Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Mini Cream Puffs

These deliciously light choux pastry puffs have an exquisite lemon and cream filling. Serve for dessert or as a special afternoon tea treat. Recipe makes about 18 puffs.


1/2 cup all-purpose (plain) flour
2 ounces (50 g) unsalted butter
2 large eggs, beaten
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 ounces (50 g) unsalted butter
Finely grated rind and juice of 2 small lemons
3/4 cup caster sugar
7 fl oz (200 ml) carton double cream
Icing sugar, to sift
Mint leaves and strawberries, to decorate


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a large baking tray with melted butter, then sprinkle lightly with cold water.
2. Sift the flour onto a square piece of greaseproof paper. Put the butter in a heavy-based saucepan with 5 fl oz (150 ml) water.
3. Place saucepan over a low heat until the butter melts. Increase heat to medium and bring to the boil. Working quickly, pour all the flour in and beat with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat and beat vigorously, just until the mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan. Cool slightly.
4. Beat in the eggs a little at a time, beating well after each addition, until smooth and glossy. Drop tablespoons of the mixture onto the prepared baking tray. Bake for 20 minutes, or until well risen, golden brown and crisp. Leave to cool in the oven, with the door ajar, for about 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire cooling rack; pierce the side of each puff with a sharp pointed knife to release the steam.
5. For the filling, put the eggs, butter, lemon rind and juice and the sugar into a heatproof mixing bowl. Stand over a pan of simmering water and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to heat gently, stirring constantly, for 20-25 minutes, or until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
6. Cut the mini puffs in half horizontally and remove any soft dough. Spoon the filling into the base and top evenly with the double cream.
7. Replace tops and sift lightly with icing sugar. Transfer to a serving plate and decorate with mint and strawberries.

Tip: Water is sprinkled over the buttered baking tray to create steam in the oven, which helps the choux pastry rise well, yet remain tender, during baking.

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