A couple of weeks ago we were invited to a friends' house to watch a football game. When I asked what I could bring, my friend said, "Well... my husband's birthday is on Monday and I was going to make him a cake, but he doesn't like cake. So I was wondering if you could come up with a good dessert?" Boy, no pressure or anything! Actually it was a fun challenge. I didn't want to show up with just cookies or brownies, and I wanted to bring something that would be conducive to football-watching (finger food), and yet be interesting/fancy enough for a birthday semi-celebration.
And so I made these babies. They were so yummy.... if they were in front of me right now I'd gobble up four or five in no time :)
2 c water
1 c butter (2 sticks)
1/4 tsp salt
2 c flour
In a large saucepan combine water, butter, and salt. Bring to boiling. Add flour all at once, stirring vigorously. Cook and stir until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat. Cool for 10 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with a wooden spoon after each addition. (Get ready for lots of stirring... this part is a real pain but it will be worth it!)
Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 30-35 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack. Cut tops from puffs; remove soft dough from inside. (I don't cut the tops all the way off; I leave them attached on one side so they'll stay together better later.)
1 box instant vanilla pudding mix
1 1/2 c milk
1 c cream
1 T sugar
Combine package of pudding with milk; whisk for 3 minutes and put in fridge to set. Meanwhile, put cream and sugar into a medium, chilled mixing bowl. Beat with a hand mixer until it's completely whipped. Remove pudding from fridge; add whipped cream to pudding and gently fold together.
Put a heaping spoonful (however much you want) of cream filling into each baked cream puff. Top with chocolate glaze if desired.
4 oz semisweet chocolate (or about 2/3 c semisweet chocolate chips)
3 T butter
1 1/2 c powdered sugar
3 T hot water (or more)
Melt chocolate and butter in a medium saucepan over LOW heat, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Stir in powdered sugar and water. Add additional hot water if needed to reach drizzling consistency. Spoon over filled cream puffs.
Store cream puffs in the refrigerator.
To make these into true eclairs, they need to be that long skinny shape. Put cream puff dough into a frosting bag fitted with a large plain round tip (about 1/2" opening) and pipe fat strips of dough onto a greased baking sheet. This recipe will yield about 24 eclairs; I got about 3 dozen smaller-sized, round cream puffs out of them, each being about 3 inches in diameter.
Note: this cream filling recipe is my favorite for banana cream pie! Prepare a regular pie crust (baked), slice 2-3 bananas into the bottom of it, and fill with one batch of this filling.
Cream puff and chocolate glaze recipes courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book