Pate choux, or cream puffs, are one of the things I know how to nail. I used to be called the croquem-douche because of how skilled and knowledgeable I was at making them. If you do not understand my culinary joke, Google image croquembouche. And now you can laugh. Anyways, pate choux is a really simple recipe. Butter, flour, eggs, either milk or water, and maybe sugar. The dough can be used for churros, eclairs, or cream puffs. It’s a pretty simple ratio. For my recipe, I included sablage. It is the cookie crust you might find on top of cream puffs. Case in point, Bibble and Sip in New York use matcha sablage for their green tea cream puffs. For my recipe, I used a simple brown sugar base. The sablage helps smooth off the top of the puffs, while giving it a really cool, textured look.
For my filling, I made a butterscotch pastry cream. Think butterscotch pudding. Essentially that’s what I did here. Except I made a salted caramel, and added the butter at the end, almost like a lemon curd. It’s a pretty straightforward recipe, but you do need to be wary about the color of the caramel. The moment it turns brown, you add in your milk, and stir. If that burns, then you will taste it and it will be gross. I used malted milk, which you can create with 1 cup water to 2 tablespoons malted milk powder, just to help accentuate the caramel notes of the butterscotch.
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup malted milk
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Bring milk, sugar, and butter to a boil. Add in the flour. Continuously mix until the flour forms a dough ball, and gets a nice glossy coating. Take off heat, and start whisking vigorously for about 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, slowly whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Once everything is mixed and the dough forms a smooth, yellow paste, transfer to a piping bag and pipe onto a nonstick baking surface in 1 inch diameter Hershey’s Kisses shapes. Place the sablage on each cream puff. Bake at 425 F for 20 minutes, then at 300 F for another 10 minutes to further dry.
1/2 stick unsalted butter
3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
Whip together ingredients and place between two parchment sheets. Roll out to about 1/8th inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, press out enough circles to match the cream puffs. Keep cold under ready to bake.
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
3 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Bring salt, sugar, and water to a simmer. Once the sugar begins to brown, add in the butter and milk and whisk. Bring down to about 150 degrees F; below boiling point. Combine eggs and flour together. Temper the egg-flour mixture with the caramel-milk. Pour back into the pot and whisk over high heat for about 3 minutes. The mixture will need to be thick enough to coat the back of the spoon or cling to the whisk. Finish with vanilla. Strain into a bowl, and chill, pressing cling wrap against the surface of the custard so that it won’t form a skin.
Make a hole at the bottom of each puff. Transfer the filling to a piping bag. Pipe the filling into each cream puff. Serve once filled.