Monday, April 12, 2010

Ahhhh....You're Nuthin' But A Creampuff.

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?

I mean......other than me?

Okay, okay. Seriously, my sister Kathy asked me to make something for our annual Easter family gathering. I mean, aside from the usual cupcakes and cakeball pops. She gave me this recipe saying that she had sampled it at a friend's house and it was a show stopper. And as you can see from the is. It is so easy and quick to make it's almost ridiculous. In fact, I had to re-read the recipe twice just because I thought I missed something. But I didn't. So fasten your seat belts, because this one is going to change your life.

I used my large Creuset, a.k.a. Big Blue and followed the painfully SIMPLE instructions.
1 c. water
2 sticks OR 1 cup of butter
1 c. flour
4 eggs

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
1 large pkg. vanilla instant pie filling
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 (1 oz.) squares unsweetened chocolate
2 tbsp. butter
1 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4-5 tbsp. hot water

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, then heat water and butter to boiling in 1 quart saucepan; stir in flour. Stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball, about 1 minute. Remove from heat. Add eggs, beat until smooth. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls onto greased baking sheet to form about an 8" ring. Smooth top with spatula. Bake until puffed and golden, 45 to 55 minutes. Cool ring, cut off top with sharp knife. (Pull out any soft dough) Beat heavy cream until it forms a fairly firm peak. Combine 1 cup milk, pudding/pie filling mix and extract in medium mixing bowl on low speed until blended, about 1 minute. Combine heavy cream and vanilla pudding mixture and fill cream puff ring. Replace top of cream puff ring. In a double boiler or small saucepan over boiling water, blend chocolate and butter, stirring until chocolate melts; remove from heat. Blend in sugar and vanilla, gradually stir in enough hot water until glaze consistency is reached. Drizzle over top of cream puff ring.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Then add 1 cup of water....

and a cup of butter (2 sticks) and bring to a boil in a large pot or heavy pan.

Once the butter is melted,

Add 1 cup of flour...

...and stir vigorously together until the mixture forms a soft ball, then remove from the heat.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 4 eggs and add to the flour and butter mixture.

I usually always crack the eggs in a separate bowl so I can catch any rogue shell pieces. Did you ever eat a piece of cake and all of a sudden crunch down on a piece of eggshell?? Ahhhhhh! Gag me.

This is where an electric hand mixer comes in handy. You can whip the everlivin' daylights out of a batter in a flash!

Once the batter is thoroughly combined, you can either drop the batter by heaping tablespoons onto a lined cookie sheet OR you can pipe the batter on with a decorative tip. Can you believe I just said that?? I just gave myself chills. I sounded just like Martha Stewart................NOT.

I am a huge fan of parchment paper. It's neat and it's clean. No fuss, no muss.

Bake your Creampuff Ring for 45-50 minutes or until it is golden brown. If you see the tops getting a little too brown, you can cover it with tinfoil.

It's a thing of beauty, isn't it?

Once it was completely cooled, I used a serrated knife to slice it in half horizontally. Now pull out all of that doughy pastry inside and throw it away. Why? Because we all know that the middle is the fattening part, that's why. Geez, some people. Anyway, when you slice the ring in two, some of the cream puffs may break off , but it's easy to hide once the chocolate sauce is on. Haven't I always taught you that chocolate sauce solves many problems???

Moving on.........I used my big mixer with the whisk attachment to whip the heavy cream, while in another bowl I mixed 2 cups of very cold milk with one large box of vanilla pie filling/pudding.

Then, I added them together.

The mixture should thicken up almost to the consistency of soft-set pudding. Once the Creampuff is refrigerated, the filling will finish setting up really well.

Again, I have to be difficult, right?? I usually use a glass vase to hold my piping bag open while I fill it.....but keep in mind that it's just as easy to spoon the filling into the Creampuff. This is just my obsessive-compulsive baking side rearing it's ugly head. Please ignore me when I get like this.

See? Spooning the filling works just as well.

Moses, I am such a fanatic sometimes.

If some of the Creampuff breaks apart, DO NOT BREAK GLASS. DO NOT PANIC. DO NOT CALL 911.

You'll be fine. Once you replace the top half, no one will know. Except the dog, of course.

And she's not telling anyone.

So now comes the really fun part. The chocolate.

Be still my heart.

This is yet another deadly chocolate recipe. Seriously, it's heart-stopping. Quick! Go and make some right now. I'll wait.

2 squares of unsweetened chocolate

2 tablespoons of butter

1 cup of confectioners sugar (powdered)

1 teaspoon of vanilla

4-5 tablespoons of hot water

Heat the chocolate and butter over a double boiler.......or just use a small pan over another pan of boiling water. Once it's blended, remove from the heat and add the confectioners sugar and vanilla and stir it well. Add the hot water gradually to get the consistency thick enough to adhere to the Creampuff, but so runny that it falls off the top.

Think Hot Fudge Sundae.

In fact........wouldn't that be a great saying for a bumper sticker? Unless of course you are a lifetime member of Weight Watchers. Then..........I could see how you may run into some problems at the annual convention.

Um, what was I saying?

Oh yes. Of course. THE CREAMPUFF. Once I finished drizzling and dolloping the chocolate fudge sauce over the top of the Creampuff, I reserved a little extra whipped cream to make some decorative little toppers.

Then I added some beautiful little red raspberries which had been dunked in a "smidge" of the chocolate. You know................for color. Then I filled the centers with fresh strawberries. I was going to dip them in chocolate too, but that's another post for another time.

The end result of this CreamPuff was heart-stopping. See? Aurelie doesn't know whether to slice into it or just karate-chop it with the serving knife.

It was all so exciting. And delicious. And when all of the screaming was over..........there was nothing left on either plate except the crumbs.

And maybe a couple of tears of joy.

So are you still sitting here reading this?

Jeepers. You could have made two of them by now.