After voicing concerns about the relative difficulty of making eclairs (some might say “whining”), a few friends recommended making cream puffs instead. Same general concept, but much less aggravation. They were absolutely right. There’s no pastry cream involved. There’s no need to break out the piping bag and strive for uniformity when portioning out the dough. And, perhaps most importantly, there’s no sink full of dishes once completed. Total time from start to finish? About and hour. As a man who needs at least one nap a day to function properly, that’s important.
I made them with a mint whipped cream because the combination of chocolate and mint is awesome, but you can forgo that and just use the regular ol’ variety if you’re boring and hate good things.
For the Pâte à Choux
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup whole mile
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- 1 cup flour
- 4 eggs
For the mint whipped cream
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
For the ganache
- 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
For the puffs (makes about 12)
- Listen to this song, ’cause it’s awesome.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium pan over medium heat, whisk together water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt and bring to a simmer.
- Remove from heat and add the flour all at once. Using a wooden spoon, mix until the dough begins to pull from the sides of the pan.
- Let sit for about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated. Initially, it’ll look like the dough is curdling. Keep at it. It’ll eventually smooth over.
- Drop 2 – 3 tablespoon balls of dough onto prepared cookie sheet about 3 inches apart. I used two-tablespoon a cookie scoop. If you feel like needlessly complicating your life, using a piping bag and make them pretty.
- Bake for 10 minutes. Drop temperature down to 350 and bake for another 25 minutes (turn off your oven at the end).*
- Remove from oven and, using a knife, cut a slit in the top of each puff allowing the steam to escape. Transfer to a wire rack.
- Let ’em sit for about 10 minutes before cutting (or pulling) apart to make top and bottom pieces.
For the mint whipped cream*
- While your puffs are baking away, bring water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan (your basic simple syrup recipe). Add mint and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes moving constantly.
- Remove from heat and strain into a bowl (use a coffee filter to ensure there are no errant bits of mint). Refrigerate until cool.
- Combine heavy cream and mint simple syrup in a large bowl. Using a hand mixer with the whisk attachment, mix until thick (hard peaks should form).
For the ganache
- In a microwave safe bowl, combine cream and chocolate chips. Microwave in 30 second increments, mixing between each time, until smooth. Allow to completely cool.
Cream puff construction
- Layer the bottom halves with whipped cream and gently replace their tops.
- Drizzle with chocolate ganache.
- Serve immediately, but not before taking a picture to send your mom.