Pink Puffs

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Recipe photo
Hands-on time:
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Yield: 40 mini puffs

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These crisp-soft, cream-filled nuggets are topped with a shower of confectioners' sugar. We like to tint the sugar pink in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, in October, when they're an especially appropriate dessert. A source of both vitamin D and calcium (key to good health in older women) and lower in fat, they can also easily be made sugar-free, in which case they're just 40 calories each. Read our blog about these puffs, with additional photos, at Flourish.

Pink Puffs

star rating (18) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 40 mini puffs
Published: 01/01/2010

Ingredients

Puffs

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (skim, low-fat, or full-fat)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix (sugar-free, 1 ounce; or regular, 3.4 ounce)

Topping

  • 1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon red food color, optional

Tips from our bakers

  • The filling these puffs can be as healthy or rich as you like. For a healthier filling, use skim milk and sugar-free instant pudding. For richer filling, use heavy cream in place of the milk, and either sugar-free or regular instant pudding. Feel free to vary the flavor pf pudding, too; green for St. Patrick's Day (with green sugar topping!) always makes a splash.
  • To fill puffs more generously, double the filling recipe. You'll have some left over, but it's equally good enjoyed as pudding.
  • It's best to use baked puffs the same day they're made; just consolidate them onto one baking sheet and leave them uncovered till you're ready to use them.
  • To freeze unbaked puffs, drop them close together onto one greased (or greased and parchment-lined) baking sheet, cover gently with greased plastic wrap, and freeze. When frozen, transfer to a plastic bag and seal tightly. Bake within one month.
  • To bake frozen puffs, place the frozen puffs (no need to thaw) on the prepared baking sheet, leaving 1 ½" to 2" between them. Bake for 30 minutes, or until they?re a medium golden brown.
  • You can also freeze baked puffs for longer storage. Re-crisp by wrapping lightly in foil, and heating for about 10 minutes in a 350°F oven.

Directions

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.

2) Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.

3) Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously until the mixture smoothes out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than 30 seconds.

4) Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It'll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds.

5) Transfer the dough to a mixer, and beat in the eggs one at a time; the mixture will look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for 1 minute after adding the last egg. You'll have a stiff, smooth batter.

6) Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls (about the size of a chestnut) onto the prepared sheets (a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here). Leave about 1 ½" to 2" between them; they're going to expand to about the size of a golf ball.

7) Bake the puffs for about 20 minutes, till they've puffed, they're a medium golden-brown, and they look dry.

8) Remove baked puffs from the oven, and use a sharp knife to cut a slit into the side of each puff, for steam to escape; this will help prevent them from becoming soggy. Return the puffs to the oven for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

9) To fill puffs: Combine all of the filling ingredients, stirring till it's begun to thicken. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Pudding can be made ahead; puffs are best filled just before serving.

10) Gently open each puff along a natural "fault line;" you'll see where they want to split. Fill bottom half of each puff with 2 measured teaspoons of filling, and replace with top half. Too fill puffs fuller, see tip at right.

11) Sift confectioners' sugar atop puffs just before serving. For pink sugar, combine sugar with red food coloring in a blender or food processor (a mini processor works well here). Rub the pink sugar through a sieve onto the puffs.

Reviews

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  • star rating 10/31/2011
  • Sue from Delaware
  • This looks like a great recipe! Can you suggest a recipe to make the filling from scratch? Thanks!
    You could use our pastry cream recipe: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/pastry-cream-recipe for a from-scratch filling. ~Mel @ KAF
  • star rating 09/12/2011
  • Joybeth from KAF Community
  • This is my second time attempting cream puffs; the first was another recipe that didn't "puff", so I was a little apprehensive trying this recipe. However, it was very easy, and they came out great! I made a half recipe and made 9 puffs - generous dessert for 4-5 people. It did seem as though they were browning too quickly, so I reduced the oven temp to 375, and baked the same amount of time called for by the recipe. Since my eaters were divided between chocolate and vanilla lovers, I added the milk to the pudding mix, then divided the pudding in half, adding half a t. vanilla to one half, and a little cocoa powder and sugar to the other. I split the puffs in half, put a little pudding on the bottom half, added a swirl of aerosol whipped topping, and some sliced sugared strawberries, then put the top half on top. Tall, somewhat messy, and completely delicious!
  • star rating 05/12/2011
  • mumpy from KAF Community
  • i've had this bookmarked for ages and we decided to make them for dessert for our mother's day feast...WOW...double WOW!...we all loved them...didn't have to worry about leftovers - there weren't any!....well, there are 10 of us...one of the boys tried adding a dopple of raspberry jam to his puffs, in addition to the cream and that was delicious too. next time we drizzle some chocolate on top!...and there will be a next time, no question! thanks for a great recipe, and belatedly, thanks for promoting breast cancer awareness and research...my mother was a breast cancer survivor and my daughter worked in a breast cancer research lab for 3 years before starting medical school, so it's a cause dear to our hearts.
  • star rating 05/29/2010
  • Mike from Massachusetts
  • Impossibly easy for the tastiness of the result, and very versatile as well. Awesome recipe.
  • star rating 04/04/2010
  • from
  • I made these a little bit larger and filled with chicken salad instead of the pudding. They made a wonderfully refreshing lunch treat on a hot day, served with green grapes and lemonade. I also tried filling them with KAF Raspberry Mousse Mix -- oh my that was yummy! And they are so easy to make!
  • star rating 11/30/2009
  • Tinky from Hawley, MA
  • These were great--although my oven must be a little hot because mine were ready much earlier! I used the puffs to make cranberry cream puffs--divine! Here's the link to my adaptation in case anyone is is interested... http://www.ourgrandmotherskitchens.com/?p=5193
  • star rating 07/01/2009
  • Molly from Kansas
  • These were the first cream puffs I've ever made, and I served them at my daughter's first birthday party.They were a real hit, and I can't believe how easy they were! I can always depend on KAF for recipies that work the first time, every time!!! Thanks KAF!!!! There are a lot of "first's" to celebrate here! Thanks for including us as a part of them. Irene at KAF
  • star rating 06/07/2009
  • Sarah from Penn Yan
  • WOW1 I can't believe I created these! They are so pretty not to mention delicious! I can't wait to serve them to my family for dessert later! I wonder what would happen if I added a tablespoon of sugar to the dough?
    This recipe is very similar to the Pate a Choux or cream puff pastry from the 200th Annversary Cookbook. In that variation, 2 to 3 teaspoons of sugar is an optional ingredient. Leaving the recipe without the sugar - or bland - will give you more options for filling.....think tuna or ham salad for a tasty appetizer treat! Irene at KAF
  • star rating 10/19/2008
  • Peggy from Mechanicsville,VA
  • I loved these. Easy to make though a little time consuming. I made them for my Friends of the Library group and they were so impressed. BTW- It's National Friends of the Library Week. Celebrate by showing your support for your local library!
  • star rating 10/14/2008
  • D. Jespersen from Barrhead, Alberta
  • I liked that butter was used, especially for the flavor, but also because it contains conjugated linoleic acid which is right up there with anti-oxidants for keeping us healthy. I liked using a mixer for beating in the eggs! I thought that using that wooden spoon was part of the 'secret' to successful puffs-apparently not. Beautiful results!
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