These little delights have flaky, buttery crust and a rich creamy filling all topped off with a layer of melted sugar. They're like creme brulees without the trouble of torches and water baths, and there's no need for plates or utensils when served! They're the perfect party snack or boxed with a bow, they make a perfect holiday gift! Enjoy!
Step 1: Gather Ingredients
Puff Pastry Cups
1 cup half and half
2 egg yolks
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 cup cornstarch
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
A pinch of salt
1/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Step 2: Bake Pastry Shells
Preheat oven to 400F and bake pastry shells according to directions on box.
Once they are out of the oven, you will need to use the handle of a wooden spoon or the end of a small rolling pin to push in the center of the shell.
Set aside to cool.
Step 3: Make Cream Filling
Place all ingredients except butter into a saucepan and cook over medium heat. Stir constantly until the mixture becomes thick (and perhaps a little lumpy).
Remove from heat and whisk in butter piece by piece until all the butter is incorporated.
Once the the mixture is smooth, use a hand or stand mixer to whisk the mixture for 1 minute on medium-high speed. The cream should be thick but fluffy.
Transfer cream to a piping bag (a ziplock bag works well too) and snip the corner so you can pipe the cream into the shells.
Step 4: Fill Shells
Pipe the cream into the shells until they're filled.
Pipe. Pipe. Pipepipepipepipe.
Step 5: Make Topping
Mix sugar and vanilla in a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir constantly to make sure the sugar doesn't burn. When the sugar has completely melted and turned a golden brown color, turn the heat down to the lowest setting to keep the sugar liquidy.
Step 6: Dunk Them!
Using tongs, carefully lower a cream-filled shell into the sugar to coat the top.
The sugar won't want to stick to the cream so work quickly to flip the puffs right-side up after dipping them.
Place the finished puffs on a wire rack to cool and harden.
*Note: Be very careful when handling melted sugar. The mixture is EXTREMELY hot.
Step 7: Marvel at Your Little Creations!
These are the perfect little treats to serve at a tea party or a little get together. Be careful when biting into the little puffs, though: the filling likes to ooze out!