I had the nice surprise to be selected for the ‘Site we Love’ feature of SAVEUR magazine this month. Amazing! You can read my interview here. Thank you all for all your good words. I was going to post a different recipe today but I figured we need to celebrate with something sweet that everybody loves.
Ah, the magic of cream puffs. My very first kitchen triumph when I was about 14 years old. That’s when I gave myself the challenge to make choux à la crème for a holiday dinner and everyone, including my parents, doubted it would work. I remember sitting in front of the oven, peeking through the oven window smiling from cheek to cheek as I saw the mounds of of pâte à choux rising tall. I held my breath and crossed my fingers that they wouldn’t fall flat. When the cooking time was up I opened the oven door and here they were, perfectly puffed and golden. I filled them with a crème chantilly and I was hooked for life.
I’ve been experimenting with different fillings for cream puffs and I’m quite happy with this one. I made a green tea pastry cream with whole eggs, instead of egg yolks, which makes it much lighter. Then I folded whipped cream into it and stabilized it with a small amount of gelatin, which keeps the cream from running away from you after the first bite. You could of course omit the green tea and split a vanilla bean into the milk to make a vanilla cream version. Everything else stays the same. The choux paste is a no-fail recipe I’ve been using for years. Both together. A hit.
Green Tea Cream Puffs
- Serves 6
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
- 5 large eggs
- egg wash: 1 yolk mixed with 1 tbs milk or cream
Green tea pastry cream:
- 1 ½ teaspoons unflavored gelatin
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Matcha (green tea) powder
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- In a medium saucepan, bring the butter, milk, water, salt, and sugar to a gentle boil. Remove from the heat and add the sifted flour and baking powder all at once. Stir energetically with a wooden spoon and return to the heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until a dough forms and the excess moisture evaporates, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a Kitchenaid equipped with the paddle. Beat the mixture on medium for 15 seconds and start adding the eggs one by one. Mix until the dough (paste) is smooth and shiny.
- Spoon the batter into a pastry bag with a large round tip, pipe into mounds that are about 2 inches across onto a lightly greased baking sheet or a silpat. Leave about a 2-inch space between mounds. Brush the tops with egg wash and make them even with the back of a spoon or fork.
- Bake at 350°F for 30 to 35 minutes, until puffed and golden-brown.
- To finish: Dig a hole at the bottom with a chopstick. Fill another pastry bag with a small round tip with the green tea cream and pipe the cream inside the puffs. Dust with powdered sugar.
Green tea pastry cream:
- In a small dish, sprinkle the gelatin over the water to soften and set aside.
- Pour the milk into a heavy saucepan. Add the salt, place over medium-high heat, and bring to just under a boil. Whisk in the green tea powder.
- Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar. Add the eggs and whisk until smooth.
- When the milk is just under a boil, add about 1/3 of the milk mixture into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Pour the egg-milk mixture back into the hot milk and continue whisking over medium heat until the custard thickens and start bubbling, about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and immediately pour through a sieve into the bowl. Add the gelatin mixture and whisk until incorporated. Let cool for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cut the butter into chunks. Whisk the butter into the pastry cream 1 tablespoon at a time. Cool the green tea cream completely.
- Whip the heavy cream to soft peaks. When the green tea cream is cold, gently fold the whipped cream into it until fully incorporated.
- Fill the puffs with the green tea cream (see above)