I know I've been completely MIA during the holidays, but this tasty little treat makes up for it! Christmas just flew by and before you know it we'll be in 2014! Can you believe I used to think the holiday season was busy before I had my little guy? These days, I barely have time to make coffee in the morning! Enough excuses...I finally got around to making these cream puffs–and let me tell you–these are no ordinary cream puffs. They are filled with a deliciously seasonal Chai pastry cream. It's a fancy little New Year's eve dessert that can be made in advance. Just fill the puffs when it's time to serve. Happy New Year to all and here's to a kick-ass 2014!
1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. In a saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil. Turn off the heat and stir in the flour, mixing until it comes together in a large smooth lump. Transfer to a bowl and, using an electric mixer, beat in the eggs until smooth and fully incorporated. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon large mounds of dough on to the baking sheets, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until the puffs are golden. These are best served immediately, but they will keep in an airtight container for a day or two.
Chai Pastry Cream
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 Chai tea bags (4 if you want extra Chai spice)
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a saucepan, heat the milk, salt and vanilla and chai teabags over medium heat until small bubbles form around the edges and it's just about to boil. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, cornstarch and eggs. Slowly add in about 1/2 cup of the hot milk, whisking constantly so you don't cook the eggs. Then add the mixture back into the saucepan of milk, whisking constantly, over low heat until the mix is very thick. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter. Strain pastry cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. (Place the plastic wrap directly on the surface to avoid pastry cream "skin".) Refrigerate until chilled, about an hour, or up to 2 days.
|Don't skip the straining step! No-one likes a lumpy pastry cream.|
Assemble the Puffs (best assembled just before serving)
Spoon the Chai pastry cream into a piping bag with a 1/4" opening (or zip lock with the end snipped off). The puffs will easily split open, then pipe the pastry cream in until completely full. Stack cream puffs and dust with powdered sugar and cinnamon.