Chef’s Note: These chocolate cream puffs are rich and tasty. If you have some time on hand, they aren’t difficult to make at all. They don’t, however, stay well for more than a day, so I would recommend that you have some guests on hand to help you eat them up. I would also advise that you prepare the cream before the pastry puffs, to allow the cream time to cool. Lastly, if you aren’t a big fan of chocolate, the chocolate chips are optional. Have fun and bon appetit!
To make the cream filling:
1/4 cup of sugar
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
4 egg yolks
1-1/3 cups of whole milk
3/4 teaspoon of vanilla
about 3/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips (optional)
Beat together the sugar, flour, cornstarch, and egg yolks with a hand mixer on high speed until it becomes a pale yellow, thick mixture.
Heat the milk to a simmer in a small saucepan. Combine about ⅓ of the hot milk with the egg yolk mixture by slowly pouring it in and stirring thoroughly. Scrape the egg mixture out of the bowl and combine with the rest of the milk in the pan. Cook over low heat until the custard has thickened and is starting to bubble. Cook it at this stage for about a minute longer, being careful to whisk and scrape the bottom constantly to prevent lumping and scorching.
Scrape custard into a clean bowl. Stir in vanilla and chocolate chips. Let cool completely, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use. This can be stored for up to two days.
To make the pastry puffs:
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of whole milk
1 stick, or 8 tablespoons, of butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon of salt
egg wash (one whole egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons of water)
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Combine the salt, butter, water, and milk in a large saucepan, and bring to a boil.
Add flour all at once.
Stir furiously with a wooden spoon to combine until the dough forms (it will begin pulling away from the sides). Continue cooking for one minute after the dough is formed.
Transfer the dough to a bowl, and allow it to cool for about five minutes.
Add one egg, then beat it in with a wooden spoon. Be sure that it is completely smooth and blended in. Repeat this process for the next three eggs (remember, one at a time!!).
Spoon out about ¼ cup of a cup of dough for each pastry puff. Don’t forget to leave some space between each dough ball (I got about 10 puffs out of the dough, if that helps). Brush them each with some egg wash. Bake them for about 15 minutes at 400F, then turn down the temperature to 350F for the last 20 to 25 minutes. The puffs will ready when they are golden brown.
Turn off the oven. Poke a hole in the bottom of each pastry puff with a skewer, turn the puffs upside-down (so the holes face upwards), then return the puffs to the oven to dry out for 10 minutes.
Afterwards, let them cool on a cooling rack.
To assemble the cream puffs:
Slice the tops of the puffs off. Hollow out any excess dough from the insides of the puffs.
You can pipe the cream in with a pastry bag if you want a neater look, but I chose to simply spoon the cream into the bottom part of the puff. Replace the tops, and you’re ready to serve!
All photos by Lauren Quinn