Thursday, April 5, 2012
Cream Puffs or Eclairs
For a long time, I thought making a cream puff (or eclair) must be really hard because I only saw them in bakeries or in the frozen section of the supermarket. And you know, nothing says "hard to make" like finding it in the frosty isles of the WalMarts! A few years later and some looking around and I now know that making the dough for either eclairs of cream puffs is simple. Stupid simple.
Let me show you how you can have cream puffs in 6 easy steps.
Step 1: Melt the butter, water, milk and salt. Bring to a boil and turn down the heat.
Step 2: Add the flour and cook until if forms a ball.
Step 3: Take the dough ball of the heat, and beat in the eggs~ 1 at a time.
Step 4: Pipe onto a greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Step 5: Turn the oven off and let the cream puff/eclair shells cool off in the oven.
Step 6: Fill, chill and enjoy!
To fill the eclairs you have to options, 1) poke a hole in one end with a small, sharp knife large enough to fit a pastry bag or a zip-top bag with the corner cut off or 2) use a pastry bag fitted with a round or shell tip and just jab the metal through the end and fill. Either way works equally as well and I have done it both ways. To fill the cream puffs, just split in half, fill the bottom us and top with the top half.
As far as fillings go, I usually opt for a chocolate or vanilla pudding filling. I make my pudding, cool it, add some whipped cream to lighten it up and fill those babies right up! You could also use pastry cream, flavored whipping cream and in the case of the cream puffs, ice cream. You can leave the tops plain, dust them with powdered sugar or drizzle with chocolate sauce. Or, you can spread some chocolate icing over the tops. Really, whatever tickles your fancy and will fit into the shell is going to be fantastic.
Choux Pasty Dough
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup butter
pinch of salt
1 cup flour
In a saucepan, place the milk, water, butter and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add flour. Cook, stirring constantly, until a ball forms. Remove from heat and beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Spoon dough into a pastry bag or a zip top bag. Nip off the corner or use a pastry tip to pipe your desired shape. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden browned. Prop the door open and leave the shells in the oven, with the oven turned off, to cool completely. Fill with desired filling, chill and enjoy :)