January is a strange time for me. Not because of New Year's Resolutions or anything, I don't do those. September is more of a new beginning for me than January anyway. It's mostly because I'm back at school already. High school friends are still relaxing on break at home and here on campus about 1/3 of the students are off campus doing month long study abroad trips or internships. I'm here, taking an Asian film studies class and enjoying the solitude.
|Those are my feet. Cool, huh?|
Even the landscape here is silent, as if acknowledging the decreased activity on campus. Already, New Year's Eve seems a million miles away, the warmth of the kitchen just a memory. I made these cream puffs a mere three days ago, but it seems like so much longer. Funny how traveling to a new location changes one's perception of time so much.
These cream puffs are exceptionally easy to make. The filling, in my opinion, is much nicer than Vanilla Pastry Cream (which still has its place!). It's a combination of vanilla pudding, homemade whipped cream, and almond extract. Genius. I'm expecting this January term will be a time of reflection and quiet, and lots of baking. Hopefully I can find enough people in this ghost town to taste test...
from Good Housekeeping
for Pate a Choux (aka, the puffs)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
Spray 1 or 2 large cookie sheets with nonstick spray. Heat oven to 375.
In 2 qt saucepan over medium heat, heat butter, water and salt till butter mixture boils.
Remove from heat.
Add flour all at once. With a wooden spoon, vigorously stir until mixture forms a ball and leaves sides of pan. One at a time, add eggs to the flour mixture, beating well after each addition. Drop dough in heaping tablespoons (I used my cookie scoop) onto trays and bake puffs for 25ish minutes, or until golden. Let them cool completely before slicing each in half with a serrated knife.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cups milk
1 package instant vanilla pudding (one of the smaller, 4 serving size ones)
1/2 tsp almond extract.
In a small bowl, beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. In a larger bowl, prepare vanilla pudding according to package instructions, only using 1 1/4 cups of milk. Gently fold whipped cream and almond extract into the pudding until combined. Chill until ready to use. Spoon about a tablespoon into each puff and cover each with chocolate glaze. Refrigerate if not serving right away.
In a small saucepan over medium/low heat, combine 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate, 1 tablespoon butter, 1 1/2 teaspoons of corn syrup and 1 1/2 teaspoons of milk and stir until melted and smooth.