1 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups milk (skim, low-fat, or full-fat)
teaspoon vanilla extract
1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix (sugar-free,
1 ounce; or regular, 3.4 ounce)
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon
red food color, optional
Heat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment)
two baking sheets.
Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until
the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.
Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously until the mixture smoothes
out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than 30 seconds.
Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
It'll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few
Transfer the dough to a mixer, and beat in the eggs one at a time; the mixture
will look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth.
Beat for 1 minute after adding the last egg. You'll have a stiff, smooth batter.
Drop the dough by teaspoonsful (about the size of a chestnut) onto the prepared
sheets (a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here). Leave about 1 1/2" to 2" between
them; they're going to expand to about the size of a golf ball.
Bake the puffs for about 20 minutes, till they've puffed, they're a medium
golden-brown, and they look dry.
Remove baked puffs from the oven, and use a sharp knife to cut a slit into
the side of each puff, for steam to escape; this will help prevent them from
Return the puffs to the oven for 5 minutes, then remove from
the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
To fill puffs: Combine all of the filling ingredients, stirring till it's
begun to thicken.
Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Pudding can be made ahead;
puffs are best filled just before serving.
Gently open each puff along a natural "fault line;" you'll see where they
want to split. Fill bottom half of each puff with 2 measured teaspoons of filling,
and replace with top half. Too fill puffs fuller, see tip at right.
Sift confectioners' sugar atop puffs just before serving. For pink sugar,
combine sugar with red food coloring in a blender or food processor (a mini
processor works well here). Rub the pink sugar through a sieve onto the puffs.
Hands-on time: 35 mins. |
Baking time: 25 mins. to 35 mins. Total time: 60
Yield: 40 mini puffs
Tips from our bakers: The filling for these puffs can be as healthy or rich as
you like. For a healthier filling, use skim milk and sugar-free instant pudding.
For richer filling, use heavy cream in place of the milk, and either sugar-free
or regular instant pudding. Feel free to vary the flavor pf pudding, too; green
for St. Patrick's Day (with green sugar topping!) always makes a splash.
To fill puffs more generously, double the filling recipe. You'll have some left
over, but it's equally good enjoyed as pudding.
It's best to use baked puffs the same day they're made; just consolidate them
onto one baking sheet and leave them uncovered till you're ready to use them.
To freeze unbaked puffs, drop them close together onto one greased (or greased
and parchment-lined) baking sheet, cover gently with greased plastic wrap, and freeze.
When frozen, transfer to a plastic bag and seal tightly. Bake within one month.
To bake frozen puffs, place the frozen puffs (no need to thaw) on the prepared
baking sheet, leaving 1 1/2" to 2" between them. Bake for 30 minutes, or until they're
a medium golden brown.
You can also freeze baked puffs for longer storage. Re-crisp by wrapping lightly
in foil, and heating for about 10 minutes in a 350 degrees F oven.