Time needed: 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Makes: 6 – 8 servings
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Red and green candy-coated chocolate balls/buttons (M&Ms/Nips, Etc)
Cream puff dough:
¾ cup milk
¾ cup water
½ cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1⅔ cups all-purpose flour, sifted
5 pieces large eggs
Vanilla Pastry Cream:
2 cup NESTLÉ ALL PURPOSE CREAM
3 pieces large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons butter
½ cup + 1 tablespoon water
2 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons corn syrup or glucose
- Make vanilla pastry cream
In a pan over medium heat, heat up the NESTLÉ ALL PURPOSE CREAM with the vanilla extract until just simmering. Remove from heat.
- Prepare eggs
In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until well combined. Temper the egg yolks by slowly whisking in the hot cream mixture into the egg mixture and return it to the pot.
- Thicken cream
Heat up the cream mixture on medium temperature while whisking constantly until thickened and glossy, about 2 – 3 minutes. Make sure to scrape the bottom to avoid burning.
- Finish with butter
In another bowl, place the butter and a strainer on top. Pour the cream mixture through the strainer and stir until the butter is fully incorporated. Cover with a plastic wrap touching the pastry cream directly. Let cool completely at room temperature before chilling.
- Make cream puff
Preheat oven to 215 degrees Celsius.
In a pot over medium-high heat, bring the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt to a full boil. Reduce heat to low and stir in the sifted flour with a wooden spoon until the dough comes off cleanly from the sides of the pot without sticking.
- Add eggs
Scrape the dough into a large bowl and beat the dough with hand mixer for 2 minutes to cool the dough – should still be very warm, but not too hot to touch. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and making sure they are completely absorbed before each new addition.
- Line baking tray
Fit a large pastry bag with a plain tip. Fill the bag with the cream puff paste. Pipe out round mounds of dough onto the sheets. Smoothen any pointed tops with your finger dipped in a little water. Bake at 215 degrees for 10 minutes. Lower heat to 190 degrees Celsius until mounds are well browned and very crisp.
- Make caramel
Bring the water, sugar and corn syrup up to a boil in a small pot over high heat and continue to boil, uncovered and without stirring, and occasionally brushing the sides of the pot with water, until it is a light amber color. Ready a bowl of ice water and carefully set the bottom of the pot into the ice water to halt the sugar from cooking further.
- Fill cream puffs
After baking, let cream puffs cool completely and fill with the vanilla pastry cream.
- Dip and stack
Dip the bottoms of the cream puffs into the warm caramel and place onto a plate lined with baking paper. Dorm a ring of cream puffs and start stacking them up to form a triangular tower. . If the caramel in the pot begins to set before you have finished, reheat the caramel on low heat. Place red and green candy-coated chocolate balls throughout the cream puff tree. Let the sugar cool and set for about an hour before serving. Dust with powdered sugar.