I know the old blog has been very Pumpkin Heavy these days, so I think I will call this the last of the series. Until I do more. Okay?
We had a get-together at Friend MaryLou’s house a couple of Sundays ago, and the theme of the evening (we always have a theme) was Food You Can Eat With Your Hands. I made some lovely lamb meatballs with tzatziki sauce to be jabbed with a toothpick for ingestion, and for dessert, I made these little guys–pumpkin profiteroles. Lovely, not only because they are alliterative, but because when you bite into them, you are rewarded with a mouthful of yummy pumpkin pastry cream. Try them; I think you’ll like them.
Haven’t worked with pâte a choux much? Fear not; I am here to help with an episode of PMAT Live!
As a bonus, this recipe makes about 36 puffs but more pastry cream than you’ll need to fill them, so you’ll have leftover cream for Just Plain Eating. You’re welcome.
For the Shells
- 1/2 cup (4 ounces) water
- 1.75 ounces unsalted butter
- scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 2.5 ounces all purpose flour
- 2-3 large eggs
For the Pastry Cream
- 1 cup milk
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, (I used demerara)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, , or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- heavy pinch apple pie spice or pumpkin pie spice
- several gratings of fresh nutmeg
- 4 Tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) heavy whipping cream
To Make the Shells
- In a medium saucepan, bring water, butter, salt and sugar just to a full boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and dump flour in all at once.
- Stir vigorously until incorporated. The dough will be the consistency of mashed potatoes.
- Cook, stirring, for a minute or two to dry the dough just a bit.
- Remove from heat and stir to cool down a bit. You may also transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. If using a mixer, turn it on medium-low to allow the dough to cool.
- Either by hand with a wooden spoon or in a mixer, mix in the first egg. Stir and stir, because it will take a bit to force the egg to mix with the heavy dough.
- When the egg is completely incorporated, add the second egg and mix in. Check the dough--it should just barely flow. Refer to the video for the proper consistency. If the dough is a little dry still, break the third egg into a bowl and beat it well. Stir in 1 Tablespoon of beaten egg at a time until the dough is Just Right.
- Fill a pastry bag fitted with a round tip (or a zip top bag) with the dough. Squeeze out small mounds of dough on a Silpat or parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat and bake at 300F for another 10-15 minutes, or until the sides of the puffs are firm. Only check them after 15 minutes total baking time to keep them from falling.
- When done, remove and let cool on racks. Fill with pastry cream and refrigerate until serving time, no more than 4 hours.
To Make the Pastry Cream
- In a medium saucepan, whisk together all ingredients except for vanilla and whipping cream.
- Bring to a boil over medium to medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Mixture will be extremely thick. Once it boils, continue to cook and whisk for another minute.
- Immediately pour mixture into a fine mesh strainer and push through into a bowl. Stir in vanilla.
- Place a piece of plastic wrap on the surface of the pastry cream and refrigerate until cold. To speed things up, you can also stir the pastry cream over an ice bath.
- Whip the cream to medium peaks. Stir in a portion of the pastry cream, and then whisk all the whipped cream into the pumpkin mixture.
- Fit a pastry bag with a star tip (the sharp points of a star tip will help to cut a hole in the bottom of the profiterole to fill it).
- Pipe each puff full of pumpkin pastry cream. Serve as is or dust with powdered sugar. You can also make a cream cheese drizzle if you want, but these puffs are pretty rich and yummy on their own. You won't even miss the glaze. Promise.
If you're feeling kicky, pipe the pate a choux into either full-sized or mini eclairs instead of profiteroles. An espresso and/or chocolate glaze would be perfect on pumpkin eclairs.
You can make the shells a day or two in advance. If you do, cool them completely and store them in a zipper bag at room temperature. Before filling, recrisp them in a 325F oven for ten minutes, cool and then fill.
If you’d prefer to lighten these up a little, reduce the amount of cornstarch to
2-3Tablespoons and lose the whipped cream.