Let me be a bit self indulgent today by posting a recipe of one of my favourite food, cream puffs: choux buns filled with custard and crowned with crisp caramel. I remember trips to the bakeshop with my Mum when I was little. They were her favourite, too, so we would always buy a few. They were such a treat! I seem to remember that they were big. Or maybe I was little and everything seemed big to me. My favourite part was the crisp caramel top so I'd bite that off first. The choux bun and the custard had to be eaten together for best taste. It always tasted the same: really, really delicious.
I haven't seen cream puffs like these for a long time and I really miss it. Is it just done like so in the Philippines, I wonder? They are like the buns that form the ring of the Gâteau St Honoré. The choux buns I see here in London are usually made into profiteroles (filled with cream and served with chocolate sauce) or just filled with cream and sprinkled with icing sugar or just plain and sprinkled with preserving sugar. I just had to make myself the cream puffs I long for if I wanted to eat it.
Since it is Easter, I decided to add an ingredient that is traditionally eaten at this time in a lot of countries: almonds. I filled choux buns with almond custard, draped it with caramel syrup and sprinkled with toasted flaked almonds. As the crisp choux buns and hard caramel crack when you bite into it, the sweet almond custard oozes out. Was it nice? What do you think?
1 c. water
1/2 c butter
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. plain flour
Prepare several greased baking sheets. I lined them with baking paper for ease of cleaning. Pre-heat the oven to 400°F /200°C .
In a saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add the salt and butter and stir. When the butter has melted, add all of the flour in one go. Stir the mixture briskly until it starts to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Cool for ten minutes before adding in the eggs, beating well after each addition with a wooden spoon or an electric whisk.
Pipe or spoon onto the baking sheets, 2" apart. Smooth the tops with a wet finger so that they don't burn.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown in colour. Lower the oven temperature to 300°F/ 150°C and bake for a further 10-15 minutes until the buns are risen, crisp and golden.
Poke the sides with the tip of a knife once done to let the steam escape. Cool on a rack before filling.
Ingredients for the custard filling:
2 c. milk
2 tbsps. of corn flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
6 egg yolks
1 c. ground almonds
2 tbsps. butter
1 tsp. almond essence
In a saucepan, disperse the corn flour in the milk. Add the rest of the ingredients, except for the butter and almond essence, and mix with a wire whisk.
Cook over low heat, stirring continuously until thick.
Take off the heat and add in the butter and almond essence. Blend and leave to cool completely.
Transfer to a piping bag or squeezy bottle and fill the buns.
For the caramel glaze and almond topping:
1 c. sugar
1/2 c. water
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 c. flaked almonds, toasted in the oven for 5 minutes
Combine sugar, water and cream of tartar in a saucepan. Stir on low heat until the sugar dissolves.
Bring to a boil and leave to simmer on medium heat until golden.
Spoon over the choux buns and sprinkle with a few flaked almonds. If the caramel sets in the pan, reheat to melt again.
The recipe makes 30 cream puffs.
|Puff the Magic|