And, speaking of filling ~ my HOMEMADE VANILLA CUSTARD ~ made in the MICROWAVE is just fine, and a whole lot easier than standing over a pot on the stove, constantly whisking & stirring! My CHOCOLATE GANACHE only takes 1 MINUTE to make in the MICROWAVE too!
So, there really isn't any reason to make these for your family! And, if you want to skip the custard filling, just fill them with ice cream or pudding instead!
There's NO SUGAR in the CHOUX PASTRY, so making a SUGAR-FREE version is very simple too.
EXTRA CUSTARD can be put into dessert cups to serve as pudding (can swirl a little chocolate or caramel syrup through it, if you want, so it's different than the cream puff filling)
CREAM PUFF SHELLS (CHOUX PASTRY)
1 cup water……………1/2 cup (8 TB) unsalted butter
1/4 tsp. salt…………….1 cup all-purpose flour
In medium, heavy-duty saucepan, combine water, butter and salt over medium-high heat. Cook until butter is melted, then bring to full rolling boil over high heat.
Add flour all at once and stir with a sturdy wooden spoon until everything comes together in a clump that is like a thick paste that cleans the sides of the pan.
Remove from the heat and stir in the eggs, one at a time. The mixture may seem to break or curdle at first, but keep stirring and it will come back together by the time you add the last egg. Let the choux pastry cool about 10-15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
When the choux dough has cooled, take about 1/4 cupful (I used a small serving spoonful) and form small logs in your hand (for eclairs) or small mounds (for cream puffs). Put on the prepared baking sheet, about 3" apart.
Bake for 30-35 minutes until golden brown. (Make sure your oven is completely preheated and do not open the oven door until the cream puffs look golden brown and dry. Before they are finished they will have a greasy, wet-looking exterior.) Turn off the oven and crack open the oven door to let the cream puffs cool down slowly for 10 minutes before removing from the oven. (This prevents them from deflating.)
Split each shell down the middle with a serrated knife, and scoop out any eggy insides (if necessary). Then fill with the VANILLA CUSTARD. Top with the other half of the shell and drizzle with CHOCOLATE GANACHE.
Microwave VANILLA CUSTARD ~ with sugar or sugar-free
2 cups milk, any kind (I like unsweetened vanilla almond or cashew milk)
3 TB sugar (or 3 TB regular white Splenda)
1 egg, beaten…………………………….. 2 TB cornstarch
1 more TB sugar (or 1 TB regular white Splenda)
1 TB pure vanilla
Combine milk and 3 TB sugar in at least a 4-quart microwave-proof bowl. (VERY IMPORTANT ~ bigger is better, or it will overflow as it heats) Microwave at HIGH for 5 to 6 minutes or just until mixture begins to boil, stirring/whisking at 3 minute intervals.
Whisk together egg and additional 1 TB sugar in a small bowl. Whisk in the cornstarch until thoroughly blended . Gradually whisk about 1/4th of hot milk mixture into egg mixture; then stir into the remaining milk mixture, stirring constantly. (This is called “tempering”.)
Microwave at HIGH about 2-3 minutes or until thickened, but IMPORTANT TO CHECK & STIR every 30 seconds! Remove from microwave, and whisk until smooth. Then whisk in the vanilla.
If you’re going to eat this as a pudding, put into about 4 dessert cups, and chill until serving time. If you’re going to use this as a FILLING and need it fairly quickly, put it into the freezer to quick-chill until the cream puffs / eclairs are ready to be filled.
1-Minute CHOCOLATE GANACHE ~ sugar or sugar-free
1/2 cup any milk, cream or flavored liquid coffee creamer (for sugar-free, you'll need to use flavored liquid coffee creamer since you'll be using unsweetened chocolate and need the sweetener in the creamer. Good flavors are Sweet Italian Cream, Creme Brulee, French Vanilla Creme, Caramel)
1 bar milk, semi-sweet or dark chocolate baking chocolate ~or~ 1 bar unsweetened chocolate (you may not need the whole bar, but just in case) 8 squares
Put the milk (or whatever liquid) into a microwave-proof glass bowl and heat on HIGH for 1 minute. Put 6 squares of chocolate (broken into pieces) into the hot milk and whisk/stir until thoroughly melted and smooth. If it's too thick, you can add a little more milk (don't need to heat it). If it's not thick enough, add another square (or 2) of chocolate.
TIP: I keep extra GANACHE in a covered glass bowl in the refrigerator to drizzle on just about anything. You can keep adding more milk / chocolate as needed (reheating 1 minute in microwave each time you need it). It will keep at least 1 month.
You'll get about 8 cream puffs or eclairs, depending how large you make them. The basic choux pastry recipe can easily be cut in half, if you want. You can also cut the VANILLA CUSTARD recipe in half by using liquid eggbeaters to get 1/2 egg. 2 TB EGGBEATERS = 1/2 egg