Lemon Blackberry Cream Puffs with Dairy-Free Pastry Cream

Sometimes food blogging is hard, guys. I don’t mean hard as in,
“Oh no, well I guess *someone* has to eat these cream puffs,
wink wink” – although it is that too. I mean hard as in
sometimes it takes 3 weekends of baking to develop the recipe
you’re after and then your photos turn out kind of lackluster
and you still haven’t even written up the post and recipe to go
with them yet.

Thank goodness there are cream puffs or I would quit this job
ASAP.

Lemon Blackberry Cream Puffs with Dairy-Free Pastry Cream

(Fun fact: Food blogging is not actually my job! I have a day
job that involves me doing computer-y things at a computer all
day long. I don’t actually get paid for blogging… except in
baked goods. I think we can all agree that’s almost as good as
money.)

It’s been one of those months where keep this little blog going
has been a challenge. Sometimes I put too much pressure on
myself to invent the next Most Awesome RecipeTM,
take the most gorgeous food photos, do something incredible in
the kitchen that has never been done before. But eventually I
come to my senses and just make some cream puffs instead,
because who doesn’t like cream puffs? They might not be the
prettiest or the coolest or the best ever, but they are pretty
darn good.

There are three separate components to this recipe, but don’t
freak out. Each is individually easy to make and two of the
three can be made ahead of time. First is the blackberry curd.
It’s packed with jammy fruit flavor and, well, just look at
that gorgeous color.

Blackberry Curd

Next comes the lemon pastry cream. I made it with coconut milk
this time. It doesn’t taste like coconut, but it is dairy-free!
The pastry cream has a good amount of lemon flavor without
being LEMON. Getting the lemon and blackberry balance just
right was important because bright, tart lemon can easily
overwhelm the subtle blackberry. Last but not least, my
favorite pate a choux to hold all of the lemon blackberry
goodness.

Lemon Blackberry Cream Puffs with Dairy-Free Pastry Cream

There are two ways to assemble these cream puffs. If you’re
serving them right away and don’t have to take them anywhere
(which I recommend), slice the puffs in half, stuff a few fresh
blackberries in the bottom, then cover them with the lemon
pastry cream and a generous dollop of blackberry curd. Get
ready to swoon.

If you do need to travel with your puffs, poke a hole in the
bottom, use a squeeze bottle or pastry bag to fill the insides
with curd and pastry cream, then plug up the hole with a fresh
blackberry. You get a little less filling this way, but they’re
less messy and they kinda taste like cream-filled donuts, which
is never a bad thing.

Lemon Blackberry Cream Puffs with Dairy-Free Pastry Cream

Lemon Blackberry Cream Puffs with Dairy-Free Pastry Cream

Makes 10-12 large cream puffs

Ingredients

1 batch of Blackberry Curd, below
1 batch of Dairy-Free Lemon Pastry Cream,
below
1 batch of Pate a Choux Puffs, below

Directions

Prepare blackberry curd and pastry cream at least 4 hours
ahead, up to 2 days ahead.

Pate a choux puffs can be prepared several hours before
serving, or prepared ahead of time and stored in the freezer.
If using immediately, let the puffs sit at room temperature. If
frozen, thaw puffs at room temperature, then rewarm in a 350°F
oven until warm and crisped.

There are two ways to assemble these cream puffs. If you’re
serving them right away and don’t have to take them anywhere
(which I recommend), slice the puffs in half, stuff a few fresh
blackberries in the bottom, spoon or pipe lemon pastry cream
over berries and add generous dollop of blackberry curd.

OR

If you need to travel with your puffs, use the steam-release
hole on the bottom to fill the puffs. Place pastry cream and
curd in separate squeeze bottles or pastry bags. Fill puffs
with curd first, then pastry cream. Plug up the hole by
*gently* pressing a fresh blackberry into it.

Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.

Serve within a few hours of assembly, or if necessary
refrigerate overnight.


Blackberry Curd

Adapted from
Phemomenon

Makes about 1 cup

Ingredients

8 ounces fresh blackberries
5 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 large egg
Pinch of salt
1/2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon cornstarch

Directions

In a food processor or blender, puree blackberries until mostly
smooth. Pour blackberry puree into a medium saucepan. Add
sugar, egg, and salt. In a small glass, stir cornstrach into
lemon juice. Add to saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking
constantly, until curd thickens enough to leave whisk tracks
while stirring. Remove from heat. Pour through a mesh strainer
into a heat proof container, using a spoon to push curd through
if necessary. Discard solids. Refrigerate curd for at least 4
hours.


Dairy-Free Lemon Pastry Cream

Adapted from BraveTart
Makes about 3 cups

I realize most coconut milk comes in 13.5 or 14-ounce cans,
so you’ll need 2 to make this recipe. You can use the leftover
coconut milk to make smoothies, curries, your morning coffee or
just about anything else that calls for dairy milk.

Ingredients

3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
5 ounces granulated sugar
1 1/2 ounces cornstarch
pinch kosher salt
15 1/2 ounces full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk
2 ounces (4 tablespoons) fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
lemon zest from 1 lemon

Directions

In a large bowl, whisk eggs, yolk, sugar, cornstarch, and salt
until combined and free of lumps.

Bring coconut milk to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium
heat. Slowly pour 2/3 cup hot coconut milk into the egg
mixture, whisking briskly and constantly, to temper the eggs.
Add tempered egg mixture back to coconut milk on the stove,
whisking constantly. Continue to cook over medium heat,
whisking, until mixture becomes very thick, like pudding.
(Mixture may seem over-thick; it will thin with the addition of
lemon juice at the end.) Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice
and vanilla extract.

Pour pastry cream through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl.
Stir in lemon zest. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, pushing the
wrap onto the surface of the pastry cream to prevent a skin
from forming. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.


Pate A Choux Puffs

Adapted from Ready for
Dessert by David Lebovitz

Makes about 10-12 large puffs

Ingredients

1 cup water
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

Directions

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment
paper or Silpat mats.

Bring water, butter, sugar and salt to a boil in a medium sauce
pan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. As soon as the
butter has melted and the mixture boils, using a spatula, stir
in the flour all at once until a thick paste forms and pulls
away from the sides of the pan. Remove from heat. Cool for 2
minutes, stirring occasionally.

Briskly beat the eggs in one at a time with a spatula, making
sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next,
until dough is smooth and shiny.

Using a large scoop (4 tablespoon size, normally used for
muffins), scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet leaving at
least 1 inch of space between each. You should get 10-12 puffs.

Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then lower oven temperature to
375°F. Continue baking for another 10-15 minutes, or until
puffs are golden brown on top and sides. Turn off oven and let
puffs sit in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and poke
each puff on the bottom with a paring knife to release steam.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

Puffs are best used the same day they are baked, or you can
freeze them in a zip-top freezer bag for up to a month.

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About the Author: Pope Lance