So I was perusing the usual suspects within the food blog realm when I encountered entries that seemed to worship the phenomenon that is Beard Papa's cream puffs. The more I read about them the more I wanted to try one, and the more I really wanted to make my own. Beard Papa's cream puffs are notoriously different from regular French cream puffs because there is a double-layer of dough, the inside being the traditional choux pastry and the outside being a pie dough, giving the puff a crunchy texture that is unique. The real recipe is a secret that is being patented, but I had hoped to find some mock recipes I could try. I found a recipe that is supposedly similar to the puff pastry, and then used a regular cream puff custard filling recipe for the filling. The results were quite yummy, and disappeared far too quickly :)
Cream Puffs With Custard Filling (makes 20 small puffs)
Make the custard filling ahead of time because it takes a few hours before it is ready to be used for filling the puffs. Then you can make the puffs while the custard is cooling
For the custard:
1/2 cup sugar
5 tbsp flour
a pinch of salt
2 cups of milk
2 egg yolks, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Combine the sugar, salt, and flour in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Stir in milk gradually until mixture is smoothly dissolved. Bring to a boil over medium heat, be sure to stir constantly to prevent lumps from forming.
2. Boil mixture until it begins to thicken and able to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from heat, drizzle some hot liquid into the beaten egg yolks to temper the eggs. Return eggs to the saucepan and stir well. Heat until bubbling again and slightly thickened to custard texture as desired.
3. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract. Cover custard surface with cling wrap and chill in fridge for 2 hours.
For the puffs: (makes 20 small puffs or 7 large puffs – recipe from "Essentials of Baking" by Williams-Sonoma)
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup water
3 tbsp butter, cut into pieces
1/8 tsp salt (absolutely necessary!)
1/2 cup flour
2 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a saucepan, combine milk, water, salt, and butter. Bring to full boil on medium-high heat.
2. Remove from heat when butter has melted and mixture is boiling. Add in flour all at once, stir vigorously until blended. A thin film will form on the bottom of the pan, don't scrape it off, it's not meant to be mixed into the dough.
3. Continue stirring until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and forms a nice ball of dough. Cool for a 3 minutes.
8. When puffs are done baking, remove tray from oven and immediately use the tip of a sharp knife to prick each puff on the side to release steam and prevent them from getting soggy. Shut off the oven and return the puffs to the oven rack for 10 minutes to dry out, leaving the oven door slightly ajar.