Cream Puffs and Bourbon-berries: Our Traditional Recipe Swap

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is becoming the annual recipe swap between Ace O’ Spades HQ’s Gabriel Malor and me, and our readers, too!

In the past we’ve covered quick noshes, like Spiced Nuts, veggie side-dishes like Squash Stuffing, Roasted Parsnips and Apples, Turnips and Carrots (my personal favorite!), and desserts like Pumpkin Cheesecake Dip and Italian Rainbow Cookies.

This year, Gabriel is offering Bourbon-berries “in lieu of the traditional can-shaped cranberry sauce” (I’ll take it!) and I’m bringing the Cream Puffs!

Sal’s Cream Puffs:

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 tspn salt
1 cup all-purpose flower
4 large eggs

Place water, butter and salt in medium saucepan; bring to a boil and remove from heat.

Still in flour all at once. Beat well until mixture leaves the sides of the pan as you stir.

Cool 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mixture should be smooth and glossy.

Fill mixture into pastry bag using wide decorator tip (or simply use a tablespoon to drop mixture).

Make 1 1/2 inch mounds, 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. If you have no pastry bag, drop mixture from tablespoon.

Bake at 450 for 15 minutes. Reduce to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 30 minutes until puffs are golden brown, with dry, rigid sides.

Make a slit in the side of each puff with a small knife and cool on wire rack.

Cream Filling:

2 cups milk
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
5 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Scald the milk in a saucepan over medium high heat until little bubbles begin to form on side of pan — just before a boil. Don’t let it boil.

As the milk is heating, use a whisk to combine the egg yolks, 1/2 cup sugar, and cornstarch.

When the milk is at that little bubble stage, remove it from heat and carefully dribble
the milk into the egg yolk mixture while whisking constantly, then return all of the liquid to the pan.

Cook over medium high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and a pinch of salt.

Let cream cool before you start to whip the cream.

Combine heavy whipping cream and 2 tbsp sugar in a bowl and whip with either a hand mixer or a whisk until it forms soft peaks. Fold this mixture gently into the pastry cream, and then fill the puffs.

Makes 12.

Some people like to drizzle chocolate sauce over the cream puffs; I don’t — I think the chocolate detracts from the sweet simplicity of the thing. Gabriel Malor, on the other hand, wonders if the Bourbon-berries might not be super-delicious on the cream puffs, and I have to say…that actually sounds…really…really good. His readers are already sharing recipes in his comments section. Feel free to share yours, here.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Alec Leamas

    I find that a basic fresh cranberry sauce can be re-worked any which way. Gabe’s has double the sugar that I would expect for my tastes anyway. I start by putting a few tablespoons of water in the bottom of a saucepan, zest a fat navel orange into the water, then halve and squeeze the orange into the water, and add a pinch of salt. Pour 12 oz (1 bag) of rinsed cranberries into the saucepan, about half a cup of sugar, and simmer over low heat until the cranberries are mascerated and fully cooked (you should have skins, seeds, and a jelly-like substance). Check for sweet/tart balance and add sugar by the teaspoon. Run the contents of the saucepan through a chinois or strainer. Work the contents until you have relatively dry solid matter (skins and seeds) left in the chinois, with the liquid contents in a clean saucepan. Zest another naval orange into the saucepan with the concentrated cranberry liquid, and then add the orange juice from the same orange. Add another 12 ounces of cranberries, rinsed. Cook on very low heat, until the first of the whole cranberries begin to split. Add up to another half cup of sugar, teaspoon by teaspoon, until the tart/sweet balance is achieved. The balance will depend upon your cranberries. Stop simmering when all of the cranberries are split, but before they cook down into skins and juice. Taste both liquid and solid berries to adjust sweet/tart balance. Can be refrigerated, but I like to serve hot tableside with a few tablespoons of Grand Marnier mixed in and yet more fresh orange zest. FYI, you can use the strained cranberry from step one, together with some dissolved gelatin, and mold it into something approximating canned cranberry sauce in a more attractive shape, but way, way better. Just do well enough in advance to set, and be mindful that the acidic nature of cranberries requires extra gelatin to set well.

  • Fiestamom

    Oooh, those bourbon cranberries sound delish. Well friends, here are two sweet potato recipes that are awesome. The first is pretty easy:
    In a sauce pan,combine 3-4 sweet potatoes (peeled, and cut into 1 inch chunks),
    Stick of butter
    About a cup of orange juice
    1 cup of brown sugar
    Cook on low heat for about 2 hours. You may need to add additional OJ, but you don’t want to add too much, b/c you want this to have maximum candification!

    The second recipe is from Bon Appetit from a couple of years ago, it is the best savory sweet potato dish Trust fiestamom!

    1 1/2 pounds medium Yukon Gold potatoes
    1 1/2 pounds medium red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
    2 cups heavy whipping cream
    1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 tablespoon minced fresh Italian parsley
    1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
    1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
    1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme
    1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
    3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 5 ounces)
    Fill large bowl with cold water. Working with 1 Yukon Gold potato at a time, peel, then cut into 1/8-inch-thick rounds and place in bowl with water. Repeat with sweet potatoes. Combine cream, butter, and garlic in medium saucepan; bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Mix all herbs in small bowl. Mix sea salt and black pepper in another small bowl.
    Butter 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Drain potatoes, then pat dry with kitchen towels. Transfer half of potatoes to prepared baking dish. Use hands to distribute and spread evenly. Sprinkle with half of salt-pepper mixture, then half of herb mixture. Sprinkle with half of cheese. Repeat with remaining potatoes, salt-pepper mixture, herb mixture, and cheese. Pour cream mixture over gratin, pressing lightly to submerge potato mixture as much as possible. DO AHEAD Can be made 6 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and chill. Remove plastic wrap before baking.
    Preheat oven to 400°F. Cover gratin tightly with foil. Bake 30 minutes. Uncover; bake until top of gratin is golden and most of liquid is absorbed, about 25 minutes longer. Let stand 10 minutes; serve
    3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    1 1/4 cups (packed) coarsely grated Gruyère cheese (about 5 ounces)

  • S.Lynn

    Cut some of the sugar out of the sides:

    Apple/Butternut Squash:
    1 peeled & cubed butternut squash chunks
    1 can apple pie filling
    together, bake in oven (oh, say 350 degrees) for 40 minutes until
    squash is cooked. Can sprinkle with chopped pecans before baking. Or
    even top with your favorite streusel topping.

    Sweet potato/Banana:
    cooked sweet potato innards (or canned-but drain the liquid) with
    couple of bananas. Add honey or maple syrup or agave syrup to taste.
    Bake 350 degrees 15-20 minutes. Can sprinkle with chopped pecans before