Actually, I was about to start this story by telling you how much I love choux pastry, especially when it comes as a cream puff. But I will not. First, I have already started this way at least twice, and second, why on earth should I create something, eat something, and share the recipe of something I do NOT love? That wouldn't make any sense, would it?
Instead, I will start by telling you one of my childhood stories. Yes, you're right, I have already started that way once, when telling you how my parents didn't allow me to fry donuts in our kitchen. But this story is different, I promise. Besides, I have tons of really nice baking-related memories from when I was (even) younger. I even think some of them might be the reason for me having this blog right now.
Well. When I was EVEN younger (sorry, I have to repeat that, I just turned 30), and with that I mean when I was around 10 years old, I loved cream puffs. But not those fresh, tasty and gorgeous ones you buy in your favorite bakery. Instead, I loved the deep-frozen, industrially manufactured ones. Urgh, I know, that's a shame, especially because they're mainly tasting of the cardboard they're wrapped in. But that's just how it was!
By the way, that reminds me of how I used to prefer canned asparagus to fresh one. My mother still teases me with that story and I am afraid that this is exactly what I deserve. Even though I am asparagusianized now ;)
Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, the deep-frozen cardboard cream puffs. One day back then, I was bored and craved so much for these little goodies that I decided to prepare them by myself. That cardboard aroma wouldn't be too difficult to imitate, would it? I found a nice recipe and was all set for my first cream puffs but it actually took me quite a while until I really dared to make some. Why so, you may ask?
Well, to give you a proper explanation, I have to teach you some German. In Germany, choux pastry is called "Brandteig" which means as much as burned dough or fire dough. Up to that day I have only known the German word for cream puffs, which is "Windbeutel" (wind bags, if you translate it word by word). But that recipe described the dough as BRANDteig! Honestly, that sounded so dangerous, especially to a 10-year old girl. As if the tiniest mistake would burn down our house!
When I finally screwed up all my courage and made my first Brandteig, I was positively surprised: No fire, no bursting flames, not dangerous at all, and, on top of that, pretty simple and mouthwateringly tasty, even without that cardboard aroma. Which I actually never missed ;)
After all these years, it was time to write down this recipe but I have to admit that it's not my own. I got it from a GU cook book. Plus, I heard of the terrific idea of getting delicately flavored cream by refrigerating it overnight with some coffee beans some months ago, but I cannot quite remember when or where exactly. Anyway, I just wanted to share this delicious combination with you.
Ah, and one more thing! You may be wondering about the connection between the book on the picture, which actually is Leigh Bardugo's Six of Crows, and cream puffs. Honestly, is there anything better than a weekend spent on the couch with your favorite book and some cream-filled choux pastry? I think, there isn't. Just give it a go!
Prep time: 40 minutes
Baking time: 20-25 minutes
Furthermore, coffee beans are incubated in cream overnight
Ingredients for 8 cream puffs
125 ml water
30 g butter
75 g all-purpose flour
2 eggs (size M)
2 dashes of salt
35 g coffee beans
200 g cream
3 tsp vanilla sugar
1 sachet cream stiffener (basically a powder of modified starch that prevents whipped cream from turning liquid again, very common in Germany)
Electric hand mixer, fitted with a dough hook If available: Piping bag with big star-shaped nozzle. If not, two tablespoons will also do.
The night before, combine cream and coffee beans in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. Pour mixture through a sieve prior to serving on the next day and whip cream together with vanilla sugar and cream stiffener. Using a piping bag, fill coffee-flavored cream in cooled choux pastry.
Heat fan oven to 180 °C. In a small saucepan, combine water, salt, and butter and bring to a boil until the butter has melted . Remove quickly from heat and tip in the flour all at once. Over medium heat, stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture resembles a smooth ball-shaped dough.
Return to the heat and continue beating the dough for two minutes, while a thin white layer should form on the bottom of the saucepan. Put dough in a medium bowl and leave to cool for 10 minutes before gradually beating in the first (!) egg.
Using an electric hand mixer, beat the dough well and add second egg by the spoonful until the dough is smooth and glossy. Depending on the size of the eggs, two eggs might be too much.
Using a piping bag, put spiraled blobs of a diameter of 5 cm on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Leave enough space between two blobs as choux pastry easily doubles in size while baking.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until fluffy and golden. Slice in half immediately after baking and leave to cool on a rack. Fill with coffee-flavored cream prior to serving and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Note: Choux pastry tastes best when fresh but keep kind of okay if refrigerated overnight. Make sure you do not cover filled pastries as they would end up pretty soft.