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     Choux Pastry for Cream Puffs and Eclairs

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1 cup bread or all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp. salt
4 eggs

In medium saucepan over medium to medium-high heat, bring water and butter to rolling boil. Add flour and salt all at once, stirring vigorously until mixture forms ball, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat. Let rest 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to cool. By hand or with mixer at medium speed, beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating until smooth after each addition. Continue beating, if necessary, until glossy and small quantity of dough stands erect when scooped on end of spoon. For large puffs: Drop dough by scant 1/4 cupsful about 2 to 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. For medium puffs: Drop dough in 2-Tbsp. portions about 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. For small puffs: Drop dough by tablespoonsful about 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake all sizes of puffs in lower half of preheated 425°F oven until lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Then reduce heat to 375°F and continue baking until golden brown and firm, for large puffs, 20 minutes; for medium puffs, 12–15 minutes; and for small puffs, 10–12 minutes. Pierce side of each puff with tip of sharp knife. Cool on wire racks. Makes 1 dozen large-sized puffs or éclairs, about 2 to 3 dozen medium-sized puffs, or about 3-1/2 to 4 dozen small-sized puffs.

To serve puffs: For classically filled puffs, slice off 1/4 to 1/2 inch from tops and pull out any filaments of soft dough. Just before serving, spoon Almond Custard Cream Filling (or other filling, as desired) into each hollow. Replace tops. You may also use uncut puffs by squeezing filling into them. Spoon filling into pastry bag fitted with plain round pastry tip or into plastic condiment bottle with applicator tip. Press tip into each puff and gently squeeze bag or bottle until cream puff is full. For sweet puffs, dust with confectioners’ sugar, drizzle with ice-cream sauce, or spread with Chocolate Glaze, if desired.

Savory puff variations:
• Carrot Herb: After beating in eggs, stir in 1/2 cup shredded carrot, 1-1/2 tsp. chopped chives and 1 tsp. marjoram leaves, crushed. Bake as above.
• Cheddar and Bacon: Omit salt from dough. After beating in eggs, stir in 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup crumbled, crisp-cooked bacon, and 2 tsp. instant minced onion. Bake as above.
• Parmesan: Omit salt from dough. After beating in eggs, stir in 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese and either 2 tsp. oregano leaves, crushed, Italian seasoning, crushed, or pizza seasoning. Bake as above.

For Eclairs: Shape scant 1/4 cupsful of dough into 4 x 1-inch fingers on ungreased baking sheet. Bake and pierce as for large puffs. Cool on wire racks. Cut off tops, pull out any filaments of soft dough, and just before serving fill each eclair with 1/3 cup of the Almond Custard Cream Filling. Replace tops. Spread each eclair with 2 tsp. of the Chocolate Glaze.

Almond Custard Cream Filling

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups milk
4 egg yolks
2 tsp. almond extract

In large saucepan, stir together sugar, cornstarch, and salt. In bowl or liquid measure, stir milk into egg yolks. Gradually stir small amount of milk mixture into dry ingredients, making a smooth paste. Gradually stir in remaining milk mixture until blended. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens and boils. It takes at least 20 to 25 minutes for the mixture to thicken. When large bubbles appear, boil and stir 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in almond extract. Cool quickly by setting pan in bowl of ice or cold water and stirring until steam no longer rises, a few minutes. Cover with plastic wrap. Chill thoroughly. Makes about 4 cups, enough to fill 1 dozen large cream puffs or éclairs.

Chocolate Glaze

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate pieces
2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

In small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly, melt chocolate with water and butter. Beat in sugar until mixture is of spreading consistency. Spread 2 tsp. on each large cream puff or eclair. If glaze hardens, add warm water, a few drops at a time, beating until again of spreading consistency. Makes enough to glaze 1 dozen large cream puffs or eclairs


In one recipe of Choux Pastry for Cream Puffs and Eclairs, substitute seasoned salt for salt. When dough stands erect on spoon, stir in 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded Gruyere or Emmentaler (Swiss) cheese and 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard until well blended. On ungreased baking sheet, drop or squeeze dough in a ring of large puffs, about 8 inches in diameter, leaving center open. Bake as for large puffs (above). For an appetizer, serve hot or cool on wire racks before serving with sliced ham and Dijon mustard. For a main dish, serve hot with a hot, savory creamed dish, such as chicken a la king, chicken paprikash, or creamed turkey. Cut into wedges or allow guests to pull off portions of ring. Makes 1 (8-inch) gougere ring.

Souffle Beignets

To one recipe of Choux Pastry for Cream Puffs and Eclairs, add 1/8 tsp. salt. After all eggs are beaten in, stir in 1 tsp. vanilla. In deep-fat fryer or skillet, heat 3 inches cooking oil to 370°F. In small batches, drop dough by teaspoonsful into hot oil. For even cooking, occasionally turn frying dough with slotted spoon. Fry until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove with tongs or slotted spoon and place on paper towels to drain. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve hot. Makes 12 to 13 dozen souffle beignets.




©2005 Wisconsin Energy Cooperative News