April 25, 2011

Éclairs (Cream Puffs)

These are the best cream puffs I've ever eaten, and they're easy to make! Store-bought ones are always too greasy for my taste, though I still eat them of course. :)
Note: Make sure you use INSTANT pudding. Makes about 24 small cream puffs, depending on the size.

Éclairs (Cream Puffs)

1/2 c butter
1 c water
1 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 10-oz pckg instant vanilla pudding
1 c milk
2 c whipped topping

1. Filling: Mix vanilla pudding, milk and whipped topping in a medium bowl. Cover and refrigerate.
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet and grease with cooking spray.
3. Bring butter and water to a boil in medium saucepan.
4. In a large bowl, mix flour and salt; dump into boiling butter and water. Cook, stirring vigorously until mixture forms into a ball of dough. Place dough back into large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until smooth after each one.
5. Place a scoop (melon baller or cookie scoop) of dough on greased cookie sheet about 2" apart. (They will triple in size while baking.) Wet your fingertips and gently smooth any lipping (peaks) on each ball of dough. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. Puncture small hole in top of each to allow steam to escape. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before inserting cream, as much as each puff can hold. Use a frosting bag or sandwich baggie and cake decorating tip to insert filling through steam holes. OR cut pastry in half and spoon filling inside. Top with powdered sugar or chocolate; see "Toppings" options below.
7. Refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze up to 3 weeks. Serve cold.

Option 1 - Sprinkle with powdered sugar right before serving.
Option 2 - Remove lid and seal off a container of milk chocolate frosting; microwave for 30 seconds. Spoon over puffs.
Option 3 - Melt 1 c chocolate chips with 1 tsp olive oil and stir until smooth and creamy. Dip tops of cream puffs, or use spoon to drizzle it on, decorating as you wish. Set puffs in freezer or refrigerator to let chocolate set before placing any coverings over them.

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