Friday, January 20, 2012

Theoretical Cream Puffs

A friend of mine has a horrible collection of food allergies. Wheat and gluten, cow milk products (but not sheep or goat), and chicken. As she's also not a cook, she often EATS horribly as well.

I rather extravagantly informed her that I could cook and bake her whatever, as both Mister and I love to feed people and we merely look upon her allergies as a challenge. She replied: cream puffs.

So I've looked into it, and thankfully, I made eclairs last Sunday with another friend (at her instigation -- it just happened coincidentally), so I have a general idea of what I need to work with.

The basic recipe goes like this:

2 (3.5 ounce) packages instant vanilla pudding mix
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs

For the pudding, I can make vegan vanilla pudding based off of this:

1/3 cup sugar
3 tbsp cornstarch
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups soy milk
1 tsp vanilla

However I would use tapioca starch as it's finer, and either almond, rice or coconut milk as I don't like soy.

For the heavy cream, it's apparently as easy as this:

2 cans full fat coconut milk (13.5 oz cans)
1/3 cup powdered sugar or to taste
1 - 4 Tbsp coconut flour or tapioca flour (add 1 Tbsp at a time)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract or to taste

1 - Chill the cans of coconut milk overnight in the fridge
2 - Open the cans, drain off the clear liquid and transfer the cream to a chilled bowl, using a rubber spatula to scrape all the cream out of the cans
3 - Beat the thick coconut cream in the chilled bowl with a hand mixer until thick and fluffy
4 - Add the vanilla, then gradually beat in the powdered sugar and coconut or tapioca flour, 1 or 2 Tbsp at a time, testing for flavor and consistency
5 - Using a rubber spatula, transfer the coconut cream to a covered storage container, and chill for 2 hours until the mixture firms. Serve chilled.

For the actual shell recipe, I'd replace the butter with butter-flavored Earth Balance, and probably just buy Bob's Red Mills GF Mix, as that's the easiest way to sub consistent results.

For presentation, I wish I had a pastry bag to fill the cream puffs, but I don't. :-( Looks like I'll have to slice the tops to fill them.

The directions to make the cream puffs are:

1 - Whip the coconut milk. Refridgerate.
2 - Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
3 - In a large pot, bring water and butter to a rolling boil. Stir in flour and salt until the mixture forms a ball. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon or stand mixer, beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each. 4 - Drop by tablespoonfuls onto an ungreased baking sheet.
5 - Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown. Centers should be dry.
6 - Mix up pudding. Fold in coconut milk cream. Refridgerate.
7 - When the shells are cool, either split and fill them with the pudding mixture, or use a pastry bag to pipe the pudding into the shells.

And I'm done! I have figured out the "challenge" and found it wanting! I also, while searching through things, rediscovered the Chocolate Oblivion Torte which is both gluten and dairy free! :-D

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