Monday, June 12, 2006
Humongous Cream Puffs
One evening, as I was walking around in mid valley megamall, in the lower ground level, I stumbled across that shop, called BEARD PAPA, that sells cream puffs. Now, there are many places that sell cream puffs, in MVM, including LaBoheme, which is part of Jaya Jusco. And as a general rule, I do not eat commercial cream puffs, because I have yet to find one with a filling that I like. I love the Chocolate Eclairs in Valerie Patisserie, but at the risk of sounding pretentious, that's in London. Valerie's eclairs ooze fresh cream, and the choux pastry is just the right texture, with a lovely chocolate sauce to complement the fresh cream.
Eclairs and cream puffs are the same family, the latter being the long tall brother, whereas the cream puff, the short stout sister. Just like any person, what determines its character is what lies within, and it is no difference with cream puffs.
Anyway, I noticed these cream puffs at Beard Papa were selling at RM3.00 a piece, which is like THREE times the price of the normal cream puffs at La Boheme. And, they seem to sell like hot cakes, no pun intended. So, obviously, curiosity got the better of me, and I very sheepishly bought one to sample. My assistant food taster by my side sank his teeth into the cream puff, and pronounced it thumbs up. The choux pastry was just the right texture, crispy-ish on the outside, but nice and soft on the inside, and the filling... now, I am not a major custard fan, preferring real fresh cream, if possible, but I concede that this particular filling was rather delectable.
So, I decided last Thursday night to experiment with my own version of these cream puffs.
Choux Pastry (pronounced Shoe)
1 cup water
1 cup flour
It's quite baffling how anyone could have figured out how to make this, or invent it.
1. Place the butter and water in a pot, and bring to a boil. Common sense and basic integrated science dictates that water and oil do not mix, and it doesn't. Nevertheless, just follow the instructions, with faith.
2. Chuck in the sifted flour, and continue stirring until it forms a ball of dough. Again, fascinating how this transformation takes place. A ball of yellowy dough should form, as it comes off the side of the pot.
3. Transfer the dough into a mixing bowl, and on slow speed, beat in the eggs, ONE by ONE. You should get a lovely glossy batter, which is quite thick, but not so thick that you need a bulldozer to wade through.
4. Spoon heaped tablespoons onto a baking tray, no need to grease. Bake in a 180C preheated oven. I think this recipe yields about 10 gigantic puffs.
You should be able to tell when its ready. It helps to pierce the puff when its cooked, and leave it to bake another couple of minutes, to let the steam escape from the inside.
Filling: Well, whipped cream, or custard cream would go quite well, but if you want to be fancy, you could whip up a custardy kind of cream. Easiest method is to make some instant bird's custard, and fold it into some whipped cream. Easy, and rather good to eat. Generously pump using an icing syringe, into the puffs. For an extra dash of decadence, pour chocolate sauce over the puffs, to make it into a profiterole. It may feel all airy and light, but I'm sure calorie wise, it is anything BUT light.