Recipe: Durian puffs

Since it’s durian season in Singapore, and I love making seasonal desserts, I made these durian puffs (again for his cousins from Minnesota – their Singaporean half loves durian). My math prof once described durian as “a particularly smelly and sweet camembert” :P I love it. My other half absolutely hates it haha but since he’s such a nice guy he actually helped me while I was piping the durian cream into my choux puffs and got durian all over his fingers! ><


Here’re the choux pastry out of the oven – all nicely puffed up.


Pitcher of cream (from Boulder Arts & Crafts) which I added to my pureed durian. With XO in the background, essential in the durian cream.


Durian puff boxes – window cake boxes from the new Buona Vista Phoon Huat! Decorated with a white paint pen from the old Buona Vista Art Friend (which is now taken over by Phoon Huat haha). Window cake boxes are such a brilliant idea.


Here they are all filled with cream puffs! I wanted to dust the puffs with icing sugar but my larder was inexplicably out of sugar. The humongous batch we bought for CNY baking has finally run dry!


And then I tied the boxes with teal and turquoise ribbons :D

OK so here’s the recipe. The durian cream is really good. The choux pastry is Dorie Greenspan’s recipe, and of course would have better results in a less humid country. It does puff up nicely but should be filled directly after they’ve cooled from the oven – not the next day (like I did, and some of them sank back down)


 

Durian cream puffs
(Makes about 40-50 medium sized puffs)

Filling:
Courtesy of maameemoomoo, which I also used for Joy’s birthday cake two years ago

Ingredients
500g durian flesh
1 tbsp milk
10 tbsp cream (35% fat)
1 tbsp XO whisky

I bought 6 styrofoam boxes of extremely soft durian from a pasar malam (the kind where you can see the wrinkles in the skin) – I usually mix some good ones and some bad ones. Red prawn durian and Sultan durian are quite ideal.
This resulted in 1.2kg of durian flesh, so you add the milk, cream, and whisky according to the ratios above.

Method
1. Puree the durian flesh with a tablespoon of milk till 80% smooth. I use an immersion blender.
2. Fold in cream and whisky.

Choux pastry
Courtesy of Dorie Greenspan’s Around my French Table

Ingredients

1 cup whole milk
1 cup water
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoon sugar (if you’re using the puffs for something sweet)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cup all-purpose flour
8 large eggs, at room temperature

Method

Position the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 425°F (210°C). Line two baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar (if you’re using it), and salt to a rapid boil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat.

Add the flour all at once, lower the heat to medium-low, and immediately start stirring energetically with a wooden spoon or heavy whisk. The dough will come together, and a light crust will form on the bottom of the pan.

Keep stirring—with vigor—for another minute or two (two minutes in Singapore!) to dry the dough. The dough should be very smooth.

Turn the dough into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle (K) attachment or into a bowl you can use to mix with a hand mixer or a wooden spoon and elbow grease.

Let the dough sit for a minute, then add the eggs one by one and beat, beat, beat until the dough is thick and shiny. Make sure that each egg is completely incorporated before you add the next, and don’t be concerned if the dough falls apart—by the time the last egg goes in, the dough will come together again.

TO BAKE THE PUFFS: Using about 1 tablespoon dough for each puff, drop the dough from a spoon onto the lined baking sheets, leaving about 2 inches of puff space between the mounds of dough. (The puffs can be frozen for up to 2 months.)

Slide the baking sheet into the oven and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 375°F (190°C). Bake for 12 minutes, then rotate the pans from front to back. Continue baking until the puffs are golden, firm, and, of course, puffed, another 12 to 15 minutes or so. Allow the puffs to cool on the baking sheet.

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