Happy Monday! My weekend was completed with a Moon Festival family dinner, a hotpot dinner, some leftovers and non-stop eating these mini cream puffs.
When I was a kid, Moon Festival was a big deal. A lot of home-cooked Chinese food, fresh fruits, moon cakes (although I am not a big fan), small and giant lanterns…The most important part of this festival though is that kids were literally allowed to play with fire! We used to be crazy about lighting candles, let the wax drip in an empty moon cake tin, and re-boil the wax inside. Thinking back now, I don’t understand why I found it fun. But kids are kind of hard to explain sometimes. This absurd wax-boiling activity was dangerous as kids could easily get burnt. It also left a big mess on the street considered how much work it involved to scrap the leftover wax from the ground. Being said that, this activity is one of my most vivid childhood memories of what Moon Festival used to be like in my home town!
Now let’s talk about these cream puffs. Like I said, I am not a fan of moon cakes, so we had these for dessert during our Moon Festival dinner. Cream puffs are extremely easy to make. The shells might look intimating to work with, but it’s not! The whole process requires stove-top cooking, food processor blending and oven baking. Well, it sound like a lot of work. But all it takes is dish washing. Honestly I can’t see how you can fail that! The filling can be pastry cream, whipped cream or even ice cream if you are done spending time on making the cream puff shells.
Ingredients (36 mini cream puffs):
Coconut Pastry Cream
1 cup whole milk
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
Cream Puff Shells
1 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs
100 grams dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
To prepare pastry cream, cook milk, coconut milk, coconut and salt in a saucepan over medium heat to bring the mixture just to a boil. Stir occasionally.
While the milk is cooking, in a bowl whisk together egg yolks and sugar until the mixture becomes pale. Add cornstarch and flour, mix until smooth.
Slowly add 1/3 of milk mixture to egg mixture, whisking continuously. Pour the milk-egg mixture back to the saucepan. Cook over low heat and whisk continuously until the custard is thickened, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
Pour the custard through the sieve and into a bowl.
Let cool for 15 minutes. Put a plastic wrap right on top of the cream to prevent skin forming. Refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.
To prepare cream puff shells, preheat oven to 400F. Grease two 24-cup or one 48-cup mini muffin tin.
Bring water, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and comes together in a ball, about 2 minutes.
Remove pan from heat. Let cool for 10 minutes.
Transfer dough to a food processor. Beat in the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating after each egg addition. The mixture will become smooth and glossy.
Scoop a tablespoon into each muffin tin. Use a wet finger to smooth out any rough spots on top of the dough.
Bake for 20 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
Remove the pan from oven. Immediately use a toothpick to pierce the side of each cream puff, pull it out of the tin and onto a wire rack to let cool completely.
To prepare ganache, place the chocolate, heavy cream and corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Stir the mixture using a wooden spoon until melted and smooth. Let cool slightly.
To assemble, cut a slit in a cream puff shell, fill with one tablespoon pastry cream. Grab it with its bottom, dip it in ganache to coat the top, let excess drip off. Place on a serving plan and sprinkle with coconut. Repeat with the rest.
Store cream puff in refrigerator before serving.