Mini Martha: Paris Bakes Cream Puffs with Pear & Almond Pastry Cream
I really love cream puffs. They're airy and silky, a little savory, and a bit sweet. I've only ever had vanilla, chocolate, and coffee cream puffs, so to turn them up I filled them with pear pastry cream. These are kinda insane––please make them!
Cream Puffs with Pear and Almond Pastry Cream
Puffs (David Lebovitz recipe):
1 cup of water
½ a teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of sugar
6 tablespoons of butter
1 cup of flour
4 large eggs at room temperature
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon of milk
Pear and almond pastry cream (adapted from Epicurious):
4 Bartlett or Bosc pears
1 cup of white wine
¾ cup of sugar
4 egg yolks
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 vanilla bean
1 ½ tablespoons of butter
½ cup of heavy whipping cream
1–1 ¼ teaspoons of almond extract divided
1. Put the wine in a medium-sized pot. Start with the pears: peel and core two pears (insert the knife through the bottom of the pear and rotate to hollow the pear and take out the seeds). Set these aside. Take the other two pears and grate over a sieve. Use a spoon to mush the pear against the sieve to release the juices. Transfer the pear mush to a damp paper towel and squeeze the juices out into the pot of wine.
When all the juices are squeezed, pour out the wine pear mixture into a two-cup measurer. If the mixture does not add up to two cups, add enough water to make it reach that point. Pour the mixture back into the pot.
Cut off 1/3rd of the vanilla bean and split. Add the split pod into the wine mixture. Add the sugar. Put the mixture over medium heat and whisk until it boils and sugar is dissolved. Once the mixture is boiling, turn down the heat a little and add ½ a teaspoon of almond extract. (Mixture may bubble up.) Add the two peeled pears. Cover with a top and set a timer for 20 minutes. Halfway through, at 10 minutes, flip the pears over.
2. While the pears are poaching, make the puffs. Preheat the oven to 425. Heat the water, salt, sugar, and butter in a pot until the butter is melted. Take off heat and add the flour. Continue whisking until the dough gathers in the center of the pot. Let cool for two minutes and then add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. The mixture will become yellow and shiny.
Cover a sheet pan with parchment paper. Either scoop the dough with a spoon or fill with a pastry bag, and make 12 blobs of dough.
In a bowl, whisk together the ingredients of the egg wash and brush over the dough mounds. Bake for 30-35 minutes. If the puffs start to collapse when taken out, immediately place back in the oven; they are not done cooking. One minute after they are taken out of the oven, pierce a hole into the side of the puffs to let steam escape.
3. As the puffs are cooling, make the pastry cream. Take the pears out of the poaching liquid, cut off the stems and place the pears in a Cuisinart or a blender. Blend the pears until smooth. Take the vanilla bean out of the poaching liquid. Pour the liquid into a two-cup measurer. The liquid should reach at least 1 1/3rd cups. If it doesn’t, add enough water so that it does.
In a pot, whisk the egg yolks and cornstarch. Add the 1 1/3rd cup of poaching liquid. Scrape in the seeds from the remaining 2/3rds of the vanilla bean. Heat over medium heat until the mixture begins to boil. Whisk rapidly for two more minutes. Add the butter, pureed pears, and the rest of the almond extract (½ a teaspoon to ¾ of a teaspoon depending on taste), and whisk. Pour the pear cream into a bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. When done chilling, whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form. Fold into the pastry cream.
4. Time to assemble the puffs! Place a small round tip into a pastry bag. Twist the opening of the pastry bag leading to the tip so that the cream will not leak out. Place the bag in a large cup and fill the bag with the cream. Fold over the top of the pastry bag so the cream does not escape from the top.
Widen the holes already pierced into the puffs. Untwist the tip of the pastry bag and stick the tip into a hole of a puff. Fill a little bit. It helps to hold the puff so you know how heavy the puff is getting from the amount of cream. When the puff is full, take the tip out and move onto the next one. Repeat with all of the puffs.
There will be extra cream; it is great in a tart shell or even spread on Nilla Wafers. If you want, you can dust with powdered sugar but it’s not necessary––they’re absolutely perfect without it.
JUST EAT IT