Peaches ‘n’ Cream Puffs
Here’s a recipe for a true summery dessert that features crunchy, creamy, fruity and delicious in every bite.
Here’s what’s involved: Start with a simple pate a chou dough to yield supple, buttery cream puffs that are then filled with a scoop of handmade fresh peach ice cream. Make the ice cream a day before you wish to serve it so that it is well-frozen and the flavors are mellowed. On the day you wish to serve the desssert, make the cream puffs. For these, the dough, which is unique in that it is cooked twice—once on the stove and then in the oven–is made from just six ingredients—butter, water, flour, eggs, sugar and a pinch of salt.
If you have the time, for another layer of deliciousness, you might consider making either a caramel (boiled burnt sugar and heavy cream) or raspberry sauce (pureed fresh raspberries, slightly sweetened and sieved of seeds) as an accompaniment.
For the pate a chou:
1/2 c. (4 ounces or 119 grams) water
3 T. (1-1/2 ounces or 47 grams) sweet unsalted butter
1/2 c. plus 1 T. (2.5 ounces or 70 grams) all-purpose flour
2 whole large eggs (approximately 3.3 ounces or 93 grams)
1 t. (.12 ounce or 3.4 grams) granulated sugar
To make the dough: In a medium-sized sauce pan, over high heat, bring the water and butter to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and then add the flour and salt all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and resembles mashed potatoes. Remove from the heat and transfer the mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer, outfitted with a paddle attachment (or mix by hand, using a wooden spoon) and add the sugar and one egg, beaten, mixing until the egg is fully absorbed before adding the second egg. The mixture should be thick enough to flow slowly and hold a shape when spooned or piped out onto a baking sheet.
To bake: Position one oven rack halfway up from the bottom of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon or pipe out four evenly sized round mounds of dough. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F. oven for about 10 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 375 degrees F and continue baking until fully puffed and well browned. Remove from the oven and set onto a cooling rack. Once cooled, store in an airtight container. These may soften some but may be reheated in a 350 degree F. oven to re-crisp. Let cool before filling with the Peach Ice Cream. (See recipe below).
For the Peach Ice Cream:
Make the creme anglaise (custard sauce base) as follows:
1 c. (1 pint or 16 ounces) whole milk
3 egg yolks from large eggs (approximately 2 ounces or 60 grams)
1/2 c. (4 ounces) heavy cream
1 t. vanilla extract
Prepare a bowl of ice and water and have ready another bowl that will fit on top of the ice water and set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until light in color.
In a heavy saucepan, heat the milk to simmering. Slowly add the hot milk into the egg yolks and sugar mixture and then heat the mixture carefully, stirring constantly without aerating, until the mixture reaches 185 degrees F (the mixture should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon). Add the salt and stir just to dissolve. Immediately pour the cooked mixture through a fine meshed sieve into the bowl set over an ice water bath. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla extract and set aside.
To prepare the peaches and complete the ice cream:
Depending on their size, you will need 1 or 2 peaches
Place the peach (or peaches) briefly into a pot of boiling water to help remove the skins. Remove from the hot water and peel the fruit (the skins should come off easily now). Cut the fruit in half, removing and discarding the pit. Cut into cubes as desired. Set aside in a bowl and reserve to add to the ice cream once it has thickened and is semi-frozen.
Freeze the ice cream mixture in the machine of your choice. When the ice cream is semi-frozen, fold in the prepared peaches, taking care to distribute the fruit as evenly as possible throughout the ice cream. Place the finished ice cream into a container with tight-fitting lid and place in the freezer overnight.
To assemble the dessert:
Using a serrated knife, slice the puffs horizontally. Scoop the ice cream and place into the bottom of each puff. Place the top halves of the puffs onto the ice cream and serve immediately, either as is, or with a caramel or raspberry sauce, as desired.