Interestingly enough, I had never made cream puffs before today. I LOVE cream puffs, but I was always intimidated by how much time I imagined they would take, and I thought they would be hard to make (they're not). I wanted to bring something pumpkin-ish to the ladies' evening devotional I talked about in the previous post, but it needed to be finger food and I wanted to try something new.
Enter pumpkin cream puffs, center stage! I found the recipe here, on AllRecipes.com, and I was not disappointed. They were, if I do say so, quite delicious! If a person doesn't like pumpkin flavor, then I'm sure it would disappoint, but for most of the rest of us, what a treat! I followed the puff recipe pretty faithfully, except I made sure I used salted butter and added a hefty pinch of salt (I don't like bland puffs). 2 hints about the puffs: make little balls of dough (I used a small Pampered Chef cookie dough baller thingy...can't think of the correct title for that gadget) if you're aiming for smallish bite-sized puffs. They really expand in size, as you can see by the regular sized muffin cups these puffs are resting in. Also, be sure to bake them long enough. They looked done at 13 minutes, but they weren't truly done until 20 - 22 minutes. It's critical to bake them a long time so that the insides aren't mushy and the outer crust remains a delightfully crisp counterpoint to the filling (I learned from experience on that...I underbaked the first pan of puffs). The outer crust should be quite crusty dry and sound very hollow when tapped.
The filling recipe had been critiqued by other people as needing twice the powdered sugar than the recipe called for, so I doubled the powdered sugar and didn't put quite as much pumpkin pack in as called for. I didn't want the pumpkin flavor to be overwhelming. And, true to what a few people said, I had plenty of leftover filling...which I'll probably use on pancakes in the morning - yum! It took quite a bit of time to make so many of these critters (I doubled the recipe) but it was well worth it...although I can't say I'm in a hurry to make so many of these at once again!
Oh - one more thing - instead of cutting them open as the recipe suggested, I just poked a little hole in each one and piped the filling in, then dusted with sifted powdered sugar. Enjoy!