Patty’s blackberry cream puffs

A flaky pastry bursting with freshly made whipped cream and tart blackberries is a wonderful way to start your morning.

It’s a good thing I love blackberries because I still have quite a lot of them. Last night I was musing over what to make with them, using ingredients I already had in the cupboard, as I was chatting with Best Friend.

Our conversation reminded me of the day in high school that Best Friend made éclairs on a whim (the first and only time she made them), and they were perfect. This led to inspiration, since a cream puff and an éclair are the same pastry, just shaped differently, and I thought the cavernous insides of a cream puff would be the perfect place to use some berries. Voilà!

My relationship with pastry is wary at best so I used a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook, which is available on Amazon.ca. It’s a good hardcover with a ring binding, lots of pictures and useful tips.

Time required: 1.5 hours

Yields: 12 pastries

Cost per pastry: $2.17

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $26.00

Kitchen implements I used:

  • beaters and mixing bowl
  • cookie pan
  • parchment paper

getting started

Pastry ingredients:

  • 1 C water
  • ½ C butter (one stick)
  • ½ TSP salt
  • 1 C flour
  • 4 eggs

Filling ingredients:

  • 1 C heavy cream (whipping cream)
  • 2 TBSP icing sugar
  • ½ TSP vanilla
  • 2 TBSP granulated white sugar (set aside)
  • 2-3 containers of blackberries (set aside)

Good to know before you start:
Place the mixing  bowl and beaters in the fridge now to chill them for the whipped cream – some people will say you don’t need to do this but I find it helps to make a fluffy cream

Don’t stuff the pastry with the filling until ready to serve, to prevent sogginess

Instructions:

Step 1 – preheat oven to 205°C / 400°F.  Line cookie pan with parchment paper (oops, forgot to do that).

Step 2 – measure out flour and set aside.

Step 3 – in a sauce pan, combine water, butter, and salt. Heat to boiling.

Step 4 – as soon as it boils, add all the flour (don’t let it sit boiling away or it will start evaporating). Stir vigorously until dough forms a ball, and remove from heat.

Step 5 – let mixture stand on counter for 10 minutes. Then beat in eggs, one at a time.

Step 6 – drop 12 heaping spoonfuls of dough onto cookie sheet…. hmmmm, something is amiss!  Oh well no matter.

Step 7 – bake 30 minutes and tops should be golden brown. Remove from heat and transfer pastry to wire rack. Cool at least 40 min. (Wishing I had remembered to use parchment paper because they did stick to the pan a little.)

Step 8 – meanwhile in chilled bowl with beaters on Medium; beat heavy cream, icing sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Some people recommend you wait until the cream is beaten to add the sugar and vanilla but I wanted to get back to my Assassin’s Creed game.

Whipped cream is so easy to make, I’ll never understand why people buy it in stores when the homemade stuff is so much better.

Step 9 – wash and drain the berries.  If the berries are tart sprinkle sugar onto them and toss.

Step 10 – once pastry is cooled, use sharp knife to cut a seam near bottom of pastry, and if you look inside you’ll see it’s fairly hollow.

Step 11 – stuff those bad boys with as much whipped cream and berries as desired!! In this one, the cap of the pastry is filled to capacity. XD

Verdict: Delicious! A perfect addition to afternoon tea or to round off a meal. I suspect this will be equally tasty with blueberries or raspberries, or whatever else you fancy, or drizzled with chocolate ganache. If you have never made this type of pastry before you might be surprised by how few ingredients are required, and how quick and easy it is to make.

Playlist: Meat Loaf

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