, you do not need to bring it to room temperature before shaping.

Scoop the paste into a large pastry bag fitted with a 1 inch tip for large eclairs/puffs or 1/2 inch tip for smaller ones. For best results bake small puffs on ungreased baking sheets, larger puffs on greased and floured baking sheets. Pipe the desired shapes onto your baking sheets, using a finger dipped in cold water to smooth the tops (I just used my medium-sized ice cream scoop for the puffs). If desired, brush with an egg wash, taking care to keep the egg from touching the baking sheet.

Bake in a 400º oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350º and bake for another 15 minutes for small puffs, and 25 to 30 minutes for larger puffs. Bake until golden brown and very firm to the touch. To allow more room for filling, you will want to dry the puffs further. For smaller puffs pop them off the sheets and poke a small hole in the bottom of the puffs, using a skewer or paring knife. Place upside down on the baking sheets and return to the oven(while it is off) for another 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, remove to a cooling rack to finish the cooling. To fill, use the hole that you already poked in, or split in half.

Once baked and filled, choux pastries should be served immediatley, or refrigerated and served within several hours. However, unfilled baked shells can be frozen for up to 1 week in an airtight container.

Vanilla Pastry Cream
1/3 cup sugar
2 TBSP all-purpose flour
2 TBSP cornstarch
4 large egg yolk

Beat in a medium bowl on high speed until thick and pale yellow (about two minutes). Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan:

1 1/3 cups milk

Bring to a simmer.

Gradually pour about one-third of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking to combine. Scrape the egg mixture back into the pan and cook over low to medium heat, whisking constantly and scraping the bottom and corners of the pan to prevent scorching, until the custard is thickened and beginning to bubble. Then continue to cook, whisking, for 45 to 60 seconds. Using a clean spatula, scrape the custard into a clean bowl.

Stir in:

3/4 tsp vanilla

Cover the surface of the custard with a piece of wax or parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming. Let cool, then refrigerate before using. This keeps, refrigerated, for up to two days.


Nisa said...

You four over there, skinny as the day is long are beginning to make me wonder! Donuts, creme puffs, and still you look fab! No fair!

Honey said...

If cream puffs intimidated you, there's NO way I'm going there! I'll just wait to have some of yours. They look great!

Rebecca said...

And I haven't even gotten around to making the donuts yet. Man, my life was good when we were neighbors. Move back my friend, move back!!! :)

Btw, I miss you!!!!