Marilla Cuthbert: Now, you come downstairs and see if a good cup of tea and some of those plum puffs I made today don’t hearten you.
Anne Shirley: Plum puffs won’t minister to a mind diseased in a world that’s crumbled into pieces.
~From Anne of Green Gables
At times when things go awry, the above quote goes through my head and I suddenly crave plum puffs as if these light fluffy pastries will lift my worries away and cast them into dark shadows. But the problem always was that plum puffs couldn’t be purchased, and I was too scared to try to make them.
But alas, fears must be faced someday or another with a dash of coaxing from a friend. After all, failures come with great lessons.
I got to work in the kitchen and started mixing up the ingredients. Once I started piping out the puffs, I knew it would be absolute failure, as how would these flat goops of dough rise into puffs. But as I sat there in front of the oven, I watched with amazement as the dough went from flat to risen poofs of pastry. I ended up filling the puffs with custard/cream and whipped cream because I didn’t think my plum jam would pipe out of my small piping tip. But I don’t regret it all. The puffs were amazingly light, not too sweet, and were filled with scrumptious yumminess. And I will have to make these soon again as theyre all gone and all I want to do is sit there with a bowl of cream puffs and devour them.
Pate a Choux (from Alton Brown)
1 cup water
6 tbsp butter
1 tbsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/3 cups AP flour
4 eggs + 2 egg whites
In a medium sauce pan, heat up the butter, water, sugar and salt. Once the butter has melted, stir in the flour until a dough mixture forms. Take off from heat and let it cool for 3-4 min. Preheat oven to 425 F. Using a hand mixer, beat in the eggs on at a time on the lowest setting. Place mixture into piping bag with the biggest circle tip.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe golf ball sized circles (can be a little bit bigger, smaller than tennis ball) in a spiraling motion toward the center. Make sure there is a liberal about of dough in the center. (it may take a few time to get the puffs to come out with a decent height)
Place in oven (no more than one tray at a time) and bake at 425 F for 10 min and reduce temperature to 325 F for another 10 min. Do NOT open the oven door during this time or else you’ll have deflated puffs. Once they come out of the oven, poke a hole with a toothpick in each one and let them cool. Repeat until all dough has been used. Fill the puffs with pastry cream and dunk in chocolate glaze. Place in refrigerator until the cream is nice and cold.
Note: I’ve read that instead of using a baking sheet, you can grease muffin pans and pipe the dough into there. This will hold up the shape and you can fit more in the oven at one time. I will try this next time.
Pastry Cream (from Joy of Cooking)
-1/3 cup sugar
-2 tbsp all-purpose flour
-2 tbsp cornstarch
-4 large egg yolks
-1 1/3 cups milk
-3/4 tsp vanilla
(I would double the recipe so there’s enough to fill in all the puffs for the above pate a choux recipe)
In a mixing bowl, combine the egg yolks, corn starch, sugar and flour. Whip for about 2 min or until the mixture is a pale yellow. Heat up the milk and vanilla in a medium saucepan until it is simmering. Whisk in 1/3 of the milk into the eggs mixture, making sure the eggs don’t cook.
Then add the egg-milk mixture into the remaining milk. Cook the mixture while whisking until a thick mixture forms. Take off heat and let it cool. Place in a piping bag with a small circle tip. Pierce the puffs in one place and squeeze till the puffs feel like they’re filled.
Note: If you don’t want to make the double amount of pastry cream, you can whip some whipping cream with powdered sugar and fill in the remaining puffs or if you don’t have time to make the pastry cream, you can simply used whipping cream to fill them.
2 oz chopped semisweet chips
3 tbs whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Heat all ingredients either stove top or in the microwave until it is melted. Dunk the tops of the cream puffs into the chocolate glaze.