Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Holiday Cream Puffs Recipe

Now that I have done several posts about how to keep your weight down during the holidays, I have to give you my recipe for cream puffs. I make these almost every year. The few years that I have not made them, I have felt deprived all year. I believe feeling deprived is fattening, so I mostly make them.

This is not a low fat recipe, but I have tweaked it a little to minimize the damage done by eating them. This recipe for cream puffs and also for the blanc mange filling comes from I particularly like their recipes and the variations given in their comments and the tips that others who have made the recipe give.

Cream Puffs - Shellie Wendell Modified by Yvonne

Prep Time: 30 min. Cook Time: 25  Ready in 55 min.  Servings: 20 (I usually make them bite sized, which makes a lot more of them) (The prep time is really off with my version because the blanc mange has to set at least 6 hours in a fridge.)

1 recipe of blanc mange to be used for filling (Make this the night or day before the shells.)
1 package of low fat whipped cream substitute
1 bottle of maraschino cherries

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture form a ball.

Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a
time, mixing well after each. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry.
When the shells are cool, either split them and fill them with the blanc mange mixture, or use a pastry bag to pipe the blanc mange into the shells. I just cut the tops off of the shells and hollow them out a little more with a grapefruit spoon.

I fill them using a spoon to put the blanc mange in the shells. I follow this with fake whipped cream and maraschino cherries. Last, I drizzle a little bit of cherry juice on the cherries to make it run down the whipped cream a little. I find this recipe handy for family members who live far away and can't get to celebrations on time, because I put extra shells in the freezer in a plastic container and bring then out when the late ones show up. You have to be careful and not rattle them around in the container when they are frozen, because they will break easily.

If I don't have the time to make the blanc mange, some purchased sorbet or pudding will work for filling. This looks so festive with the maraschino cherries, that you can get away with a fairly ordinary meal with this for dessert. This can be important if you already spent your holiday budget when late relatives show up for the holiday dinner and all the other good stuff is gone.

Blanc Mange - Chef Dunask Modified by Yvonne

Prep Time: 8 minutes  Cook Time: 15 minutes  Ready in: 6 hrs. and 23 minutes  Servings: 5 ( more if bite size)

Ingredients: 3 cups milk, divided  ( use low fat milk)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup white sugar (I replace part of the sugar with stevia, no more than half)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (I also add mint flavoring) optional
2 cinnamon sticks (I omit this)
1 lemon peel, cut into strips (I also omit this)
1 pinch ground cinnamon (I also omit this)
3 ounces shaved chocolate, for garnish ( I also omit this)

Place 1 cup of the milk into a saucepan.  Add lemon peel and cinnamon sticks. Bring milk to a simmer over medium heat.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and sugar.  Whisk remaining milk into the cornstarch mixture. When the milk in the pan begins to simmer, pour the cornstarch mixture into the saucepan in a thin steady stream. Whisk vigorously and increase heat just a bit to bring the mixture to a gentle boil. Allow the mixture to boil for about 20 seconds while continuing to whisk, then remove from heat. Remove the lemon peel and cinnamon sticks. Stir in the pinch of cinnamon and, if using, the vanilla (and mint).

Pour into a dish or mold, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, or overnight. Garnish with shaved chocolate just before serving.

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