Today we are celebrating another virtual baby shower! Courtney, from Cook Like a Champion, is one of my blogging friends and I'm super excited to help celebrate the expecting arrival of her first child. If you haven't "attended" a virtual shower before, it is basically a group of bloggers who post recipes they would've brought to a real-life shower. Since we all live in different parts of the country, this is the closest we can get to an actual party. 🙂
I chose to make these cream puffs for the shower, filled with strawberries and mascarpone. Cream puffs with a plain pastry cream filling seem to be the quintessential shower food, but I wanted them to be even more special for Courtney, which is why I chose this filling.
Always wanting to try my hand at cream puffs, the intimidation of the pate a choux (the dough) was enough to stop me. If only I would have read a few recipes a while ago, my fear would have quickly subsided. It's only an easy method of boiling water and butter, then stirring in some flour and eggs one at a time! The only tricky part is the elbow grease involved when stirring in the eggs, but even that can be bypassed by using a food processor to do the work. (Let's just make it clear that I did not go the "wimpy" route and definitely used up all of my elbow grease for the week. And, let's make another thing clear, that I honestly don't really think using the food processor is indeed "wimpy". Can't have any of you mad at me now.) 😉
You can spoon the dough into individual mounds, or pipe them from a zipper bag or pastry bag. I prefer the piping method, but make sure you have the right sized hole. My experience was a little frustrated while I had to pipe the dough three times before I got it right. The first time the hole I cut in the bag was too small, so the bag burst. I scraped it all back up, got a new bag and cut a MUCH bigger hole that ended up being too big. So, I scraped the dough up again and grabbed one more bag, thinking to myself that the spooning method was going to be my next move if the third time wasn't a charm. Finally, I found my sweet spot and was able to pipe beautiful mounds just to my liking.
Let's talk about the filling...ooohhh, the filling! We had some leftover in the fridge tonight after dinner, along with extra strawberries. Right now, I'm tempted to go back into my fridge for what's left and run my finger right through it for another lick. It's THAT good! Sweet, yet subtle enough to not overpower the puffs, allowing room for the strawberries to add in the right amount of additional sweetness.
Josie (our wonderful host) and Courtney both have roundups of the complete bridal shower spread, so make sure you head over there to check out other amazing dishes!
Courtney, I can tell this group of wonderful bloggers is especially excited for you in this time of anticipation for Baby C's arrival. You are going to love being a mommy and you'll be GREAT at it! Praying for an easy labor and delivery, and a healthy sweet baby! Congratulations!
Cream Puffs filled with Strawberry and Mascarpone
For the puffs:
- 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
For the filling:
- 1 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 cup powdered sugar , plus more for dusting
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Sliced strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat; set aside.
- Using a large sauce pan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add the butter. Once the butter is melted, stir in the sugar and salt. Reduce the heat to medium and mix in all of the flour at once, stirring with a wooden spoon until the mixture forms a dough. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for 2 minutes.
- Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until each egg is fully incorporated and the dough is shiny and smooth. The dough will separate after each addition, but continue to beat until it comes back together. This will take some powerful elbow grease. Alternatively, use a food processor to mix the dough and all of the eggs at once, if desired. Either way, the dough should be shiny, smooth and thick when mixed well.
- Spoon or pipe 8 to 9 mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet, about 1 to 2 inches apart. Smooth the top of each mound with your finger. Bake in the preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 30 minutes, or until the mounds are puffed and golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before filling.
- To make the filling, whip together the mascarpone, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until stiff peaks form.
- To assemble, slice the puffs in half and spread filling on the top of the bottom half. Layer with a few sliced strawberries. Spread another layer of filling on the bottom of the top half, then place over top of the strawberries. Repeat with remaining puffs and cream. Dust the plated puffs with powdered sugar and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.