Featured Recipe: Cream Puffs Makes: 8 large cream puffs Cream Puff Dough
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus 1 teaspoon
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, sliced
1 1/4 cups flour
8 eggs, or more as needed Whipped Cream Filling
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
To make the cream puffs, in a saucepan, combine the water, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, and the butter and bring to a simmer over high heat until the butter melts. As soon as a simmer is reached, add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture forms a cohesive mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan, leaving a white film of flour on the pan sides.
Transfer the dough to a bowl and stir it around for a minute to get it to cool. Work in 7 of the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Check the consistency of the batter by pulling a wooden spoon through it. When the groove it makes slowly closes in on itself, you have added enough eggs.
Preheat the oven to 500°F. Unless you have a nonstick baking sheet or a silicone pad, put a tiny dollop of batter into each corner of a sheet pan and line the pan with a sheet of parchment paper, pressing the corners of the parchment onto the dollops of batter to anchor it in place.
Fit a pastry bag with a 3/4-inch fluted tip and spoon the batter into the bag (see box opposite). If your pastry bag isn’t big enough, you may have to pipe out the cream puffs in two batches.
Pipe eight rounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Each mound should be about 31/2 inches across and 11/2 inches high in the center. Make an egg wash by beating the remaining egg with the remaining teaspoon of salt. Brush the mounds with egg wash.
Slide the baking sheet into the oven and immediately turn down the oven to 400°F. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastries are golden brown. Do not open the oven door during baking. Turn the oven down to 250°F and bake 10 minutes more. If the puffs start to look too brown, turn down the oven to 200°F. Let cool completely on a rack, for at least 20 minutes, before filling.
To make the filling, combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Put the bowl with the cream mixture in the freezer for 5 minutes. Beat on high speed for about 2 minutes or by hand for about 7 minutes, until the cream is stiff and sticks straight out when you hold the whisk sideways.
Use a serrated knife to cut each cream puff in half horizontally. Spoon or pipe the cream into the eight bottoms and put on the tops. Dust with confectioners’ sugar. Cream puffs are best served right away since the cream gradually releases liquid that can make the pastry soggy.
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