Show your love with a healthier version of Cream Puffs

02/18/2014 8:26 PM

02/18/2014 8:26 PM

Editor’s note: This recipe was originally published in 2007. Are you cuckoo for cream puffs? With some savvy ingredient substitutions, the miniature pastries are the perfect splurge. Cream puffs are made from pate a choux (pronounced “shoo”). That’s French for a simple mixture of boiling water, flour and butter. Unlike other pastry doughs, choux is cooked on the stovetop to create a sticky mixture that is enriched with eggs. When baked, the eggs make the dough puff, creating a hollow middle. Before you go telling your guests that cream puffs have been declared a health food, consider the source. A basic recipe in “The Joy of Cooking” includes a stick of butter, half a cup of whole milk and four whole eggs. But The Star’s recipe for Cream Puffs reduces the butter to 3 tablespoons, skips the milk altogether and uses a mixture of whole eggs and egg whites. Likewise, Joy’s cream filling includes four egg yolks and milk. By using an egg substitute and skim milk instead, we are able to substantially reduce total calories, fat and cholesterol. •  Cooking tip: Using the microwave to prepare the filling means less time spent stirring. •  Serving tips: You may prefer making the cavity of the cream puff slightly larger by gently pulling out some of the inner, softer dough, then filling as directed. For a striking presentation, layer filling and puffs in a parfait glass. Garnish top of parfait with chocolate and, if desired, add fresh berries and a mint leaf.

Cream Puffs

Makes 12 servings

Cream filling:

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 cups skim milk, divided

1/4 cup egg substitute

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Puff shells:

1 cup water

3 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

2 large egg whites

Glaze:

2 tablespoons cocoa

1/4 teaspoon vanilla

2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 tablespoons hot water

Optional garnish: Fresh berries and mint leaves

For cream filling: Place flour, sugar, salt and 1 3/4 cups milk in a medium microwavable bowl. Whisk well. Microwave on high 4 to 5 minutes or until thick, stirring every minute.

Combine remaining 1/4 cup milk and egg substitute in a large bowl. Stir 1/4 of hot mixture into egg mixture and then blend all of egg mixture into remaining hot mixture. Microwave on high 1 minute; stir well. Stir in vanilla. Cover with plastic wrap, gently pressing plastic wrap down directly onto surface of pudding. Refrigerate at least 1 hour or until chilled. (Makes 2 1/2 cups.)

For pastry shells: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Combine water, butter, sugar and salt in heavy saucepan. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until mixture comes to a boil; remove from heat. Add flour, stirring well until mixture is smooth and pulls away from sides of pan.

Return pan to heat and cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add eggs and egg whites, one at a time, beating with a mixer at medium speed just until combined. Continue beating 1 minute.

Drop the dough into 12 mounds (slight 1/4 cup) about 2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes. Cool completely on a rack.

For glaze: In a small bowl mix together cocoa, vanilla and confectioners’ sugar. Stir in hot water to make thin glaze. Set aside.

To assemble: Cut top third from each shell. Divide filling among shells; replace top. Drizzle with glaze.

Per serving, based on 12: 178 calories (23 percent from fat), 5 grams total fat (2 grams saturated), 45 milligrams cholesterol, 29 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams protein, 147 milligrams sodium, 1 gram dietary fiber.

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