Monday 11 May 2015

Easy Cream Puffs 卡士达泡芙

Not my best work but I will use it in situ. It is not bad per se. The choux pastry or pâte à choux did not fail me. It rose up perfectly, leaving a large cavity, which is a pre-requisite for all good choux pastries. The problem is with my piping. It was hideous. I unashamely blame it on my lack of experience in this area. After all but one piped puffs, I finally figured out what was wrong. Whilst everybody fill the cream from within, I smartly filled mine from outside inching in. Therefore, it does not have that straight regal look but a sloppy cream splatter. Well, I rectified that with my last piece. Isn't it a beauty?

The art to a good cream puff is in its pastry. You need that cavity so that you could fill it with creamy goodness. The key in baking good puffs lies on a very hot oven. It enables moisture to quickly evaporate, expanding the puffs to triple its size in the process. The temperature would then be reduced to cook and crisp up the puffs.

The other component in a cream puff is the filling. The filling has to be creamy and smooth (obviously!). You can fill it with various types of cream but the most commonly used is pastry cream or crème pâtissière (recipe here). If you do not like your cream to be too dense, you could add one part of crème pâtissière to one part of whipped cream. It is really delicious and light but a bit on the soft side. It tends to get soft when left at room temperature for a long time, especially in our scorching weather. You could also try different flavours such as chocolate or strawberry and even durian (really awesome!).

Easy Cream Puffs 卡士达泡芙

Makes 11 puffs


2 eggs (110 g)
60 g plain flour
45 gm salted butter, cut into cubes
90 ml water

1 portion pastry cream (recipe here)

Cooking Instructions

1. Preparation. Preheat oven to 200C. Line baking tray with parchment paper. Sift flour.

2. Boil water and butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. When liquid reaches a rolling boil, add all flour in at once. Remove from heat and quickly stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until you get a smooth dough consistency. Return dough to the heat and continue to stir until you notice a sheen starting to form at the bottom.

3. Remove from heat and let dough rest for one minute. Add in eggs in batches, stirring until dough becomes smooth each time. You should have a smooth paste at the end. The paste should drop at the count of three when lifted and should form a triangle from the residue (see pix).

4. Put paste-like dough into a piping bag and pipe small mounds on the baking tray (alternatively, you could just spoon globs of dough onto tray). Wet your fingers and press on the tip of the mounds to get a fuller round. Spray mounds with water.

5. Bake in the oven at 200C for 15 minutes. Lower temperature to 170C and bake for another 20-25 minutes. If you want your puffs to be more brown, leave it in the oven longer. Poke a little hole in each puff to release steam caught inside the puffs. Leave puffs in the oven, with the oven door slightly open, to cool.

Puff that has been cooked halfway, not browned completely

6. Once completely cooled, pipe in pastry cream or your choice of filling. You can either cut the puffs into half or poke a little hole and squeeze the filling into the hole. Dust with a little powdered sugar or drizzle some chocolate on it if necessary.

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