Pastry cream

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups whole milk, heavy cream, or a mix
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Equipment

Saucepan
Whisk
Strainer

Instructions

  1. Warm the milk: Warm the milk in the saucepan until you start to see wisps of steam. It should not actually be boiling.
  2. Make the egg-sugar base: In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, and salt. Add the egg yolks and whisk them into the dry ingredients. This will form a thick paste. It’s fine if the paste looks crumbly or smooth; the important thing is that the ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  3. Add the milk to the egg mixture: Pour a little of the hot milk into the eggs and whisk to combine. Continue pouring the milk slowly into the eggs, whisking continuously. It’s OK to switch back and forth between pouring milk and whisking if you can’t manage both at the same time.
  4. Pour everything back in the pan: When all the milk has been added to the eggs, pour everything back into the saucepan. Set a strainer over a bowl and place this near the stove.
  5. Heat the pastry cream: Set the pan back over medium heat. Whisk constantly. At first, the pastry cream will look very thin and frothy, but it will start to thicken after a few minutes. When it has thickened to a pudding-like consistency, pause whisking every few seconds to see if the cream has come to a boil. If you see large bubbles popping on the surface, whisk for a few more seconds and then remove the pan from heat.
  6. Strain and cool the pastry cream: Stir the vanilla into the pastry cream and then pour the cream into the strainer set over the bowl. Stir to push it through the strainer. This will catch any bits of cooked egg that may be in your pastry cream.
  7. Cover and store: Cover the pastry cream with a piece of plastic wrap pressed right up against the surface of the cream and chill completely.

Notes:

  • This recipe fills about 24 profiteroles.
  • Not the best pastry cream I’ve had. The taste is too eggy. I will try making mousseline cream next time.
  • You can set the mixture over a water bath instead of heating it up directly on the stove to thicken.
  • To make matcha cream, add matcha powder to the mixture before thickening it in the pan.
  • To make chocolate cream, add bittersweet chocolate chips into the mixture as you are thickening it.

Adapted from http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-pastry-cream-168126

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Pâte à Choux

Makes about 48 profiteroles

What You Need

Ingredients
12 tablespoons (6 ounces) unsalted butter
1.5 cup water
1 teaspoon salt
1.5 cup all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 large egg yolk, mixed with a tablespoon of water, for the egg wash
Pearl sugar, to top, if desired

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or baking mats. Cut the butter into small pieces — this makes sure it melts quickly and evenly.
  2. Bring the butter, water, and salt to a rolling boil: Combine the butter, water, and salt in a saucepan. Place over high heat and bring to a rolling boil. The butter should be completely melted by the time the water comes to a boil; if not, reduce the heat until the butter has melted to avoid too much water evaporating, then bring it back to a boil.
  3. Add the flour: Take the pan off the heat and add the flour all at once.
  4. Stir vigorously to form a dough: Make sure all the flour is worked into the dough and no more dry flour remains. Once ready, the dough will resemble mashed potatoes.
  5. Cook the dough on the stove: Place the pan back over medium heat. Stir the dough, mashing it against the sides and bottom of the pan and then gathering it up into a ball again — this dries out the dough and cooks the flour. Some starchy buildup on the bottom of the pan is normal. Continue cooking the dough for 3 to 5 minutes. The dough is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the pan to form a ball, the surface looks shiny and glossy, and it’s thick enough that you can stand a spoon upright in the middle.
  6. Cool the dough: Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium-low speed until the dough is just warm to the touch. The outside of the bowl should also be just slightly warm to the touch. Alternatively, you can cool the dough by hand with a stiff spatula.
  7. Add 4/5 of the eggs: Whisk the eggs together in a small bowl. With the mixer on medium-low, add the eggs to the dough in four separate additions. (This can also be done by hand with a stiff spatula.) As each addition is worked in, the dough will at first become stringy and goopy, then will form back together into a soft dough. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed between each addition.
  8. Check the dough: After the third addition, check the dough before adding the fourth. When the paste is ready, the dough should be soft, creamy-colored, and very smooth. It should also hold its shape when scooped. If you scoop up a little bit with your spatula and let it slide back into the bowl, it should leave behind a little “V” of dough on the spatula. Add the fifth or sixth egg, or just half of the sixth egg, if needed.
  9. Portion the dough onto the baking sheet: Scoop the dough out onto the baking sheet. You can also transfer the dough to a piping bag to pipe specific shapes. The dough can be made into nearly any size or shape. Space the puffs slightly apart on the baking sheet.
  10. Brush the tops of the puffs with egg wash: This makes the puffs golden. Sprinkle the tops with pearl sugar, if desired.
  11. Bake for 12 minutes, then turn down the oven temp to 375°F: When the pastries look puffed, after 12 to 15 minutes, then lower the heat to continue baking.
  12. Bake another 15 to 18 minutes: Exact baking time will depend on the size and shape of your puffs. Bake until the puffs are slightly puffed, golden-brown in color, and dry to the touch. They will detach easily from the parchment and feel hollow and light when you pick them up.
  13. Lower the heat to 300°F and dry out the puffs: Continue baking the puffs to dry them out another 10 minutes or less. If you break one of the puffs open, it should not be wet or eggy on the inside; bake a few more minutes as needed.
  14. Poke the puffs with a toothpick: Transfer the puffs to a cooling rack and poke each one with a toothpick or the point of a paring knife. This releases any lingering steam from the inside and helps prevent the puffs from getting soggy.
  15. Cool the puffs completely: Once completely cool, the puffs can be filled or used for any recipe. Unfilled puffs can be kept in an airtight container for several days, or frozen for up to 3 months.

Adapted from http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-pate-a-choux-choux-pastry-80889

Notes:

  • My choux pastry baked a lot faster than the times specified in the kitchn recipe. I reduced the bake time in this recipe. If you are baking bigger puffs they will probably take longer.
  • I filled my profiteroles with pastry cream (see recipe) but ice cream goes really well.