Feeling down and out? Nothing to pick you up like a cookie cream puff!
This week I found myself beleaguered with a cold, and, unlike most people, I decided the best thing to do would be to try a technically difficult baking challenge by making some cookie cream puffs. Now, these aren't hard to make, they just take a lot of time and effort. The latter is notoriously to come by when you're put out by a cold, but I somehow was able to persist until the sweet, sweet end.
Actually, can I tell you a secret? I really hate cream puffs. They taste waay too much like egg for me. The thing is, though, Amanchu! made them look SOOO tasty, I felt I had no choice but to try it out, one more time. This show is all about cute girls doing COOL THINGS LIKE SCUUUUBA DIVING! and I couldn't be more pleased to tell you that this scuba diving anime is adorable and full of friendship and fun. My roommate recommended the show to me, since she read the manga (Sidenote: My roommate is the guru of manga. In this regard, she is my queen.), and it really is just a nice, lighthearted show to watch. In this instance, one of the characters, Futaba, is feeling down and out, so, to cheer her up, she gets cookie cream puffs!
*Wordless yodelling, reminiscent of that one fish from Spongebob* Man oh man, I would sure love to be handed a delicious baked treat to cheer ME up whenever I'm feeling upset. So, I figured, the next best thing to do would be to bake myself said dessert. Cream puffs aren't hard to make- they just take time and energy. I would recommend making this recipe in two parts- the cookie dough and pastry cream the night before, and the actual shells the next day. These guys don't keep well, though, so you'll have to eat them right away! Even though I don't like cream puffs, I gave them to my students who assured me that they were very tasty.
My recipe essentially comes right from HERE. Changes I made: Doubled the recipe to produce SWARMS of cream puffs for my students (About 48), and added further instruction to produce the perfect choux pastry. You can, and should, make the creme and cookie crust ahead. Both will keep in the fridge about 3-5 days.
- 1 cup flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 egg yolks
- 6 cups milk (100% milk, around 3.6% fat)
- 2 oz butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract OR seeds of one vanilla bean
- 4 tbs (1/4 cup)- 6 tbs butter
- 2/3 cup powdered sugar
- 2/3 cup flour
Cream Puff Pastry (Choux)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup butter, regular salted
- 3 cups plain flour, sifted
- 10 eggs
- pinch salt
Making the Cookie Cream Puffs!
Start with the custard. Combine flour, sugar, eggs, and about 1 cup of milk in a larrrrge pot/saucepan. Whisk together.
When everything is smooth, whisk in the rest of the milk. Turn on the heat to medium underneat the pot, and stir/whisk constantly. It will take a few minutes to heat up, but you'll begin to notice it thickening up quite quickly.
When it's a good consistency- bubbles plop up through the mixture when you leave it alone, and when you run your finger down the back of a spoon coated with the mixture, a firm line holds- remove from heat.
Stir the vanilla into the mixture. Strain into another bowl to remove any cooked egg in the custard. Place some foil or plastic wrap (I didn't have plastic wrap) on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until completely cold.
Let's work on the cookie crust next! I had a bit of trouble with this- I think my dough ended up too dry. I initially only added in 1/4 cup of butter, but found it was way too crumbly. I then melted in an extra tablespoon, and found it was slightly better. That's what I stuck with, but in hindsight I think I should have used a full 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) of butter.
It's easy to make though- melt butter in microwave and stir in sugar and flour. Form into a log/disc and refridgerate until ready to use.
Let's start on cream puffs. Know this in your heart- these babies are best fresh. They don't keep well overnight, ESPECIALLY not if you fill them with cream. I would recommend that you only make these when you are good and ready to fill and eat them. Start by sifting flour and cracking eggs into a measuring cup. Whisk the eggs lightly to break up the yolks.
Bring water, butter, and salt to a boil in a big pot on the stove. When butter is completely melted, turn off the heat but leave the pot on the same burner.
