For the Party Tray: Profiteroles with Lemon Custard

If you are regularly a cookie/cake home baker but have an adventurous spirit, try making custard-filled cream puffs!  They are an elegant dessert to take to a party potluck and really not so bad in terms of difficulty.  They just need a chunk of your time and attention.  See my post on making the basic choux pastry (puff pastry shells).  You’ll need to make one batch of puff pastry shells.  Then make the lemon custard.

What is tricky about lemon custard is that work is done at the stove and you need to use your sixth sense to know whether your concoction has been done right.  Aside from keeping myself organized, I’ve found that the hardest part about custard is standing at the stove and stirring and stirring and stirring.  You’ll need to “cook” milk, sugar, flour, and cornstarch. You then need to add in, ever so carefully, the egg yolks by first tempering them off the stove with some of the milk mixture and then adding the egg mixture back into the milk mixture to cook some more on the stove.  If you fall asleep at the wheel, you’ll have scrambled eggs!   Instead, you must watch the mixture until it thickens sufficiently, which means that it needs to be able to coat a spoon.

If you swipe your finger across the spoon (like to taste it), the remaining custard should stay put on the spoon and not fill-in the gap made by your finger-swipe.  Pour the warm custard into a bowl and mix in your taste enhancers:  butter, vanilla extract, and lemon zest and juice.  Press plastic wrap into the bowl so that the custard does not form a skin as it cools.  Here is a picture of the cooled custard after I took it out of the refrigerator.

To fill your cream puffs with this delicious custard, cut off the tops  of the shells and dollop some custard on the bottoms.

 

Put the tops back on, but a little off-center.  Make your chocolate glaze right after you’ve filled the puffs.  Drizzle the chocolate on and they are ready to be served!  The more imperfect they are put together, the more enticing they seem to be!

While cream puffs risk getting soggy bottoms if they are filled too early before serving, my experience is that an hour or two of sitting on a tray before consumption won’t lead to a tragedy.  These cream puffs are absolutely delicious and well worth the effort!

Print Recipe
Choux Pastry Shells (Cream Puffs)
Copyright © 2017 HollyTrail.com
Course Basics
Cuisine French
Servings
2 inch puffs
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 5-6 large eggs at room temperature
Course Basics
Cuisine French
Servings
2 inch puffs
Ingredients
  • 1 cup milk
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
  • 5-6 large eggs at room temperature
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400⁰F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mat (preferred).
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine milk, butter, sugar, and salt.
  3. On medium heat, bring to a boil, stirring frequently (with a wooden spoon) until butter is melted. While stirring, add all the flour at once.
  4. Stir quickly until dough forms a ball and ceases to cling to the sides of the saucepan, about 30 seconds. A light crust should form on the bottom of the saucepan. Do not overcook or over stir. Remove from heat and transfer dough to a large bowl.
  5. Either by hand with a wooden spoon, or using an electric mixer at the lowest speed (paddle attachment), mix in the eggs, one at a time. Fully incorporate each egg before adding in the next egg. Do not mix too vigorously or else you’ll have too much air in the dough. Dough will be ready if your spoon can pull up some of the dough, the dough comes off from the spoon slowly and forms a peak (bending). If the dough is ready, the last egg is not necessary to add.
  6. Use dough immediately while still warm. Fill a pastry bag with the dough, or use a gallon Ziploc bag, cutting off the tip.
  7. Squeeze enough dough around the tip to form 2 to 2 ½ inch mounds. Leave at least 2 inches between each puff.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. Leave in oven an additional 10 minutes. Cool on rack.
Recipe Notes

Fill puffs close to serving.  Puffs may be frozen until ready for use.  Defrost at room temperature before filling.

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Print Recipe
Profiteroles with Lemon Custard
2017 © HollyTrail.com
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings
Puffs
Ingredients
Lemon Custard
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks (from large eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Juice of one lemon
Chocolate Glaze
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature,
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)
Cream Puffs
  • 20 medium (2 inch) cream puff shells
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings
Puffs
Ingredients
Lemon Custard
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 egg yolks (from large eggs)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • Juice of one lemon
Chocolate Glaze
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup (optional)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature,
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (6 ounces)
Cream Puffs
  • 20 medium (2 inch) cream puff shells
Instructions
Make the Custard
  1. Bring the milk to a simmer in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat.
  1. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, flour, cornstarch and egg yolks. While continuing to whisk, gradually add about ½ of the scalded milk into the egg mixture. While off the burner, transfer the egg mixture into the saucepan with the rest of the milk.
  2. Return the pan to the burner set to medium heat. Whisk the mixture constantly until the custard begins to thicken, bubble, and coat the back of a spoon. This may take several minutes.
  3. Transfer custard to a small bowl. Mix in with a whisk or spoon vanilla extract, butter, lemon zest and lemon juice. Mix until the butter melts and the mixture is well combined.
  4. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard to prevent a skin from forming.
  5. Refrigerate until completely cooled, about 2 hours. Keep refrigerated until ready for use.
Fill Cream Puffs
  1. Soon before serving, cut each cream puff in half horizontally.
  2. With a soup spoon, dollop some custard onto the bottom half of each cream puff. Place the tops on the custard filling.
Drizzle Chocolate Glaze
  1. In a medium saucepan, heat water, corn syrup, and butter until butter is melted and mixture begins to boil. Take off the heat. Add all of the chocolate at once, and mix until well combined. If the mixture is not runny enough to drizzle, mix in more melted butter, a tablespoon at a time.
  2. With a spoon, drizzle chocolate glaze over the tops of the cream puffs. Serve as soon after assembly as possible.
Recipe Notes

The custard can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days.

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