Preheat oven to 450°F.
1 cup water
4 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of flour
In medium saucepan, combine water, butter, salt and sugar.
Bring to a full boil. Remove from heat, add vanilla and flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon to form a ball. Place dough in a bowl of a stand mixer and set aside.
In a small bowl lightly beat 3 eggs. Separate 4th egg and place the white in a small dish and beat lightly; reserve yolk for filling. With the mixer on low, gradually add egg mixture with flour mixture. Once all in, increase speed to medium, until combined and you have smooth dough. Stop mixer, test dough—make sure it is supple enough to hold its shape but not pasty. If it is too stiff, add the egg white.
On a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, place teaspoon-sized balls a few inches apart. Using a spritzer, lightly spray with water. Place the sheet 1 up from bottom rack in oven, lower the temperature to 425° and bake for 15 minutes.
DO NOT PEEK!
After 15 minutes, open the oven and pierce each cream puff with a toothpick to let steam escape; this helps dry out the inside. Bake for another 7 minutes. Once they are done, place on wire rack to cool. They can be frozen easily at this point for up to 1 month.
1 quart whole milk
½ cup sugar
1 pinch salt
6 large eggs yolks
½ cup flour
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Bring 3 cups of milk, sugar, and salt to simmer in heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. Once dissolved, remove from heat.
In a large heatproof bowl, whisk egg yolk and remaining 1 cup of milk until blended. Sift flour over egg yolks and mix until smooth. Next, beat in the warm milk mixture a little at a time. When all of the milk has been incorporated, pour the mixture from the bowl back to the saucepan. Cook, stirring consistently over medium heat, until it begins to boil and then reduce to low for 30 seconds.
Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract. Place cooled filling in refrigerator covered with plastic wrap touching the pudding so it doesn’t form a skin.
When you are ready to serve, horizontally slice open cream puff, add prepared cream and enjoy. Either sprinkle with powdered sugar or try your hand at building into a Christmas tree with simple sugar.
Merry, happy to all!
Carole Murko is a home cook, writer and host of “Radio Heirloom Meals” on Robin Hood Radio (NPR) at 91.5 FM in Sharon, Connecticut. She has hosted and produced TV specials for PBS. HeirloomMeals.com