Caramel Corn Cream Puffs
Updated: Apr 29
Pastry Cream Made with Fresh Summer Corn and Topped with Salted Caramel
I just can't get enough of cream puffs! They are fun to make and customize based on my mood, so expect a new flavor every season. There. I finally said it.
Nothing beats fresh Summer corn straight from the cob! There is a time and place for canned corn, but this is not it. For these puffs I wanted to showcase peak corn season with a classic flavor combination that has lasted decades: Caramel Corn.
To bring out the corn flavor I steeped fresh corn in the milk overnight as well as added some corn meal to the paté choux. The pastry cream is rich in vanilla and subtle hints of the corn with the salt from the caramel cutting through the sweetness. You can use your go to caramel recipe and add in ½ Tsp. of kosher salt at the end. If you're not looking to buy heavy cream, I highly recommend the Bright Eyed Baker's recipe for caramel using whole milk. It's looser than typical caramel, but saves you the trip to the grocery store. Also, it's delicious so🤷🏻♀️.
If you haven't heard of corn milk, the image above is what I'm talking about. After you cut the corn kernels off, you take the back of the knife and scrape at the sides. This produces more liquid/milk (FLAVOR!) into whatever you are making. Make sure to add this to your milk mixture.
Caramel Corn Cream Puffs
Corn Pastry Cream
Makes 2 Cups
2 Cups Whole Milk
1 Ear of Corn
3 Egg Yolks
⅓ Cup Sugar
½ Tsp. Salt
2 Tbsps. Corn Starch
⅛ Tsp. Vanilla Extract
Remove kernels from cob and put in a sauce pan with milk. Over the pot using the back of your knife, scrape down the sides of the cob, adding the corn milk to your mixture.
Heat mixture on medium-high until milk starts to steam and bubbles form around the edge of the pot. Remove from heat and put mixture in a container to sit for 2 hours or up to overnight in the fridge.
After milk mixture is done steeping, strain out kernels and pour mixture back into a sauce pan. Make sure to push down on the kernels to get out all the flavor.
Heat milk on medium-high until it begins to steam.
While milk is heating, in a medium bowl whisk together egg yolks, sugar, salt and cornstarch until pale yellow and smooth.
Once the milk is starting to bubble around the edges begin by tempering your egg mixture (this means to take a small amount of the hot milk and while whisking quickly, add it slowly to the eggs. This will prevent you from making scrambled eggs). Then slowly add the rest of the milk while whisking constantly.
Add mixture back to stove and whisk constantly on medium-high heat.
Once mixture starts to thicken, stop whisking every so often to see if mixture is boiling. As soon as it starts to bubble, whisk furiously for 10 seconds and then immediately remove from heat.
Transfer pastry cream to a container, cover and leave in fridge until cool.
Makes 15 Large Cream Puffs
1 Cup Water
1 Stick of Unsalted Butter
½ Tsp. Kosher Salt
1½ Tsp. Sugar
¾ Cup (100g) Flour
¼ Cup (25g) Corn Meal
3 Eggs (room temp)
Pre-heat oven to 425℉ with the rack in the middle of the oven.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper (do not use a silicone mat. It will cause your puffs to have a thin bottom).
In a sauce pan, heat your butter, salt and sugar on medium high heat until the butter is melted and the mixture has just begun to boil.
Immediately take the pot off the stove and pour in flour and cornmeal and mix using a wooden spoon.
Once dry ingredients are incorporated, put mixture back on the stove and mix quickly until the mixture has formed a smooth ball and doesn't cling to the sides. It should be stiff like thick mash potatoes.
Add dough to your stand mixer or another bowl. Beat for 30 seconds to cool the dough down.
One at a time add each egg and mix until incorporated. Make sure to scrape down sides of bowl in between each addition. It will look chunky at first, but after the last egg mix until smooth and shiny.
Put mixture into a piping bag and pipe out mounds of dough roughly an inch and a half wide, making sure to leave an inch of space between each one.
Bake for 15min until puffs are large and expanded, then turn the oven down to 375℉ and bake for an additional 25min. Puffs should be golden brown and have a hard shell to them.
Once you pull the puffs out of the oven, transfer them to a cooling rack. Using a knife, or the piping tip you will use later, cut a small hole in the bottom. This will allow them to cool without getting soggy on the inside.
After puffs have cooled, fill with pastry cream and dip into caramel. Top with additional kosher salt for garnish if desired.