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Strawberry Basil Coconut Cream Puffs

yield: 16 cream puffs
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Ingredients

For the Candied Thai Basil Leaves

  • 16 small, fresh Thai basil leaves
  • 1 large egg white, gently whisked
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

For the Strawberry Basil Filling

    (makes enough for 16 heavily-stuffed cream puffs)

    • 1 pint fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered
    • 4 sprigs Thai basil
    • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

    For the Profiteroles

    • 1 cup water
    • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup all-purpose flour
    • 4 large eggs

    For Coconut Cream Filling

      (makes enough for 16 heavily-stuffed cream puffs)

      • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, cold
      • 1/4 cup coconut cream, cold
      • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      • 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar

      Instructions

      For the Candied Thai Basil Leaves

      • Brush each Thai basil with the lightly beaten egg white, before lightly dipping each leaf into a bowl containing 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Allow the petals to dry on a sheet of wax paper for 2 to 3 hours until completely dry.

      For the Strawberry Basil Filling

      • In a medium glass bowl, toss together 1 pint hulled and quartered strawberries, leaves from 4 Thai basil sprigs, and 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Let sit until the strawberries begin to release their juices, about 10 - 15 minutes. Toss occasionally to allow basil to infuse. While the strawberries are macerating, make the profiteroles.

      For the Profiteroles

      • Preheat oven to 450 (F), placing oven racks in the center and upper third of the oven. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpat mats and set aside.
      • In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup water, 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon granulated sugar and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, using a heatproof rubber spatula to stir gently and consistently to melt the butter. Once the butter is melted and the mixture is brought to a simmer, lower heat slightly and add 1 cup all-purpose flour all at once. Stir immediately using the heatproof rubber spatula, until the mixture thickens and pulls away from the sides of the pan. At this point, the mixture will have formed into a glossy and damp mass, and the bottom and sides of the pan should be clean. Continue cooking the dough for another 5 minutes over a low flame, allowing moisture to evaporate. When enough moisture has evaporated, the dough will steam and smell slightly nutty.
      • Once the dough is steaming and fragrant, immediately remove pan from heat and transfer the dough to the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 1 minute to release some of the heat from the cooked dough, before turning down the mixer to its slowest speed and adding 4 eggs, one at a time, only adding the next egg until the previous one is fully incorporated. Stop the mixer between each egg addition to scrape down the bowl. After the last egg, the mixture should be glossy and thick — when scooped with a spoon, the dough should slowly pour off the spoon.
      • Use a 3-tablespoon (50mm) cookie dough scoop to portion out dough balls that are about 1 1/2 inches across and 3/4 inches tall. Space each dough ball about 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared sheet pans. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, before rotating the pan from the bottom shelf to the top shelf. Reduce the heat to 350 (F) and bake for another 15 minutes, cracking open the oven door for the first 5 minutes to allow heat to escape and the oven to cool more quickly. When the dough balls are a golden color and crisp on the outside, remove from the oven and allow to cool completely on the pans, placing each pan on a wire rack.

      For the Coconut Cream Filling

      • In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine 1 cup cold heavy cream, 1/4 cup cold coconut cream, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Whisk on medium-high speed until the mixture starts to thicken; add in 1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar and whip until the peaks just hold their shape — be careful not to overmix or you'll end up with butter!

      Assembly

      • Once the profiteroles are completely cool, slice each profiterole in half. Use a 1-tablespoon sized cookie dough scoop to divide the coconut cream filling evenly on a half of each profiterole.
      • Discard the basil leaves from the strawberry basil mixture. Spoon the strawberries evenly between each profiterole.
      • Sandwich the strawberries and coconut cream with the remaining half of each profiterole. Top with a candied basil leaf and serve immediately. Cream puffs are always best the day they are made!