Cream puffs. Or really, Pate Choux. You can make it. I made it, so you can, too. And you can get fancy with them - for half of this batch, after I portioned out the sweet ones, I added a handful of sharp, grated English Cheddar, some cracked pepper and minced rosemary to the remaining paste and made some savory puffs. They are so good, and I think they'll be especially good with soft scrambled eggs, some caramelized onions and lardons tonight.
But for real. Who are we kidding? Go traditional. Split and gluttonously spoon whipped cream (tainted with a little vanilla sugar and sour cream) between the caps, drift with powdered sugar and serve to those you want to love you a little bit more. Or your own mouth. They go so nicely with champagne or coffee, day or night. Also, they're best eaten next to a dumpster, alone, in the cold and dark winter night.
Or maybe in a limo with Johnny Weir while Ke$ha's 'TiK ToK' plays and you get glitter eyelash extensions and the faces of favorite pets and pop stars airbrushed on four-inch long acrylic nails.
DECADENCE IN 2010. WHO IS WITH ME.
Adapted from The Brown Eyed Baker (She has beautiful step-by-step photos and directions using a food processor, so if mine are lacking hop over there and take it all in)
5 TBS butter
2 TBS milk
6 TBS water
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs + 1 egg white, beaten well and measured to 1/2 a cup (reserve excess for egg wash)
1/2 cup AP flour
3/4 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1 TBS granulated sugar
1 tsp powdered sugar
2 TBS sour cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
Powdered Sugar (to garnish)
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. Take out a light-colored sheet pan, and either line it with parchment or silpat, or don't - I didn't, and had no sticking issues.
Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed saucepan, melt the butter, milk, water, sugar and salt, bringing to a boil. Remove from heat, which you should turn down to low now, and dump in the flour. With a wooden spoon and all your muscles, begin to beat together the pot's contents, which should look and feel like a lot of thick roux.
Return to the (now very low heat) burner and beat it up, beat it down, drag it along the sides and bottom of the pot, streaking your spoon through it. After a minute or two, the mixture will have pulled completely away from the sides of the pot and the bottom of the pot will look like it is sweating butter.
Now remove from the heat, count to five and pour in half (1/4 cup) of the egg mixture. Really whip the eggs into the dough, which will not shun them - the dough will begin to loosen and turn satiny and smooth and golden. Dump in the remaining half or 1/4 cup of the egg mixture and beat that in as well. Continue to stir furiously until the dough is shiny and elastic, another minute or two.
You can do whatever you want with this now - eclairs, puffs, obscene symbols. I chose to use my mini ice cream scoop to portion out blops of the dough, which grow in size considerably during baking. If you want many mini puffs, use a Tablespoon, or a pastry bag.
Now that your puffs are ready, dap the tops with egg wash, making sure to push down any peaks (which will burn) and place into the oven. Bake for 12 minutes at 425, then turn down the oven to 375 and bake for 8-10 more, then remove from the oven, cut a slit or poke a hole in the side and return to the NOW OFF oven for 45 minutes more - prop the oven door open with a spoon, as suggested in the original recipe, or just crack it open.
Once done, cool completely on a wire rack. Do with them what you will. I suggest filling them with a mixture made by whipping the heavy cream and granulated sugar to firm peaks, adding in the sour cream, vanilla and 1 teaspoon of powdered sugar. Then dust with powdered sugar. You just saved the day.