Strawberry Cream Puffs

 
So let me get this straight. You find yourself in the kitchen. You see an éclair in the receptacle... and you think to yourself: “What the hell, I’ll just eat some trash.” You, my friend, have crossed the line that divides man and bum. You are now a bum.
— Jerry Seinfeld, Seinfeld (Season 6 Ep. 6)
 

Welcome back to Persona Kitchen this week everyone. I have gained a lot of new traffic within the last couple weeks so if this is your first time visiting the blog, welcome! and thank you so much for giving it a look! I'm excited to have a bunch of new friends on here. 

If you're new here, here's a few little facts about me: My name is Bella and I am 21 years old. I was born/raised/and currently living in Utah. I am semi-newly married to a pretty wonderful guy named Jacob. And of course, I have been cooking/baking since I can remember! I do all of my baking, food photography (if you can call it photography), editing, and blogging all from my small apartment. My kitchen is literally 8x5 feet but I make it work.

I started Persona Kitchen less than a year ago and it has been a lot of work but also a lot of fun. I post delicious, easy, classic, new, and dare I say, elegant, desserts every week! My favorite thing to do is take a classic dessert or its flavors and transform it into something new and interesting (i.e. my Mini S'mores Cookies or my Vietnamese Coffee Buns). If you like these kinds of things, Persona Kitchen is the blog for you!

So again, I just want to thank all of the new and not-so-new visitors to the blog. I am so excited for this new and very much welcomed traffic! 

You might be wondering what the quote above has to do with this weeks recipe or how it pertains to a food blog in general. Well everyone, Seinfeld is my favorite show of all time. And when food is mentioned and I can work it into a blog post, you bet I'll do it. I chose this quote because this week I am making cream puffs. Honestly, they are a cross between cream puffs and eclairs. George Costanza saw an eclair (minus one bite of course) in the trash can and dove in and ate it. A true lover of desserts. Admirable, isn't it? I would never eat an eclair out of the trash can because if there's one eclair in my house, chances are there's at least 20 more since I bake so often... but I thumbs to George for doing it. I really love Seinfeld guys. And Eclairs... 

Now on to this weeks recipe: Strawberry Cream Puffs. Cream Puffs are one of my favorite desserts not only because they are French (I love French stuff, everything French. C'est magnifique!) but because the base recipe is fairly simple and easy to make but can be adapted in a million different ways. Basically, a cream puff is a choux pastry shell and some chantilly cream. However, when I make cream puffs I always like to use pastry cream AND chantilly cream. I feel like the combination gives the cream puffs a little more 'umpf' if you will. I guess these really are a cross between a cream puff and an eclair which makes them simply divine. 

I decided to make strawberry cream puffs because the summer berry season is almost over so it's a great excuse to use up the last of the good berries. Also, my favorite berries are strawberries! I like having fruity desserts in the summer because I love the freshness that it adds to my desserts. My falls and winters are full of dense, rich, chocolaty, warm desserts so during the summer I go polar opposite for the most part. 

I chose to make a one-pot strawberry pastry cream using a fresh strawberry syrup that only takes about 10 minutes to make. The pastry cream itself technically takes about 2 1/2 hours since it needs to chill in the refrigerator for at least two hours to set but most of that is hands-off time. The next thing that I filled them with was strawberry chantilly cream (also called whipped cream) using that same strawberry syrup that I used in the pastry cream. I then topped them with a dark chocolate ganache and some crushed freeze dried strawberries.

I love the delicious fresh strawberry flavors (I really hate artificial fruit flavors) in the cream puffs and aesthetically I think they turned out beautifully. These would be perfect to serve at a brunch, baby shower, bridal shower, any event really would benefit from having these little Strawberry Cream Puffs! And the best part... you can use any berry you prefer! These would be amazing with raspberries or blackberries! 

If you try this recipe please share your photos with me on Instagram or Pinterest @personakitchen! Thanks for visiting the blog this week everyone! Xx


Strawberry Cream Puffs


Makes about 24 Cream Puffs

Ingredients:

For the Pâte à Choux (the pastry shells)

  • 1 Cup Water

  • 8 Tablespoons Butter

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Diamond Kosher Salt

  • 1 Teaspoon White Sugar

  • 4 Large Eggs

  • 1 Cup All Purpose Flour

  • 1 Egg + 1 Teaspoon Water, whisked

For the Strawberry Purée

  • 1 Pound (16 Ounces) Strawberries, washed, dried, and cut into quarters

  • 1/4 Cup White Sugar

  • 2 Tablespoons Water

For the Strawberry Pastry Cream

  • 1/2 Cup Sugar

  • 1/4 Cup Cornstarch

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Diamond Kosher Salt

  • 1 1/2 Cups Whole Milk

  • 1/2 Cup + 3 Tablespoons Strawberry Purée, divided

  • 4 Egg Yolks

  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream, whipped to medium peaks

For the Strawberry Chantilly

  • 1 1/2 Cups Heavy Cream

  • 1/4 Cup Powdered Sugar

  • 2/3 Tablespoons Strawberry Purée

  • 1-2 Drops Red Food Color Paste (optional)

For the Dark Chocolate Ganache

  • 2 Ounces (about 1/4 Cup) Dark Chocolate, finely chopped *see note

  • 4 Ounces (1/2 Cup) Heavy Cream

  • 1/2 Cup Freeze Dried Strawberries to garnish, crushed

 

Directions:

For the Strawberry Purée

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, add all of the ingredients and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the strawberries have become very soft and have released a lot of their natural juices, about 10 minutes.

