“My mother used to make choux a la crème, which is a French pastry. It was really hard to find the things you needed for this and it took a long time to make. So it would be a real treat for us.” – Kalki Koechlin
Créme pâtissiére (pastry filling)
- 1¼ cups milk
- 3 egg yolks
- ⅓ cup sugar
- 1½ tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp corn starch
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
Pâte á choux (pastry dough)
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup milk
- ½ tsp sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tbsp butter
- ½ cup flour
- 2 eggs
- Powdered sugar for garnish
1. Heat milk in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour and corn starch.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together egg yolk and sugar until blended (save egg whites for brushing later).
4. Add flour mixture to egg mixture and whisk until smooth and well blended.
5. Just before the milk starts to boil, add ⅓ of it to the egg mixture and stir quickly with a whisk until blended. Add back into saucepan with remainder of the milk and whisk together over medium high heat constantly until thickens.
6. Lower heat to medium and continue stirring, but more slowly. Remove from heat once lighter and easier to stir.
7. Add butter and vanilla, and stir with whisk.
8. Transfer to a bowl and let cool a few minutes before covering.
9. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing on the top layer to avoid clumping, and place in refrigerator.
1. Mix together water, milk, sugar, butter, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Once it begins to boil, remove from heat and add flour, stirring rapidly with a wooden spoon.
3. Put back over medium heat and stir. Dough should be well-blended, but firm and pulling away from pan easily.
4. Remove from heat and continue stirring to cool.
5. Add eggs, one at a time, and stir until the flour mixture soaks them up. This may take a few minutes of stirring. The dough will become very smooth.
6. Put dough into a cake decorating bag or ziplock bag, and cut off the top corner (about ½ inch hole).
7. Preheat oven to 410 degrees F.
8. Squeeze dough out onto parchment paper, keeping hand steady over one spot, until you make a 2 inch thick mound. Twist and pull up to release the dough.
9. Brush with egg white gently, and use brush to flatten tips down.
10. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower heat to 350 degrees F and bake another 10 minutes. Do not open the oven or they may not bake properly. Check to see if tops are browning too quickly during the first 10 minutes through the window if you have one.
11. Let cool, then cut a small hole in the bottom with a paring knife (or cut off the top ⅓, whichever way you prefer to fill them).
12. Put filling into a clean decorating bag.
13. “Inject” filling through bottoms of the puffs and hold them with two fingers on your other hand to feel them become full.
14. Dust with powdered sugar.
(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)