For this recipe you’ll need to make pâte à choux. Sounds intimidating, no? The name almost scared me away the first time I looked at a cream puff recipe and I still can’t pronounce it properly (sorry, France!). But in truth, pâte à choux is an incredibly simple, versatile dough that makes several impressive baked goods including profiteroles, grougeres, and eclairs. Equally simple is pastry cream; thickened by egg yolks and cornstarch, it’s nearly foolproof and perfect for piping into profiteroles made from pâte à choux. It can be flavored with almost anything, but is particularly good with pumpkin and warm spices for an Autumn variation. The result is an airy, egg-y puff held together by a satisfying, just-sweet-enough pumpkin filling. Pair with an amber pumpkin ale, brown ale, or milk stout and don’t feel guilty if you can’t limit yourself to just one.
Active Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours
Pumpkin Ale Pastry Cream
In a small saucepan, warm milk over low heat. Meanwhile, whisk together egg yolks, pumpkin, pumpkin ale, sugar, flour, spices, and cornstarch in a medium bowl until completely smooth; set aside.
Once milk begins to steam, slowly add about half to the pumpkin mixture while stirring constantly; return to the saucepan with remaining milk. Heat for 1-2 minutes over low heat, stirring constantly, until the custard reaches 170ºF and is very thick. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla extract, and chill for a minimum of one hour.
Can be prepared up to 1 day in advance; place a piece of plastic wrap directly on custard surface and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator to prevent a skin from forming.
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
In a small saucepan over over medium high heat, bring water, butter, and salt to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add flour; using a wooden spoon, stir until the mixture comes together and forms a ball with a slightly sweaty sheen, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a mixing bowl and allow to rest for 3 to 5 minutes. Using a whisk and strength or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat in eggs 1 at a time, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Add cinnamon and beat to combine.
Transfer mixture to a pastry bag with a large round tip. Pipe 1 inch balls spaced 1 inch apart onto a sheet tray lined with parchment paper. Bake on center rack for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the tray once halfway through the cooking time. When ready, the puffs will be airy and dry inside. Transfer to a rack to cool.
Once ready to serve, cut in half horizontally and fill with pumpkin pastry cream. For an extra decadent treat, drizzle with salted caramel.
Tags: cooking with beer • craft beer and food • craft beer eats • cream puff • dessert • pate a choux • profiterole • pumpkin ale • pumpkin ale cream puff • pumpkin pastry cream • recipe