Cherry Cream Puffs



Cream puffs are one of those dishes I call workhorses–my kitchen staples. They’re a versatile treat that enable you to create any number of desserts with the same recipe using seasonal fruits. Fresh, sweet cherries are one of my favorites to add to this basic recipe. A dusting of powdered sugar completes the dish. As with most recipes, especially pastries, I recommend having all ingredients measured and ready for use before beginning. Enjoy!

Pastry

½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1 tsp. sugar

½ tsp. salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

5 eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

  2. In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine butter, sugar, salt, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, and quickly stir in the flour with a wooden spoon. Continue to stir until a film forms on the bottom of the pan.

  3. Remove from heat and transfer contents to a bowl to cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, stirring vigorously to entirely incorporate egg after each addition.

  4. For the egg wash, whisk together the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water. Set aside.

  5. Transfer the pastry dough to a piping bag, fitted with a 5/8-inch plain tip. Pipe 1½-inch rounds onto each prepared pan. Gently smooth the pointed peaks with a moistened finger, rounding tops to ensure even rising. Brush tops with reserved egg wash. Bake until puffs rise and are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let cool on sheets on wire racks. Puffs can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day.

Cream Filling

½ block cream cheese, softened at room temperature

1 tsp. almond extract

½ cup powdered sugar

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Directions:

  1. In mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add extract and sugar, combine until incorporated. Slowly add cream, then increase speed, beating until mixture is smooth. Continue to beat until it reaches desired piping thickness.

  2. Transfer cream mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/8-inch plain round trip. Poke a hole in the bottom of each pastry, insert the piping bag tip into the opening, and pipe to fill each with the pastry cream. Serve immediately.

Cherry Compote

2 cups fresh sweet cherries, pitted and sliced

¼ cup cherry brandy

1 tsp. sugar

¼ cup water

Directions:

  1. Place ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine.

  2. Continue cooking until sugar is dissolved and mixture has thickened.

  3. Allow to cool until just warm before serving. Refrigerate any leftovers.


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