I had a luncheon today with some girlfriends. We all had our babies within a month of each other. We all had GIRLS! So we get together every month to hang out and eat and let our babies play together. It's a lot of fun. Today we had lunch at my house. I fixed some grilled chicken, grilled vegetable pasta salad (recipe below), greek salad (recipe to come), and for dessert...... berry cream puffs.
My husband insisted we didn't need a dessert for lunch. Puh-lease. I told him what I was thinking of making and he quickly jumped on board. LOL I guess you can have dessert with lunch!
I didn't want to do your typical strawberry shortcake, but I did want a fresh, fruity type dessert that screams SPRING! When I was at the store picking up supplies, I saw blueberries and blackberries with the strawberries. Mmmmm.... oh yah.
We made cream puffs daily at the bakery and filled them with pastry cream folded in with whipped cream, and topped the puff off with some ganache. Very popular. Making cream puffs isn't difficult, and they don't take very long to make. You will get a great upper body workout though from working in the flour and the eggs. Let me show you how to make them.
In a pot, put 1 cup water, 1/4 cup butter (cut up), and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil.
While you're waiting for the water to boil, break open 4 eggs and put in a bowl or measuring cup. You want to have all of your stuff ready to go because it's going to go fast and you won't have time to do all of this.
Butter a cookie sheet (I took that pat of butter off after I took this picture).
You want to butter this because those cream puffs will stick horribly bad if you don't.
When the water comes to a boil and the butter is melted, dump in 1 cup flour. Stir immediately using a wooden spoon. Stir until the flour is cooked and it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and form a ball. Remove from the heat.
Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring well between each addition. This is what it will look like when all the eggs have been added. The reason why you want to add one at a time is if you dumped all of them in, it would cool your dough down too fast and you will get the wrong consistency and your cream puffs won't "puff" up the right way.
Spoon the dough into a pastry bag and pipe in a circular fashion little "hives". I made these puffs big today. Normally you can get about 8-10 regular sized puffs out of this recipe. You can easily double the recipe to make more.
Bake in a 375* oven for 35 minutes or so. You want them to be nice and golden brown. If you pull them out too soon, they will collapse as they cool. Big concern is you want to make sure the centers get cooked. Pull too soon and it'll be doughy inside. Our motto at the bakery with these were overbaking was better than underbaking.
Allow to cool.
In a bowl, mix together your berries. Like I said earlier, I used blackberries, blueberries, and sliced strawberries. Add a little sugar and some lemon juice. Let the berries macerate for awhile.
To assemble, cut the top off your cream puff. Take some whipped cream (which you can whip up while the puffs are cooling) and put a large dollop on the bottom half. Spoon some berries on top of that, then add another little dollop on top of the berries. Put the top back on.
Using a sieve, put a little powdered sugar in it and then tap lightly on top of the cream puff to dust them.
Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
[Chef's notes: Cream puffs are great for parties. Make the puffs a lot smaller and fill with chicken salad, or with pastry cream or just whipped cream. You can make them up ahead of time and freeze.]