Cream puffs make for the perfect finger-friendly petit fours! Yes, they are mildly time-consuming but the end result is absolutely worth it. I’ll be honest, making the crème légère, pastry cream mixed with whipping cream, stressed me out. I had to make two batches since the first one failed completely and was just a yucky, curdled mess. But when it works…it tastes freaking amazing. It’s smooth and velvety and I could eat that shiz straight out of the bowl no joke.
This recipe is adapted from dulcedelight, one of my favorite sources for pastries that look and taste great.
yields about 60 mini choux
250g water – 1 1/4 cup
110g unsalted butter – 1/2 cup
pinch of salt
pinch of granulated sugar
140g all purpose flour
4 to 5 large eggs
240g heavy cream -1 cup
200g blackberries – 2 cups
120g granulated sugar divided in two – 1/2 cup total
4 large egg yolks
40g cornstarch – 4 tbsp
120g whole milk – 1/2 cup
200g heavy cream – 3/4 cup
125g confectioners sugar – 1 cup
20g fruit puree – 2 tbsp
Preheat oven at 400F.
In a pan add water, cubed cold butter, pinch of salt and sugar. Bring this to a medium heat and as soon as the butter melts, turn off the heat and add the flour stirring it constantly until it forms a mass. Bring this dough back to heat and dry it out (dessécher) for one more minute or until the dough starts to form a very thin layer around the pan.
In a mixer with the paddle attachment on or using a whisk, whisk the dough until it cools, add one egg at a time and when the dough reaches a ribbon stage it’s ready (ribbon stage is when the paddle attachment is lifted and the dough is heavy enough to fall down creating a ribbon connecting the attachment to the bowl).
Pipe the 1in round choux in a baking pan with a silpat or parchment paper on, press down the peak created and bake the dough until in gains a brown color (around 30 minutes). When it looks brown turn your oven down to 300F and leave your oven door ajar (put a wooden spoon on the door to leave it partially open). Let this choux dry until there is no more humidity inside (around 10 more minutes).
Prepare your pastry cream first by combining heavy cream, sugar, blackberry puree and milk. Bring this to a low simmer, meanwhile whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale yellow, add the cornstarch and whisk to combine. Temper the egg yolk mixture with the simmering cream whisking constantly to avoid egg coagulation, bring this back to medium heat and whisking constantly waits for it to come to a full boil, then let it boil for 3 extra minutes always whisking (when using a thickening agent such as cornstarch always let it boil for 3 minutes to achieve its full thickening power).
Let this pastry cream cool and then add the whipped cream (heavy cream whipped to medium peak) to turn this pastry cream into a crème légère. Put this filling in a pastry bag and pipe it inside the hollow choux (use the empty pastry tip to open a perfect hole in the base of the choux).
Prepare the glaze by combining the confectionary sugar and blackberry puree, dip the surface of the mini choux in the pink glaze and let it sit to dry. If not serving in the same day just storage the choux and the filing in two different airtight container, pipe the filling in few hours before serving. The glaze can’t be made ahead.
The color of the royal icing was probably my favorite part of these puffs and no artificial dyes needed either! Just puree the blackberries (or raspberries…or any berry really) and strain them, adding powdered sugar to it until you get the desired consistency. I expected it to be darker since I was using blackberries rather than raspberries but the vibrant magenta that resulted was absolutely beautiful. For the mango icing it was a bit harder to achieve that bright yellow color so I did end up adding just a drop of yellow gel coloring to nudge it along. But really, the blackberry icing against the golden cream puff is the star of the show.
I will definitely be making these more often in case anyone feels like dropping by and eating them with me! Enjoy~