Oh glorious fall, how I miss you. There is nothing quite like the smell of rotting leaves hanging on the air. That and the many smells that spill out of kitchens nation-wide. It’s something dear to me, but unfortunately, Peru only experiences two seasons, neither of which include fall. So, I only get to live out fall precariously through desserts. That’s not too bad right?
When I first embarked upon this idea of using pâte à choux I was planning on making éclairs, if you had seen my posts via Facebook you would´ve seen that. I wanted to make éclairs with a pumpkin filling and cream cheese glaze. However, I was quickly brought back to the reality of where it is that I actually live. I live at 12,000 feet above sea level. I was excited to start up on THK again. It has been too long that I haven´t posted anything new, mostly because I burnt myself out. Well, this recipe about did that in one strike.
I´m going to share with you some things about pâte à choux that I learned in my three different attempts that carried me through several stages of insanity. I was ticked that out of all the different recipes I found only one included what I thought was key to making pâte à choux. Only use the amount of eggs you need to get the consistency you need. Seriously, I was so mad when I found this after two failed attempts. Well, I gave up on the éclair idea, so I did a fall rendition of choux à la crème instead. Though, still with paté à choux and the pumpking and cream cheese! Even then, our elevation effected how much the dough would rise.
I certainly wish that they had puffed up more, but I did what I could. I spent unspeakable hours slaving in the kitchen today. I started at 10 am and didn’t get done until 5 pm. I’m not being dramatic when I say that I have near blisters on my hands from stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon today. I do not want to scare you away from making these cream puffs though! They were actually well worth the trouble. Next time, I’ll know exactly what to do and I won’t have to utilize as much prayer as I did today.
At one point of this process I really was sitting in front of my oven praying to God that He would make my PUFFS PUFF!
There are three parts of the recipe: dough, filling and glaze.
You know, I’m just going to refer you to the site I got the dough recipe from. They explain it rather well, probably better than I could. http://www.annamariavolpi.com/pate_a_choux.html But, read on first.
I will note that it’s key you follow every step closely. It is rather technical. The consistency of the dough in the end should be not of mayo, like that site says, but rather between mayo and playdough. It should hold it’s shape if you spoon it out onto a surface, but it should not be extremely stiff.
Something else that made me want to rip out my hair was that the majority of pâte à choux recipes I found were all in METRIC. I despise you metric. Only because I have nothing to measure you out with.
1/2 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 tbsp butter, melted
4 large eggs
2 cups of milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp clove (ground)
If you’re using pumpkin pie filling, like Libby’s then you shouldn’t have to worry about the spices, you could add a little more, because you’re practically deluding it in the cream you’re creating.
In a bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, butter and eggs in a large sauce pan. Then mix in milk slowly as not to create lumps. Put over heat and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Cook until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and set aside.
I roasted my own pumpkin, because finding canned pumpkin in Peru would cause an aneurism. It’s no problem finding pumpkin here either. The pumpkin in the first picture in this post is zapallo, what I used for this recipe and yields a great substitute for any recipes that call for the convention pumpkin one might find in the States.
If you already have you pumpkin puree seasoned dump it in with the cream and stir. If not, measure out your pumpkin puree and add the seasonings. You may want to put this over a medium heat and add milk so the flavors set into the puree. Then add to the cream. Add more spices as needed.
When the puffs are cooled and ready cut them open with a serrated knife and spoon pumpkin cream into the centers and put the tops over the cream to form sandwiches.
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, butter, and vanilla in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. I put this over a low heat until the frosting melted and then spooned this out over the puffs. You can sprinkle a bit of cinnamon on top for garnish.