For a person who repeatedly declares that she doesn’t have a sweet tooth, the list of desserts in the index might call that into question. It seems a mite long for one who professes to lack the requisite sugar crush. But I liken my sweet tooth to an introvert, preferring to sit quietly and discreetly in the back row, mostly avoiding unwarranted attention. But once noticed, there’s no denying its power to create havoc. I’m not saying that introverts are trouble-makers, but having lived with one for 45 years, I know to always expect the unexpected.
But I digress. Cream puffs in any form will put my sweet tooth on high alert, but what really put me over the cream puff ledge last week was firstly the ideaof a coconut pie cream puff, and then secondly, the actuality of getting to eat one. It might just be awhile before my sweet tooth is willing to sit quietly in the back row again.
If you've never made cream puffs before, you'll be amazed at how easy they are. There's just one part where you have to do some stirring; OK, a lot of stirring. But I'm going to assume that we've all previously stirred something in a pan, so this most likely isn't a deal breaker.
And the creamy filling is basically a luscious pastry cream with the delicious addition of coconut milk. The recipe called for also adding shredded coconut, but I couldn't quite texturally go there, so I stirred in a bit of coconut extract (the real stuff) and it was absolutely just right. There's also some coconut milk in the cream puff itself, so we're getting our coconut fix at every level.
Alrighty then, people, just in case you need to calm the sweet tooth beastie...here's the recipe...
Coconut Pie Cream Puffs
Recipe adapted from Buzzfeed
These are just as advertised, people… so incredibly scrumptious. I made a couple of changes to the recipe which I would highly recommend. The first was to eliminate the shredded coconut and add a teaspoon of coconut extract (not flavoring) instead. The other change I made was to simply slice the top off of the cream puff, pipe in the filling and then replace the top. (I've noted my changes below in italics)
Makes about 18 cream puffs
FOR THE CREAM FILLING
5 egg yolks
2 cups half & half
1 cup coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup corn starch
1 cup sweetened coconut flakes (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 teaspoon real coconut extract (not flavoring)
To a medium saucepan whisk together egg yolks, half and half, and coconut milk over medium/low heat. Once combined, add in sugar and corn starch, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a light boil. Remove from heat and mix in the shredded coconut and vanilla (I used coconut) extract. Cover with plastic wrap and chill at least two hours.
FOR THE PUFF
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cubed
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
Pinch of salt
1 cup flour
4 eggs (+1 for egg wash)
Preheat oven to 425˚F
To a medium saucepan add the butter, coconut milk, water, and salt over medium heat. Allow all the butter to melt and bring the mixture to a boil. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to medium-low and add in the flour. Using a wooden spoon, mix thoroughly to incorporate the flour.
Continue stirring until the dough starts to pull away from the sides and a thin film forms on the bottom of the pan (about three minutes). Remove the mixture from heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Let the dough cool slightly. (I mixed the eggs right into the pan off the heat.) Add in the eggs, one at a time, being sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding the next.
Once the dough comes together, transfer it to a piping bag and pipe onto a parchment-lined baking sheet into 1 1/2- inch mounds.
Smooth out any peaks/ridges with a wet fingertip (this will ensure your puffs cook evenly. Then brush the dough with egg wash and place in preheated oven. Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then without opening the oven, reduce the heat to 350 and bake for an additional 15 minutes. (Mine were done in 10)
Remove the puffs from the oven. Using the tip of a knife, cut a small "x" into the bottom of each puff and transfer ("x" side up" to a cooking rack. (I didn't do this step)
Just before serving (or up to two hours in advance), pipe the cream filling into the cooled puffs (I sliced off the top, piped in the filling and then replaced the top).
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!