Food memories. Do you have them? Do they stick out for you the way they do for me? I remember things, on many occasions in terms of taste and smell. A Little Debbie Nutty Bar can bring me back to my grandpas basement, where my brother and I played and ate as many Nutty Bars as we could get away with. There was a Blatz beer sign on the wall and some tool in the back room that my brother and I were convinced was an anvil. Pretty sure we watched a lot of looney toons and tiny toons at that point.I can’t remember when I had my first cream puff. I remember my mom always talking about her sister making them on the farm, and eating them at the state fair. I always loved cream puffs. Heck I always loved cream. I was that kid, who upon eating at a restaurant, would promptly down all of the little creamers on the table. I remember as an adult, going to the state fair with my mom and aunt and waiting in long lines for cream puffs.
Now that I’m all fancy with the baking, making cream puffs is something I’ve done over and over. And here’s a secret: cream puffs are easy! They are one of the easiest desserts to make, and they look so difficult. And the pastry? It’s called Pâté a Choux. It’s french and is harder to pronounce then it is to make. It’s a basic profiterole pastry. It’s super versatile. Add some sharp cheddar and chives and you have savory cheese puffs.It’s as simple as this, butter meet milk and salt. Melt and get hot. Add flour and stir, stir, stir. Beat to cool off, eggs in one at a time. Pipe and bake. The eggs do all of the hard work. Cream gets beaten, fill and boom. Cream puffs. E A S Y.
Mini Cream Puffs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup(1 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch of salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 tablespoons confections sugar, plus more for dusting
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine milk, butter and salt. Heat until butter is melted and it just begins to simmer. Add flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon. Dough will come away from the sides of the pan. Transfer dough to a mixer or food processor and beat until slightly cooled. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Transfer dough to a piping bag with no tip(you can use a ziplock bag if you don’t have one) and pipe balls approximately 1 inch high and 1 1/2 inches wide. Wet your finger and tuck in the swirl at the top of each puff. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until tops are golden brown and puffs sound hollow(hint: if they deflate when you remove them from the oven, they’re not done). Cool completely. Cut each puff in half.
3. Using the whisk attachment beat cream on high until soft peaks form. Add in vanilla and confectioners sugar. Beat on high until stiff peaks form. Pipe or spoon into puffs. Dust with more confectioners sugar. Serve immediately.