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Sunday, September 02, 2012

Crispy Shell Cream Puffs

There were several batches of cream puffs that I made before this. But not one could be as good as Beard Papa's cream puff. Back in Indonesia, I used to buy one everytime I went to Pacific Place mall. Here, there was only one Beard Papa's store I ever know, and that was in Seattle! It was impossible for me to go there then, So I googled the recipe with a hopeful thinking that I would actually find someone that could make cream puffs as good as Beard Papa and post the recipe online.

This is the only recipe I found that says it's similar with Beard Papa, so I tried it out.
For me, it doesn't beat Beard Papa's. But do I love it? For sure! It is so much better than the cream puffs I made before. What makes it special is the sweet and crispy shell. If you want another variation of the regular cream puff, this is it!

Crispy Shell Cream Puffs

Cream Puff Pastry (Choux)
120 g butter
3/4 cup water
1 1/3 cup plain flour, sifted (must be sifted)
3-5 eggs (60g each egg)
1/4 tsp salt *I omit this
1 tsp sugar

Custard Cream:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
3 cups milk
30g real butter
1/2 or 1 vanilla bean OR Vanilla extract
+/- a cup of whipped fresh cream

Pai-Shuu Crust:
30g butter
1/3 cup icing sugar (powdered sugar)
1/3 cup SR flour    (OR plain flour with 1/2 tsp baking powder (or a pinch bicarb soda))

Custard Cream
1. Using a whisk, Combine flour and sugar,
2. Add:  4 egg yolks and about 40mL of the milk, whisk until combined.  Add remaining milk and scrape in vanilla pod.
3. Stir over medium heat, till it thickens (Often scraping the bottom). When it's thick and bubbles start to blob up, remove from heat.
4. Stir in 30g real butter
5. Allow to cool with plastic wrap on surface to prevent a "skin". Refrigerate until cold.
+/- 6. If you like, fold a cup of whipped fresh cream into the cold custard cream.

Pai-Shuu Crust
1.  Gently melt butter (microwave or small saucepan)
2.  Stir in Sugar and Flour.

Cream Puff (Choux) Pastry
1. Place butter, salt, sugar and water in a large saucepan over high heat.  When butter is melted and it starts to boil, remove from heat and...
2. Immediately tip in flour all at once, and beat into a firm dough with wooden spoon.
3. Prepare 3-5 eggs. Add approximately one egg to the dough at a time, beating well in between with a wooden spoon.
The dough should be able to be piped with a good shape. Whenever you feel it's too runny, stop adding egg. I only used 3 eggs.
4. Spoon into a piping bag and pipe directly downward onto paper-lined tray.  If you like, use chopsticks or fingers to pull pastry upwards on the sides, to make them taller and rough-surfaced.
5.  Place discs of Pai-Shuu Crust Dough on top.
6.  Immediately bake in a very hot oven 210-220 degrees Celcius, 25-30min until well puffed and browned then down to 100 degrees C for 40 min or more to dry.
7.  Allow to cool (the puffs will firm up and become strong) before peeling the baking paper from the bottom of the puffs.

**oven MUST be well pre-heated, esp for big cream puffs.  And don't turn the heat down too early, or they might fall. Wait until they're well puffed and the colour is fully developed.

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