Pumpkin Cream Puffs

This recipe only came about because my friend Naama gave me a squash that was grown by her friend. Squash could refer to a lot of things, but in this case, think like a butternut or kabocha squash, so basically a pumpkin. I figured since the flavor of it was so sweet, it would work perfectly in a dessert! I had an idea to do this pumpkin-shaped Paris Brest(ring shaped cream puff) for a while, and that’s how I came up with this recipe! For the components, we have pate choux that is dyed a tinge yellow with turmeric, enrobed in a green craquelin(buttery cookie dough), filled with a squash “pastry cream”(it’s basically just a sweetened squash puree that is velvety and light), finished with pepitas and a cube of caramelized squash. It was really about honoring the squash I was given, and using it to breathe some new life into the a classic French pastry!

For the craquelin:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 tspn spirulina powder or 1 drop of green gel food coloring
a pinch of salt

Mix together to form your dough. Refrigerate for 10 minutes. Roll out into a 1/8-inch layer and cut out 5 3-inch disks. Cut out a 1-inch disk from the center of the 3-inch disks, as your puffs will be ring-shaped. Keep these craquelin disks refrigerated or frozen until time to bake.

For the pate choux:
1/2 cup water
4 tbsp unsalted butter
a pinch of turmeric
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs

Heat up the water, butter, turmeric, and salt in a pot. Once the water is brought to a boil, and the butter is fully melted, mix in your flour and take the pot off heat. Once the flour and water mixture forms a ball, allow the mixture to cool down to just above body temperature before mixing in your eggs. Transfer into a piping bag. Pipe the puffs on lined non-stick sheet trays, doing 6 1/2-inch rounds in a circle to form a singular puff. Place the prepared craquelin disks on top. Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes, then 350 degrees F for another 10 minutes, before removing from the oven. Allow these puffs to cool down before cutting in half for assembly.

For the squash “pastry cream”:
Approximately 1 cup of steamed kabocha squash, peeled and riced
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup granulated sugar
a pinch of salt
2 tbsp brown butter

For the squash, steam about 1/2 a raw squash, cut into 1/2 inch-thick pieces, for at least 10 minutes, or until dark orange and soft. Scoop out the flesh and pass through a ricer for the pastry cream, while reserving the rest for the caramelized garnish. Whisk the riced squash with heavy cream, sugar, salt, and brown butter on medium heat for about 5 minutes. You want the mixture to be thick enough to cling to the sides of your whisk. Pass through a sieve, optionally, to remove any lumps. Cool down the mixture before transferring into a piping bag with a star tip.

For the caramelized squash:
1 slice of steamed squash
2 tbsp granulated sugar
a pinch of salt

Cut the squash into 1/2-inch by 1/2-inch pieces. Mix the sugar with salt. Sprinkle onto the cubes and sear the squash in a nonstick pan on medium heat until the sugar caramelizes around the exterior of the squash. Cool down before using.

For assembly:
Toasted pepitas

Pipe the pastry cream into the puffs and garnish with pepitas. Pipe a small dollop of the pastry cream on the top half of your puffs, and garnish with a cube of caramelized squash to finish.

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