Want to feel like a bad*** in your kitchen? Do you sometimes have visitors who will be coming for tea in less than an hour and you didnt have time to prepare something? Wish you could whip up something special at the drop of a hat?
Memorize this: “Half a cup, one cup, three-quarters cup, four.”
“1/2c, 1c, 3/4c, 4.” (Say it again about 5 more times in your head. It’s SO worth committing to memory.)
It’s that simple. What is it, you may ask? Pâte à choux! You know, the fabulous balls of buttery pastry which are used for croquembouche (cream puff towers) and éclairs. (Pâte= paste/pastry, Choux= cabbages/rosettes. This is why you will always see the batter piped into small rosettes before baking for cream puffs.) However, I am not going to make either of those with it today. Éclairs and cream puffs usually use pâte à choux as a vehicle for fancy fillings. Today I am going to let it shine on its own.
As Nuns Puffs have gained popularity recently, even taking on different shapes, stories of origin, and even cooking methods, this is the original way I learned, and by far the simplest method to cook them.
All you need in addition to the ingredients is a heavy pan (I use a ceramic coated cast iron pot), a high quality wooden spoon, a muffin tin, and your muscles. Now, you already know the sequence. Lets add ingredients to it.
4 large eggs
This makes one dozen puffs. I always have to double it for my family (which is what I have done in the pictures, but not in the written recipe). Oh, and before I forget, I want to share with you something wonderful: this recipe works wonderfully with 1:1GF flours.
Liberally grease (or butter) one 12 cup muffin tin. Preheat your oven to 375.
Melt butter until it is lightly golden browned and starts to smell nutty. Add milk and bring to a simmer. I like to just barely scald it.
(I adore the look of those foamy bubbles on the edges of the milk as it begins to scald.)
Turn down the heat to its lowest setting. Dump in the flour and stir vigorously until it forms a semi-tight ball.
Just about there! Now, let it rest for 5 minutes.
Then add your eggs, one at a time. Mix it thoroughly until fully incorporated before adding each additional egg. (Sorry! I got distracted by my newborn and forgot to take a picture of what it looks like after all the eggs are incorporated.) Now spoon equal amounts into your muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes, until theyre golden brown and pull away from the edges of your tin.
I like to serve them with raw honey and a light dusting of ground cinnamon. For less than 15 minutes of prep time, this is a pleasing presentation for your family on Christmas morning, or any time at all. Happy baking!
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