Lemon Cream Puffs

Originally, I wanted these to be Meyer lemon cream puffs. Last year, I remember seeing Meyer lemons everywhere - at least until I decided to make something with them, then they magically disappeared from the stores. This year, I was going to buy Meyer lemons as soon as I saw them, no matter what. This year, I would have Meyer lemons! 

Aaaaaand nope. I didn't see one Meyer lemon. Granted, I didn't really get out much during December because of work and I tend to frequent only 3 or 4 grocery stores in my area, but still! Nothing! But I did find fresh passion fruits (!!!) last week, so there will be something coming up in the next few weeks with those.

Despite not having Meyer lemons, these cream puffs were straight up delicious. Most of the time, I will make something for the blog and give most of it away. I'll have a nibble, but then I'm good. I work with sweets all day at work so I'd rather have something salty and savoury anyways. But with these, I ate four or five in the span of two days. 

This is no surprise to me because a.) I love anything lemony, b.) I love cream puffs, and c.) I have no reservations about eating cream puffs for breakfast.

My boyfriend, who is not a big fan of sweet/sour desserts, loved them. I love sour desserts and I loved them. Everybody wins! Sour enough to get that lemony punch of flavour, but sweet enough that you don't pull that "sour face". 

I absolutely love making cream puffs because the possibilities for flavours are endless. You can make any flavour combo that pops into your head, but it's still a cream puff. I've been thinking about all the different kinds of flavours that I want to try and I'm getting so excited! I want to have a whole month where all I post is cream puffs!! That probably won't happen though.... Probably.

Lemon Cream Puffs

Pâte Sucrée Dough

150 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
95 g icing sugar
30 g almond flour
1 g salt
1/2 vanilla bean
50 g eggs
250 g all-purpose flour

Pâte à Choux

125 g water
125 g whole milk
5 g superfine sugar
5 g fleur de sel
110 g unsalted butter
140 g all-purpose flour
250 g eggs

Lemon Cream

Zest of 3 lemons
220 g superfine sugar
200 g eggs
160 g freshly squeezed lemon juice
300 g unsalted butter, at room temperature

Lemon Chantilly

375 g heavy cream
250 g lemon cream
1/2 vanilla bean (optional)

Prepare the pâte sucrée. In a food processor fitted with the dough blade, process the butter until creamy. Sift in the icing sugar, then add the almond flour and salt. Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the mixture. Add the eggs. Sift in the flour and process just until the dough forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Remove the tart dough and roll it out to a thickness of less than 1/16 inch (1 mm). Place on a baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.

Prepare the choux paste. IN a saucepan, bring the water, milk, sugar, salt, and butter to a boy. With the saucepan still over the heat, add the flour all at once. Beat hard with a wooden spoon until the paste is smooth and shiny and continue being until the paste comes away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the paste to a bowl and incorporate the eggs one at a time, beating constantly. Transfer the finished paste to a piping bag fitted with a plain #14 pastry tip.

After 20 minutes in the freezer, remove the tart dough and cut out twelve to fourteen 2 1/2 inch (7 cm) rounds. 

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe out 12 to 14 choux balls about 2 1/2 inches (6.5 cm) in diameter and 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) tall, arranging them on the lined baking sheet about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. (Note: I use a 1 inch diameter demi sphere mold for my choux, freeze, then unmold onto the baking sheet). On each choux, place a disc of sweet tart dough. Place them in the oven and turn the oven off. Keep the oven off for ten minutes. Turn the oven back on to 350 F and continue baking the choux, After ten minutes, slide a wooden cooking spoon between the oven and its door to keep it partly open. Bake for another ten minutes. Transfer the choux to a wire rack to cool.

Prepare the lemon cream. Add the lemon zest and sugar to a bowl and, using your hands, rub the zest into the sugar until the mixture is damp and grainy. Add the eggs and beat well. Add the lemon juice an mix well. Heat the mixture in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, whisking until the temperature has reach 83 C (180 F). Remove the bowl from the saucepan and strain the mixture into another bowl. Set aside to cool until it reaches 60 C (140 F), then cut the butter into pieces and incorporate it into the mixture. Using a handheld immersion blender, whisk the lemon cream at maximum speed for about ten minutes in order to burst the fat molecules and obtain a really smooth cream. Reserve 250 g for the lemon chantilly cream and transfer the rest to a piping bag fitted with a plain piping tip.

Prepare the lemon chantilly cream. Chill a metal bowl in the freezer for 15 minutes. Add the heavy cream (and seeds from the vanilla bean, if using) to the chilled bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Carefully fold the 250 g of lemon cream into the whipped cream. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a plain pastry tip.

Split each choux crosswise three-quarters of the way up the side. Pipe lemon cream into the bottom half of each choux. Pipe the lemon chantilly cream. Cover with the top of the choux, decorate as desired, and serve.

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