Cooking with Kyle: Delicious cream puffs and eclairs

OKLAHOMA CITY – The perfect spring dessert – made bite sized for little hands and new Easter dresses and suits! Added bonus: these are best filled shortly before serving, but the Puffs/Eclairs and fillings may be made in advance.

This recipe will yield 30-36 small Puffs  or Eclairs and will require 3 cups of filling.
1 C water
1 stick butter (i prefer unsalted; in either case, must be real butter)
1/4 t salt
1 C flour
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 400
Lightly sift together salt and flour.
In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add water and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and add flour. Using spatula, mix thoroughly until mixture forms a “ball.”

Transfer “ball” to bowl – use either an electric mixer or a stiff whisk and whisk in eggs, one at a time, blending thoroughly between each egg. For Puffs, use a teaspoon (1″) or tablespoon (2″) or a small scoop and drop on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. For Eclairs, place dough in zipper sandwich bag, having cut off a corner. Pipe 2-2.5″ of dough on parchment. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. *Allow to cool thoroughly, uncovered. Best method is to remove from cookie sheet and cool on wire rack. Do not refrigerate. May cover, but only after thoroughly cooled. Fill as close to serving as possible.

3 egg yolks
3 cups whole milk or half & half
1/2 C sugar
1/3 C cornstarch
1/4 t salt
3/4 t vanilla extract
(Optional for chocolate filling: 3 T cocoa powder) Sliced or minced fresh strawberries (optional and a few will go a long way) Powdered sugar for dusting

In a medium bowl, beat egg yolks. Stream in milk while whisking until combined.
In a medium saucepan, sift together sugar, salt and cornstarch. (Also cocoa powder if making chocolate filling) Slowly add milk and egg mixture while mixing until combination is a smooth paste. Continue whisking and gradually adding milk/egg mixture.

Place saucepan over medium low heat. Stir constantly until mixture thickens and comes to a boil – roughly 20-25 minutes.
Remove pan from heat immediately: place saucepan in bin of ice or very cold water. Continue stirring to hasten cooling process – 3-5 minutes. Stir in vanilla flavoring. Transfer to a bowl, cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and set.

As soon as possible before serving, slice Puffs/Eclairs and spoon custard into each. Top custard with sliced or minced strawberries. Replace top of pastry. Dust with powdered sugar.