Kat of The Bobwhites was our August 2012 Daring Baker hostess who inspired us to have fun in creating pâte à choux shapes, filled with crème patisserie or Chantilly cream. We were encouraged to create swans or any shape we wanted and to go crazy with filling flavors allowing our creativity to go wild!
If you’ve never made cream puffs/profiteroles, eclairs, beignets, gougères, churros, etc., then we’re in the same boat, at least until this challenge. I’m not sure why I had never ventured into the choux pastry world, but it seemed to be really easy to make. You just melt butter with water and salt, mix in flour, then eggs. It smells oddly (deliciously) like mashed potatoes, by the way. Related: Did you know that Parisian gnocchi is this stuff cooked in boiling water?
Making swans seemed a little cheesy for my tastes, but figured I’d give it a go. Don’t the bodies look like noses? And I had a nerdy moment piping out the necks, but it was because my landlady was in the room asking me about music stuff. I don’t think she had seen an alto or bass clef before. Sadly, all of those squiggles burned to a crisp because they were too thin and I forgot about them for a minute. However, I had extra choux paste to make more swan necks.
Imperfect piping is imperfect!
As for the filling, pastry cream is something I have made before, so that was also easy. An even simpler option would be to fill the baked pastries with whipped cream, but call it Chantilly cream so you sound fancy.
This is the kind of thing that really should be eaten the day of, so I definitely had a fair share of them, but then also found other stomachs among which to distribute them. Phew! It sounds like you can refrigerate the choux paste for up to a day before piping, so cream puffs could be an impressive, yet easy dessert option for a dinner party.
Thanks to Kat for the fun challenge! I used the recipes she provided in her challenge write-up. (Note: there isn’t a baking time mentioned for the pastries, but I just winged it…)