I bake year 'round. But, when the temps (and humidity) rise, I move away from macarons and big 'ol cakes in favor of something a little lighter and a bit more refreshing. These bite-sized cream puffs are a great example. Pate A Choux filled with unsweetened whipped cream = cool pastry bliss. And because they're so easy (and low in sugar), you can whip them up for quick dessert any time of year!
Pate A Choux Troubleshooting
Like any pastry, Pate A Choux can sometimes decide to give you trouble. Here are some typical issues and how to resolve them:
Refrain from opening your oven during the cooking time. Doing so will cause your cream puffs to collapse.
Doughy with no interior "pocket":
If your cream puffs are doughy, check to see that your oven temperature is accurate. Pate A Choux likes to be baked at a relatively high temp.
Don't rush the cooking time. Cream puffs should be cracked and golden brown.
Key prep steps:
For perfect Pate A Choux, don't skip these steps
Cook butter, sugar and water until a film forms on the bottom of the pan. This mixture is ONLY ready when a film forms on the pan.
Add eggs one at a time. Fully incorporate each egg so that the dough is sticky, not slick, before adding the next egg.
Silver Dollar Cream Puffs
Makes about 28 mini cream puffs
1/2 Cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 Teaspoon sugar
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 Cup all-purpose flour
5 Large free-range eggs
16oz Heavy whipping cream
Powdered Icing sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar, salt and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil and quickly stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until a film forms on the bottom of the pan.
Remove from heat and transfer contents to a bowl to cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously to entirely incorporate egg after each addition. You've just made Pate A Choux.
For the egg wash, whisk together the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Set aside.
Transfer the Pate A Choux to a large pastry bag fitted with a 5/8" plain round pastry tip. Pipe 1-1/2" rounds onto parchment. Gently smooth the pointed peaks with a moistened finger, rounding tops to ensure even rising.
Brush tops with reserved egg wash. Bake until puffs rise and are golden brown, about 25-30 minutes.
Transfer baking sheets to wire racks and let cool completely.
When ready to serve, prepare whipping cream: Chill the bowl of a stand mixer in the freezer for 10-20 minutes. Transfer bowl to mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high speed until stiff peaks form. About 1 minute.
Transfer whipping cream to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip.
Slice each puff in half and fill with whipping cream.
Gently sift powdered icing sugar on puffs (optional). Serve immediately.
NOTE: Plain, un-filled, puffs can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day or frozen for future use.
Original recipe: Martha Stewart's Classic Cream Puffs