Recipe - Cream Puffs (Guest Post)

I'm still away for the weekend (durh, it's the weekend), so please enjoy this guest post from my friend Andrew. He apologized and said his only camera was the one on his phone, but I'm sure they tasted better than any camera could capture. Thank you for writing up a spectacularly delicious post for me!

Cream puffs (more correctly, profiteroles) are tastefully crafted delicacies that are buttery on the
outside and creamy on the inside. They can be purchased in dessert stores for $2 each, or even more if
specially decorated or filled. Because of the high amounts of butter and sugar in each, these delicious
treats should be eaten in moderation, especially if you make them as big as I did. I ate three of them
and felt fat afterward, but I couldn't resist. The main characteristic of the puffs is the pâte à choux
(“cabbage pastry”), which is a light pastry dough that rises with steam instead of carbon dioxide and
sort of resembles cabbage when baked. The same pastry is used to make eclairs and funnel cake. This
recipe yields 16 puffs but you can easily half or double the ingredients to your liking.

Step 1: Ingredients (yields 16 cream puffs)

Pâte à choux
• 1 cup water
• 1/2 cup margarine or butter
• 2 tsps salt
• 1 cup all-purpose flour
• 4 eggs

Filling and topping
• 1 cup whipping cream
• 1 pkg. instant vanilla pudding mix
• 1/3 cup milk
• 10 mL icing sugar (or to taste)
• chocolate syrup (to taste)

Step 2: Boiling the water and margarine
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small saucepan, combine the water and margarine
and heat on high until it reaches a rolling boil, when the margarine has melted and there are many
bubbles vigorously floating to the top of the pan. Turn the heat off but leave the pan on the element if
you're using an electric stove.

Step 3: Stirring in the flour and salt
Add the flour and salt to the mixture and stir it like crazy! This has to be done fast so that the water is
soaked up evenly by all the flour granules. After a minute or so of stirring, it should look consistent,
and the mixture will become a dough that starts to leave the sides of the pan and gather around the
spoon. Remove from heat and let cool. It has to be cold enough for you to be able to stick your finger in
the dough for five seconds without wincing. Do not forget this step!

Step 4: Adding the eggs and preparing the pan
When the dough has cooled, add the eggs one at a time, stirring until smooth after each. Beat the
mixture until it looks glossy. If the dough isn't cool enough, it will actually cook the egg, preventing the
puffs from rising. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. You can place a spot of dough under
each corner of the parchment to hold the paper to the pan. Using two teaspoons, spoon the dough onto
the baking sheet in the shape of ping pong balls, leaving about 2 inches between each. Try to make the
exterior shape as even as you can, patting down any dimples with fingers wet with warm water because
they will triple in size upon baking.

Step 5: Baking the puffs
Stagger the baking sheets on the upper and lower middle racks of the preheated oven, close the door,
and leave it closed for 20 minutes: no peeking allowed! This is because when the door is opened, the
steam needed to make the puffs rise has a chance to escape, and the puffs will stay flat. They should
be done in 20 minutes, but they may take a little longer, so use an oven light to judge, or if you don't
have one, then be quick about opening the door while you sneak a peek. The puffs should have tripled
in size, so if you started with a ping pong ball, you should have something slightly smaller than a tennis

Step 6: Making the filling
The filling I used was vanilla flavored, but you can use any flavor you wish. In fact, you don't even
have to use this pudding-based cream as the filling (more on that later). In a large liquid measure,
measure whipping cream and beat with an electric mixer (low speed) for 1 minute. Transfer to a mixing
bowl, add pudding mix and milk and beat for another minute. Wait a couple of minutes to let it thicken.

Step 7: Preparing the puffs for filling
When the puffs are done, remove them from the oven, and immediately slash a horizontal vent in the
upper half of each puff. This is to prevent the steam from condensing into water and making the crisp
dough soggy, causing the puff to collapse. Working from your original cut, cut off the top of each puff.
You should leave a hinge so your puff stays in one piece, but it doesn't matter too much. With a fork,
remove any egg filling that may have collected inside. You can eat it if you want, but it's pretty bland.
Place them onto a cooling rack on top of the baking sheet.

Step 8: Filling and completion
In the cavity of each puff, spoon in a generous amount of your filling of choice and cap. In this recipe,
I made filling based on instant pudding, but you can use ice cream, custard, or even chicken salad if
you want something savory. Place the icing sugar in a sieve and dust sugary deliciousness all over your
puffs. Then, as if they weren't fattening enough, drizzle as much chocolate syrup as you want over that.