This is classic Boston cream pie reimagined and there is nothing more satisfying than a cream puff! Kids adore them and so do adults. They are easy to make and a fun individual treat that's perfect for a buffet or a causal party.
Technique tip: The cream puffs can be assembled, covered and chilled up to 4 hours in advance. Let stand at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
Special equipment: Piping bag fitted with 1/4-inch tip.
For the puffs:1.
Preheat the oven to 400°F with racks in the upper and lower thirds. Line three baking sheets with parchment paper.2.
Combine the butter, salt and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan and bring to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour. Using a wooden spoon, stir continuously until the mixture is smooth and glossy, about 1 minute. Return the pan to the heat and cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the dough forms a ball, pulls away from the sides of the pan, and a skin forms on the bottom of the pan, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow the dough to rest for 1 minute. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, until the eggs are well incorporated and the dough is smooth.3.
Dip two spoons in water, then shake off excess. Scoop a walnut-sized piece of dough with one spoon. Use the other spoon to push the dough onto one of the prepared baking sheets. Repeat with the rest of the dough to create 24 mounds total, spacing them 1 inch apart on two of the baking sheets. Bake, rotating and changing racks halfway through, until the puffs are golden brown and sound hollow when lightly tapped, 28-30 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let the puffs cool completely.
For the custard:
In a medium saucepan, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch and salt. Slowly whisk in the milk and cream. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture starts to thicken, then whisk until smooth. Continue whisking until the mixture is very thick. Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and butter until incorporated.
Pass the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill until cold, at least 4 hours or overnight. When cooled, transfer custard to a piping bag fitted with a 1/4-inch tip. Set aside.
For the glaze:
Set the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, bring the heavy cream to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and allow to sit for 2 minutes. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool for about 10 minutes before assembling puffs.
Make a small hole in the bottom of each puff using a paring knife. Insert the tip of the piping bag and pipe the custard into the pastry, being careful not to overfill. Dip the top of each filled puff in the chocolate glaze. Repeat with the remaining puffs.