Cream puffs are made of Choux pastry (pronounced shoo pastry) or pate choux which is a very famous French pastry. It is said that they are named as they look like a small cabbage or 'choux' in french. Besides cream puffs, choux pastry is used to make Eclairs and Profiteroles.
It is an unusual pastry which is first cooked on stove and then baked in the oven first at a high temperature and then on low temperature and this makes them puffy and crispy.
The idea of these cute shaped cream puffs came from an incredible blog Anna the red. These puffs have been described with extensive illustrations and great tips.
This also introduced a novice like me into the world of cartoons. Totoro is a character from a Japanese animation who is the guardian of the forest possessing special abilities and can be only seen by children.
Though very sheepishly I admit that mine looked more like a cat !! I missed out on attaining those pointy ears and my little one has no ear!!
|The Totoro characters|
Ingredients: Makes about 6 puffs
- 3 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3 tbsp refined flour, sifted
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tbsp powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 200 degree Celsius.
Prepare a baking tray by lining it with a sheet of aluminium foil and lightly grease it.
Sift flour, salt and powdered sugar.
Put water and butter in a pan and bring it to a boil.
When it starts boiling take it off the flame and add all the flour mixture at once. Stir very well.
When the pan is cool enough that you can touch the bottom with a finger, add the beaten egg 1 tbsp at a time. Stir well. In the beginning the egg and flour may look separate but if you keep stirring it will smoothen.
Remember to add a tbsp of beaten egg at a time and stirring with all your arm strength. This is because you may not need the entire egg as their size varies.
What you need to achieve is the consistency of the dough where when lifted with a spatula, the dough falls in 3-5 secs.
Now put the dough in a zip lock bag or any plastic bag and snip off one end.
On the prepared baking tray, make a rough pear shape with the dough for the body. For the ears pipe some dough on the head end. If there are any pointy parts, use a wet finger to press them down.
(I made 5 such and little one with this recipe)
Put in the oven and bake for 10 mins. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN. This is because in the first 10 mins the pastry puffs up in the high temperature oven.
Check if your pastry has puffed up and has risen well. If not give some more time.
Now reduce the temperature of the oven to 176 degree Celsius and bake for 15 mins. In this time and reduced temperature the pastry gets well cooked from inside.
Take them out while still warm and make a slit in the bottom. Let them cool.
For the filling, I took the cheat's way out and made a strawberry custard from store bought powder. All you need to do is boil a cup of milk and add 3-4 tbsp of the powder dissolved in cold milk/water. Add sugar to taste and your custard is ready.
Very carefully fill the prepared puffs with this custard lest you break the super crispy puff, like I did!
Now to give life to these super cute puffs all I did was grabbed my white chocolate from the fridge. I let it sit out for 10 mins till I went mad running around Vannya who had merrily opened my cupboard and was throwing everything on the floor!!
Once I got the situation in temporary control, I made round shapes for eyes of the now slightly gooey white chocolate. With the help of a toothpick and chocolate sauce I drew whiskers, eyes and a little nose.
Vishal was back from office and was very sweetly and patiently waiting for me take pictures before we all could jump on these cuties for tea.
The little cream puff obviously went to my angel who just gobbled it in one go. A satisfied affirmation that she enjoyed :):)
I had taken a bite from one puff to take a picture showing the filling and had kept aside. When I returned to take it, I saw it wasn't there. My suspicion obviously went on Vishal but we soon realized who the real culprit was. It was my daughter Vaanya who was happily gorging on the puff. Must admit it was one of the sweetest feeling, my sweetheart loving and enjoying my handmade puffs. I must make them again for her very soon.
Vaanya had such a crazy time squishing the custard out of the now soggy puffs. Here is a picture of the demolition.
I had a super great time making these very easy and cute characters. A fun and quirky way to eat your cream puffs esp for a kid party (not taking away any excuse for adults to gorge on them)
Almost forgot to mention..hope you noticed my hand made tatting doily underneath the plate of cream puffs. Wonder when did I have the time to do such extensive work.
Linking this recipe to a fun event Bake along hosted by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours, Lena from Frozen wings and Zoe from Bake for happy kids
Happy Cream Puff Eating