I’ll be brief today. I made a platter of decadent Meyer Lemon Cream Puffs that embodies the phrase “what sweet dreams are made of”. But that all happened amidst a haze of tears and uncontrollable sobbing. A cherished relationship has come to an end and I lost one of my closest confidant. I feel like wandering around a nightmare that doesn’t end. It will be a very long time before I am okay again.
What does that have to do with cream puffs? Well, it means they are superbly easy to make given my less than optimal concentration. And the result is visually stunning and a treat for the taste buds. Let me break it down for you.
On day one, I made a batch of Meyer Lemon Cream from Tartine Bakery’s recipe. Meyer lemons are in season now and I highly recommend you to splurge on these floral sweet lemons. I juiced four lemons to get the required amount of juice and reserved the zest for another recipe. Thank goodness for small kitchen appliances because juicing and emulsifying were made easy with citrus juicer and immersion blender. I stored the velvety Meyer Lemon Cream in the fridge overnight and cried myself to sleep.
I woke up the next morning confused and exhausted. I followed Cook’s Illustrated’s recipe (subscription only) for pâte à choux and piped the double batch batter into 15 rosettes. At 425F, the puffs billowed into large fists within 15 minutes. I furthered baked them at 375F for another 18 minutes to set the puffs. I made small slits on the side for steam to escape and dried the pastries in residual oven heat for a hour. I cried some more in the shower.
When I finally composed myself, I cut the tops off the puffs using a small serrated knife. The insides were hollow and made for perfect containers for the Meyer lemon cream. I eyeballed the amount and there would not be enough lemon cream to fill all the puffs. I quickly whipped 3/4 cup of heavy cream to soft peaks and folded into the lemon cream as filler. I filled a large pastry bag with the lightened lemon cream and squished every nooks and crannies with tangy sweet filling.
For garnishes, I cut black mission figs into thin wedges and peeled back the papery jacket from physalis (ground cherries). A jewel-like raspberry completed the tableau. I brought them all to the office to share with coworkers. I only sneaked a taste of the discarded cream puff tops (lovely soft custardy interior and crisp exterior) smeared with leftover lemon cream on the spatula. My coworkers told me they tasted awesome.
With any luck, I will not give you more tips on how to bake while crying next time.