Sunday, September 18, 2011

Japanese Cream Puff

When I first tried the cream puff at Tampopo Deli in Liang Court, I fell in love with it. It's even better than the famous Beard Papa that attracted long queuesvwhen it first made its entrance many years ago. The Tampopo puff was so good that each customer can only buy 4 at any one time. These puffs were only available on every hour due to the small kitchen. Queues will start forming before the puffs were out from the oven. Don't worry. The kitchen and deli has been expanded and you now no longer have to wait in long lines anymore. Puffs are available most of the time and there's no more quantity restriction. Great! Isn't it?
My family loves to patronize Tampopo restaurant on Level 1 on Sundays after church occasionally. After lunch, we will shop for Japanese groceries at Medi-ya supermarket. Before heading home, we must make a stop at Tampopo deli for the yummylicious puff. It has other equally tantalizing chiffon cakes, pastries, sushi and bento boxes too.
I love the puff so much that I want to re-create it myself. Thus began my search for the choux pastry and the pastry cream filling. After a few tries tweaking recipes from the internet and the Okashi recipe book which I have, I finally managed to create the ideal choux puff pastry and pastry cream filling that I think is good enough. The puff pastry is light and crisp while the cream filling is smooth and creamy. The addition of the cookie dough on top of the choux puff pastry gives it the crispy texture. I found the cookie dough recipe from the Daily Delicious blog.

Choux Puff Ingredients: (Adapted from Okashi by Keiko Ishida)
75g water
50g milk
50g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 eggs
75g cake flour

Cookie dough ingredients:
100g plain flour
3 tbsp sugar
75g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Combine the flour and sugar. Add the cubed butter into the dry ingredients, kneading lightly with your fingers until well combined. Wrap the dough in a plastic sheet and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Pre-heat oven at 200°C.
Sift the cake flour once.
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

1. In a small saucepan, combine water, milk, butter, sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then remove from heat immediately.
2. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the cake flour quickly until combined, and mixture forms a ball.
3. Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture leaves the sides of the saucepan and a film forms on the bottom of the pan.
4. Transfer mixture to a clean bowl. Add one egg at a time, beating with a wooden spoon until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next egg. (You can use an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment if you do not have enough arm strength.)
5. Test the batter by taking a scoop of it with a wooden spoon. When you coat the spoon with it, the batter should hang down and form a smooth triangle shape. If you don't see it, that means the batter needs a little more egg.
6. Pour the choux dough into a piping bag fitted with a 1-cm plain, round piping tip. Pipe out 5-cm circles onto the baking sheet and gently smoothen out the pointed peaks with a moistend finger.
7. Roll out the cookie dough to about 3 mm thick and cut out a 6-cm circle. Place one cookie dough on each choux pastry.
8. Bake the choux puffs for about 20 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180°C and continue baking for another 20 minutes.

Pastry Cream Filling: (Adapted from Okashi by Keiko Ishida)
200g fresh milk
Vanilla bean, 1/2, split lengthwise, with seeds scrapped
2 egg yolks
40g castor sugar
20g corn flour
130ml heavy cream

1. Add milk and vanilla bean (seeds and pods) into a saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. In a clean bowl, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until mixture is pale yellow in colour. Add corn flour and mix well.
3. Add hot milk to the egg mixture and fold through. Remove vanilla pods from the mixture.
4. Return egg and milk mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Continue mixing until mixture becomes smooth and glossy, then remove the saucepan from the heat.
5. Scrap the pastry cream into a clean bowl and set it over icewater bath to stop the cooking process.
6. Pour the heavy cream into a cold metal bowl and whisk until soft peak forms.
7. Fold the whipped cream into the pastry cream mixture.

To assemble:
1. Fill the pastry cream into a piping bag fitted with a 1-cm plain round tip.
2. Cut a small opening at the side of the choux puff pastry. Pipe the pastry cream into the choux puff pastry until full.
3. Before serving, dust the choux puff pastry with snow powder or icing sugar.

Makes about 15 puffs


Green Dazzles said...

Hello there!
Thanks for this great recipe.
Can't wait to try it out.

One question, though. Why is it that the measurements for water and milk for this japanese cream puff differ from the durian puff?

Japanese Cream Puff
75g water
50g milk

Durian Puff
80g water
75g fresh milk

Please help.:D Thank you!

Joyce said...


Sorry to have taken so long to answer your question.
Durian puff was the first one I tried and I modified the recipe a little for the cream puff.
Adding more milk gives you a more chewy texture as in the durian puff.
I love a crispier and lighter texture, so I modified the recipe a little in the cream puff. It was great!
You can give both recipes a try and let me know which one do you prefer?


Leoncharlott said...

Hi Joyce,
Thanks for the enlightment. Just one question for you, can i use margarine instead of butter for the choux puff ingredients ?
Pls help, thanks

Joyce said...

Hi Leon,

I have never tried baking with margarine. Butter is the preferred ingredient as it gives your baked goods a very nice fragrant and taste. Hope this helps.


Bunnie said...

Your pictures look amazing! I want to try this recipe out! But I have a question, is it possible to make these cream puffs without the cookie crust? And would they still be light and crispy? Thank you!

Joyce said...

Hi Bunnie,

Yes, you can. The cookie crust layer makes it more beautiful and like the one I tried at Tampopo deli. So sorry for the delay in replying to your question.

Unknown said...

Hi Joyce, I only have whipping cream. How would you advise on making the cream with just that? And may I also know why you added cornflour into the cream filling mixture? Thanks a lot!! :-)

Joyce said...

Hi, sorry to have taken so long to reply you. I have been tardy in updating my blog. Whipping cream is fine too. The purpose of corn flour is to thicken and stabilize the cream. This way, the cream will not 'melt' or water-out when it is at room temperature for too long. Hope this answers your question. Have fun making this delicious pastry.


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