Cream puffs with lemon cream filling, caramel glaze and a surprise vanilla sauce
I have been experimenting with eclairs lately and although they are good enough (delicious, really) to eat they are not good enough to photograph and post quite yet. I am trying to bake them so they are perfectly smooth on the on top with no cracks, and decorate them with a glaze in a smooth symmetrical fashion. So far, no cigar. However, with every batch of eclairs I make a few small cream puffs that are a lot more forgiving than their eclairs relatives. These aways turn out.
With the last batch I made a few small puffs, filled them with lemon whipped cream and coated them with caramel and a few sugar strands as the caramel was cooling off. I served them with my “surprise” vanilla sauce, as hard to make as it is to melt vanilla häagen Dazs ice cream in the microwave or on the countertop. If you think about it, the sauce you would make here is creme anglaise, and what is ice cream but a frozen creme anglaise? Break it down to it’s essence and you have the sauce.
I love the flavours in this dessert: light and buttery pastry, tangy lemon filling, bittersweet crunchy caramel glaze, a few fresh raspberries and lusciously smooth vanilla cream. No one is complaining here.
Makes about 20 medium size puffs
Cream puffs (Pâte à Choux dough):
2/3 cup full fat milk
5 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons sugar
A pinch of salt
3/4 cup AP flour
Lemon cream filling:
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/3-1/2 cup lemon curd
1 cup sugar
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Place milk, salt, sugar and butter in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
As soon as it comes to a boil and the butter has melted pour in the flour all at once.
Mix the flour in with a wooden spoon over a very low heat for a few minute, continue to mixing to dry the dough. When ready, the dough should be very smooth and shiny and there will be a thin film on the bottom of the pot.
Remove the dough from the pot to a bowl and let cool for about 5 minutes, breaking it down with a spoon to allow the center to cool as well.
Once the dough has cooled sufficiently you can begin mixing in the eggs one at a time using a wooden spoon or spatula to do this. The dough will break down and separate as you add each egg and come together again as you continue to mix it. Add the next egg only after the dough has fully absorbed the previous one and become pasty.
Alternatively, place the dough in a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment adding the eggs one at a time.
The dough should be smooth and shiny when you are done adding the eggs. The number of eggs is more art than science. Sometime you need an extra egg if the dough is too stiff.
Scrape the dough into a piping bag fitted with a round tip and begin piping the cream puffs onto the parchment lined baking sheet spacing them about two inches apart.
Place the tray in the oven, lower temperature to 350°F and bake 35 minutes or so until the pastries puff up and begin to turn golden.
Turn the oven off, keep the door slightly ajar with a wooden spoon and let cool in the oven for another 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and let cool.
Whip the cream and sugar together, then add the lemon curd, mixing it in at the end gently without delating the cream. Refrigerate until using.
Fill a piping bag with the lemon cream using a small tip. Poke a small hole in the bottom of each cream puffs and press the pastry tip into it, filling each puff until it feel heavy and full. Wipe any extra cream that flows from the hole and set aside. Place puffs on a parchment lined baking sheet.
To make the caramel place the sugar in a small pot.over medium heat and cook until the sugar begins to melt and caramelize. Once it begins to turn golden around the edges tilt the pot to help the rest of the sugar dissolve. Watch it carefully and don’t let it turn too dark.
Using a spoon drizzle the caramel over the cream puffs and let the caramel slide down the sides. As the sugar begins to cool it will become stringy and form “angel hair” strands. Gently swirl or wave the spoon over each puffs to create a spun sugar effect (sugar strand). If the sugar cools too much place it over lov=w heat to melt again. You can also add more sugar to the pot if needed and let it melt.
Melt the ice cream in the microwave and let cool or just let it melt on the counter ahead of time.
To plate, spoon vanilla sauce into a shallow bowl, place cream puffs over and arrange a few raspberries around.
Extra garnish: pour remaining caramel over a parchment paper and spread it thinly. When set, process in a food processor into powder. Sprinkle the powder over the plate.