  2. Transfer the mixture to a small food processor (or blender) and pulse until it becomes a smooth paste. Pour the strawberry purée through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl to catch the seeds and any remaining large chunks. Set aside.

For the Strawberry Pastry Cream

  1. In a medium-sized saucepan, add the sugar, cornstarch, and salt and whisk until no lumps remain.

  2. In a large measuring cup, add the milk, 1/2 cup of the strawberry purée, and egg yolks and whisk until fully combined.

  3. Slowly pour the strawberry/milk mixture into the pot with the dry ingredients while stirring constantly. Whisk until no lumps of dry ingredients remain. Add in the butter and mix.

  4. Turn the heat on to medium and cook until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon, 5-6 minutes.

  5. Pour the pastry cream through a fine mesh sieve set over a bowl to catch any lumps. Mix in the remaining 3 tablespoons of strawberry purée until fully combined.

  6. Cover with plastic wrap, allowing the plastic wrap to touch the entire surface of the pastry cream (this will make it so a 'film' doesn't form on the surface of the pastry cream) and refrigerate for at least 2 hours but preferably overnight.

  7. Once the pastry cream is fully chilled, remove it from the fridge and give a good mix to loosen it up. Gently fold in the 1/2 cup of whipped cream (this loosens up the pastry cream to make it more light).

  8. Once the pastry cream has chilled, transfer it to a piping bag and snip the end off with scissors when ready to use.

For the Pâte à Choux (the pastry shells)

  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium-sized saucepan, add the water, butter, sugar, and kosher salt. Heat over medium heat until the butter is completely melted. Add all of the flour while stirring constantly. The dough will start form into a ball after a few seconds. Continue to cook the batter until a film starts form on the bottom of the saucepan, about 2 minutes.

  3. Once the batter is cooked, transfer it to a large bowl. Let the batter cool down for 2 minutes. Now, add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing fully in between each egg. The batter will look curdled and messy when you add each egg but just keep mixing and it will all come together.

  4. Once all of the eggs are added, transfer the batter to a large pastry bag fitted with a large round piping tip.

  5. On your baking sheet, hold the pastry bag perpendicular to it and pipe 1 1/2 inch circles about 2 inches apart. You can print out templates and place it underneath the parchment paper to get uniform choux shells. If any of them have little "kiss" pointy tops, lightly dab your finger in some water and gently pat it away so each puff has more of 'dome' top.

  6. Once you have piped out all of your choux puffs lightly brush them with the egg wash.

  7. Place the choux in the oven on the center rack and bake for 25-30 minutes. They should be golden brown.

  8. Remove the choux shells from the oven and let cool completely on a cooling rack while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

For the Dark Chocolate Ganache

  1. In a bowl, add your chopped chocolate. Set aside.

  2. In a small saucepan, add your heavy cream and turn the heat to a low-medium and bring to a simmer-- do not let it boil!

  3. Once the cream is simmering, pour it over the chocolate and shake the bowl around to make sure each piece of chocolate is covered. Let is sit for a full 5 minutes to heat up the chocolate. After it has rested, whisk the ganache until fully combined. Set aside.

To Assemble the Strawberry Cream Puffs:

  1. Start by cutting all of the pastry shells in half crosswise.

  2. Next, fill the bottom half of the pastry shell with the strawberry custard but leave a little bit of room in the shell.

  3. Next, hold the pastry bag straight up (parallel to the shell) and pipe a circle of cream in the pastry shell, slightly going over the edge of the shell. Then pipe a small dome of cream in the center of/on top of the first layer of chantilly-- this gives the top of the shell something to rest on. Place the top half of the puff on top of the chantilly cream.

  4. Using a spoon, place about 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate ganache on top of the cream puff and gently push it out with spoon so it drips down the shell a little bit. Top with a little sprinkling of the crushed freeze dried strawberries.

  5. These are best if eaten within the same day that they are made but can be put in an airtight container and refrigerated for 3-4 days. They also freeze very well. Just store in an airtight container and let them defrost in the fridge for 24 hours before eating.

 

Notes:

*Use a good quality chocolate. Since there are only a couple ingredients in chocolate ganache, you need to use a good quality chocolate to have a good flavor. I always get a bar that has at least 60% cacao. Another thing, always buy a bakers bar of chocolate, not chocolate chips or a 'candy' bar of chocolate. These usually contain a large amount of stabilizers and emulsifiers (ie soy lecithin) which can alter the consistency of the ganache (ever notice how a chocolate chip holds it's shape even after being baked in the oven?). I buy the 70% Guittard Chocolate Bars from my local grocery store or the 72% Dark Chocolate bars from Trader Joe's and they usually come in 4 ounce bars! I find that both of those brands work really great in ganache.