Dump in ALL of the sifted flour, and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. Stir until everything is completely incorporated. Keep stirring, about two minutes. This does two things: lets extra water evaporate and, importantly, cooks the flour so it doesn't taste gross. You will know your dough ball is ready when 1) there is nothing sticking to edges of the pan and it's a cohesive ball and 2) you begin to see little droplets of oil separating from the dough and coating the bottom/sides of the pan. You'll have to look closely for this sign!
When you determine dough is ready, pour in eggs bit by bit, and stir until completely mixed in before adding more. DO NOT dump it in all at once. This dough is finnicky- if you add too many eggs, it will end in failure for you. You're supposed to add it egg by egg, so incorporate in fairly small doses of egg. At first it won't mix in and you'll think you've failed. Have courage! It works in eventually.
Towards the end of the egg mixture, pay close attention. You are looking for a glossy, smooth paste. When you dip your spoon in and hold it up, the mixture should form a nice, neat V off the end of the spoon. It needs to be firm enough to stand up on its own, but smooth enough that there aren't peaks and ridges in the dough. If you reach that consistency before you add all the eggs, just stop and make some scrambled eggs for a snack. I ended up throwing away about 1 egg's worth of mixture because I felt my dough was fine without it.
And now that it's ready, prepare baking sheets. Turn oven up to 425 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. If you have a piping tip, prepare a piping bag with a large, round tip.
Take cookie dough out of fridge, and roll it out thinly. Ideally, you should be able to place discs of dough onto the top of the cream puffs. I ended up drizzling crumby pieces on top, and that worked fine too. Set aside. Fill piping bag/big plastic bag with mixture. If using a piping bag, use a round tip. Don't overfill- you don't want it leaking out the top or accidentally splitting the seam of your plastic baggie (Has happened to me. Can confirm- was a very sad day for me.). If using a plastic bag, snip a small corner off.
Pipe out circles of dough, building layers upwards. These will rise, and not expand too much. For bigger puffs, make a bigger base, and pile more dough on top.
With a wet finger, tap down any little peaks on the cream puffs. Finally, top with cookie dough. I had to sort of sprinkle/ slab it on, and it turned out fine. I wouldn't worry about being too neat.
Stick in the oven at 425 degrees for about 15 minutes. Then, lower the temperature to 375 degrees for about 10 minutes. Finally, lower again to 300 for the last 10 minutes or so. The first stage helps them to rise, the second stage helps to cook them through, and the third stage dries them out. These puffs are done when they are golden brown on top, and, when split open, the insides aren't eggy or wet. Prick the shells with a toothpick to help let them cool and stop them from going soggy. Place on a cooling rack.
When completely cooled, prepare to fill them with cream. Fill a piping bag with the pastry cream. You should use a small, pointy tipped nozzle. If you don't have any tips, just poke a small hole in the bottom of side of each cream puff. Pipe the cream in the hole/ make a hole with the tip of your piping bag. Fill until the puff becomes a bit heavy, and cream completely fills it. (Be careful- I totally overfilled a few. The cream should not be spurting back out after you set the puff down.)
And now it's done!
Cream puffs are a bit arduous to make- there's a lot of steps, and it's pretty time consuming, but ultimately the steps are pretty simple to do. The pay off is a puff that's light and crispy, cream that's wonderfully vanilla flavored, and a crunchy cookie crumble on top. Definitely an impressive treat if you want to surprise someone with a small, delicious snack.
I hope you enjoyed this post! To check out more anime food recipes, visit my blog for more anime and manga themed food. If you have any questions or comments, leave them below! I recently got a twitter, so you can follow me at @yumpenguinsnack if you would like, and DEFINITELY feel free to send me food requests! My tumblr is yumpenguinsnacks.tumblr.com. Enjoy the food, and if you decide to recreate this dish, show me pics! :D
In case you missed it, check out our last dish: Strawberry Tart from "Plastic Memories". What other famous anime dishes would you like to see Emily make on COOKING WITH ANIME?