This is a relatively easy thing to do! It's possibly the easiest fancy-looking dessert I've made. My dear cousin thinks creme brulee has a higher fancy/easy ratio, but I'm not sure. It's a close call ;) They both use lots of eggs though, so it's a win any way you look at it when you're hoping to use eggs up ;)
I got my starting working recipe for cream puffs from various places. This is what I ended up doing
when I made these for the first time.
1/4 lb. butter (one stick)
CREAM FILLING: (many recipes also suggest using instant vanilla pudding mix ... I might make a true vanilla pudding next time, and add the whipped cream to that, instead of this filling - it was a good start though, and was certainly tasty!)
1/3 c. flour
1 cup heavy cream
2 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate (2 oz, total) (I used the good stuff last night. I don't know how prevalent the chocolate taste was, and whether it requires the good stuff)
Add butter to boiling water until it melts.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating vigorously after each egg is added, and egg is fully incorporated.
Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn down oven to 350 degrees and bake an additional 15 minutes. For larger shells use tablespoon and add 10 minutes more to each baking time. (I did 25, then about 20 - they were a rich golden brown when I took them out.)
Not quite done yet:
Other option, which was part of the original recipe: Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Then lower temperature to 325 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.
I poked holes with a wooden skewer in each puff when they came out, to let steam escape.
Let cool completely.
Mix flour, sugar and salt in a sauce pan
I put the cream into the freezer while I made the whipped cream, so it would cool quickly. I don't know if that's required, but I suspect it didn't hurt!
In a separate bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Fold whipped cream into pudding.
Fill puffs with pastry bag by poking the tip of the pastry bag into the bottom of the puff, and squeezing it full! There's more room in there than you'd think! (or cut off tops and fill with spoon - but much more fun with "poke and squirt" technology!)
For the icing, melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over low heat.
Remove from heat, cool slightly, and dip puffs into the mixture, or drizzle over filled eclairs.
Make more than you think you'll need. This made about ... 30, maybe a couple shy of that... oh wait, I just counted in the picture! ... 26 or 27, yeah ... something like that. I left a few at home with Aidon, and we did have to test them before inflicting them on the masses ... but wow, I've never seen anything disappear so fast!
Copyright Kimberly Bobrow Jennery, 1997-2006
Contact Kimberly at: kimberly at bobrow dot net