Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pumpkin Mousse Cream Puffs


I have made over 200 cream puff shells in the last two weeks. I started by making them for an appetizer and dessert for our Thanksgiving celebration and then again this week for a Christmas party at work. By the way, I love that the place where I am currently consulting still calls it a Christmas party.

I created this recipe in an effort to branch out a little from the traditional pumpkin pie but still maintain that great flavor profile that pumpkin brings to a holiday celebration. I love making cream puffs because honestly they really aren't that hard to make but they add an elegance and sophistication to pretty much anything. You can use them for desserts as well as appetizers like I did for our housewarming party a few months ago.


The pumpkin flavor in this mousse is pretty light but you could always increase the amount of pumpkin puree if you want a stronger flavor.

Cream Puff Shells

Ingredients
 1 cup milk
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
Pinch kosher salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 extra-large eggs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat the milk, butter, and salt over medium heat until scalded. When the butter is melted, add the flour all at once and beat it with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and forms a dough. Cook, stirring constantly, over low heat for 2 minutes. The flour will begin to coat the bottom of the pan. Dump the hot mixture into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Add the eggs  one at a time and pulse until the eggs are incorporated into the dough and the mixture is thick and no longer shiny.
Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain round tip. Pipe in mounds 1 1/2 inches wide and 1-inch high onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You should have about 18 puffs. With a wet finger, lightly press down the swirl at the top of each puff. (You can also use 2 spoons to scoop out the mixture and shape the puffs with damp fingers.) Bake for 20 minutes, or until lightly browned, then turn off the oven and allow them to sit for another 10 minutes, until they sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Set aside to cool.

Pumpkin Mousse

Ingredients

3 cups cold milk
2 small pkg. Vanilla Flavor Instant Pudding
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP or 2 cups freshly whipped cream.
Directions
BEAT milk and pudding mix in medium bowl with whisk 2 min. Blend in pumpkin and spice.
STIR in COOL WHIP.

Assembly
You can either cut of the tops of the Cream Puffs to fill them or use a pastry bag with a tip to insert into the puff and fill with the pumpkin mousse. I prefer filling them without cutting so it all stays as one piece.

I melted about 1/2 cup of chocolate chips with 1 tablespoon of heavy cream and 1-2 tablespoons of shortening (just enough to get the right consistency) and then drizzled that over the top.

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