by Caitlin Saniga
These little guys are like savory cream puffs. In fact, you can use the choux puff pastry recipe for sweet cream puffs, too.
Start out by making the choux pastry puffs, as Martha Stewart calls them. This can be done up to two weeks in advance. Just make sure to store them in a sealed zip-top bag in the freezer. You’ll need:
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large whole eggs
- 1 large egg white
When you pipe out the pastry, it should be able to stand on its own in a pretty solid mound. See the pointed tips on each pastry here? They'll need to be smoothed down with a wet finger. At this consistency, the pastry will pretty much keep its shape in the oven.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set them aside. Combine the butter, salt and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan, and place over medium heat. Cook until the butter is melted and the water just comes to a boil.
Remove from the heat, add flour, and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to heat; cook, stirring constantly, until th emixture comes together and pulls
The "puff" on the left came from my first batch. I used all of 3 large eggs, but it was too much, and the pastry was wetter and thinner than it should have been. When I piped it onto the baking sheet, it settled into a puddle. Careful with your consistency! You want the puffs to turn out like the one on the right.
away from the sides of the saucepan as you stir, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let cool for 5 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously until they are completely incorporate and the pastry is smooth. (It might be best to break the third egg into a dish, split the yolk with a knife, and add it in spoonfuls to the mixture. You might not need to use all of the final egg to achieve the correct consistency.)
Transfer the pastry to a pastry bag fitted with a small coupler (or a zip-top bag with the corner cut off to form a small hole). Pipe about 1 tablespoon of the pastry into a mound on one of the prepared baking sheets. Continue piping until all the pastry is used, spacing pastry about 1 1/2 inches apart.
Combine the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush the top of each mound with the egg wash. Smooth any rough spot on the top with a water-dampened finger. Bake until the puffs are golden brown all over, about 30 minutes. (Start checking at 20 minutes.) Remove from the oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
Next, make the sausage filling:
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 8 ounces chicken or turkey sausage, casing removed (or pork sausage as a last resort)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook about 4 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook the mixture until the onions are transparent, about 4 minutes. Add the sausage, breaking the meat into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Cook until the sausage is cooked through, about 8 minutes.
The pastries are delicate, so use a small serrated knife to cut them crosswise. If the little "lid" doesn't sit squarely on top at the end, scoop out any pastry fluff to make more room. And if you can't find any red peppers at the store, play around with substitutions. I tried Parmesan cheese shavings on another batch, and they were quite good.
- pastry puffs
- sausage filling
- 1 roasted red or orange bell pepper, cut into small strips (or roasted red pepper from a jar)
- 1/4 cup big chunks of sliced green onion
Slice the pastry puffs crosswise. Spoon about 1 teaspoon sausage filling into the bottom half of each, add a piece or two of bell pepper and a couple pieces of green onion. Replace the top half of the puff. Transfer the profiteroles to a baking sheet, and bake until warm, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately.
Makes about 30.
Recipe adapted from: The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook — The Original Classics
*Throughout December, “Merry and Bites” will feature finger foods with seasonal flair. All of them can be found here. Happy holidays!
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