These favorite dessert (or even breakfast) items travel well.  Just keep them a little cool so the pastry cream filling doesn't turn, even though it is cooked.

Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News
Kathy Whyte/ WNBF News

Traditional Mini Cream-Puffs with Pastry Cream (Prep. time about 1 and a half hours. Makes 2-3 dozen depending on size of puffs)

Pastry shell

1 C. water

½ C. butter

4 eggs

1 C. flour

Pastry Cream filling

2 C. milk

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 C. sugar

pinch of salt

2 egg yolks + 1 whole egg

¼ C. corn starch

2 Tb. butter, cut in small pieces

(decoration: tubed gel icing in desired color or a glaze of powdered sugar and milk stirred to desired consistency)

Preheat oven to 365.  Heat water and butter to a boil in a medium sauce pan.  Stir in flour.  Reduce heat and continue to stir until dough pulls away from the side of the pan and rolls into a ball.  Vigorously beat in all the eggs until the dough is smooth.  Spoon onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, giving pastries room to spread a little and bake about 20 minutes until golden brown.

While the pastries are baking, bring the milk for the filling almost to a simmer.  Remove from heat.  Wisk the eggs and set aside.  Stir the vanilla, sugar and corn starch into the milk.  Whisk about ¼ C. of the warm milk into the beaten eggs, whisking vigorously.  Slowly whisk the tempered eggs into the milk and whisk in the butter until melted and blended.  Allow the cream to cool and thicken.

After the cream is cool and thick, poke a hole in the pastries and, using a pastry bag with a medium to large tip or a zip top bag with a corner cut off, fill the pastries with the cream.

(Decorate with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, sugar and cocoa, gel drizzles or glaze)

* Hack shortcut:  You can substitute boxed pudding mix for the pastry cream.  It just won't be vegetarian.  Few people know things that contain gelatin are not vegetarian unless designated so*



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