I finally realized I was lactose intolerant in college. Every night I was uncomfortable, but I didn't understand why. I grew up drinking milk with meals and never thought much about it.
Making the switch, for me, was hard. I did have to #rethinkwhatyoudrink. Not because I didn't want to feel better, but my options were limited. I tried everything from rice milk to coconut ice cream and soy milk but nothing took the place of familiar dairy. I even tried some products that were just plain bad. Grainy or gritty, some left a bad aftertaste in my mouth.
I was so happy to find Silk Soy Milk. Vanilla became my flavor of choice, though my husband would probably choose Chocolate Silk. It wasn't till my kids were born that we really took the leap and switched.
Now my husband is outnumbered by the soy milk drinkers in the house. He still asks for his milk, but I do tempt him with a little Chocolate Silk from time to time. My kids haven't been raised milk drinkers, but they have been raised Silk drinkers.
I love that Silk is constantly coming out with new products and their line includes Silk Pure Almond, Silk Pure Coconut, Silk Fruit & Protein and now they have added a Silk Iced Latte option for people like me who enjoy coffee, but want a fast and easy option. Now Silk even has a "New Great Taste". If possible, it is even smoother and creamier than before. But, I am already a bit biased. Check out my recent shopping trip to Walmart see all the Silk products I had to choose from.
When I mention to friends that we drink soy milk the conversation usually goes to GMOs and the safety of using soybeans in our diet. One of the reasons I love Silk is that they are Non GMO Project verified. So it isn't genetically modified. We often buy our Silk by the case and choose the organic version, which has no artificial colors or flavors, but I am happy to drink either. I am confident in my choice for my family.
Have you ever baked with a milk alternative? I have a few times with mixed results. I have a bread recipe for my kids that uses rice milk, but when it comes to tasting closer to dairy, Silk has worked better for me. Last year I successfully baked a dairy and egg free pumpkin pie, but haven't done much baking with Silk since then.
So, what would tempt my tummy for a second attempt at a Silk baking experiment? Well, one of my all-time favorite desserts are cream puffs. Simple little pastries filled with whipped cream or decadent pastry cream are always a hit. They were a favorite of mine when I lived in Japan and rarely find bakeries here in the US that make them fresh ... or serve them fresh and warm.
While browsing the Silk Soy website I came across a recipe for Express Pastry Cream and knew that my beloved cream puffs were within my grasp again. If you haven't made pastry cream before it might seem intimidating, but this recipe is really simple. I lessened the vanilla extract the recipe called for and added in some vanilla bean instead because I think everything is better with flecks of luscious vanilla bean.
This recipe only requires a few ingredients. Eggs play a key role and my hens were happy to supply me with enough fresh eggs for both the pastry and the filling.
Ever worry about clumping flour over the stove? I sift mine again, since I buy it in bulk, but the water and butter will help to moisten it all. Just don't let it burn.
The pastry is simply flour, water, butter and eggs. It always amazes me that the cream puffs are so light and crisp. The dough should form a nice ball and come away from the sides of the pan.
Beating in each egg is a nice little forearm workout. It will work, so don't lose hope when the first egg or two don't mix in easily. It all comes together. Just have faith.
I pour the final batter into a big gallon-sized zip top bag to pipe onto my baking sheet. I don't mess around with my pastry bags for this. Just snip a small corner from one side and pipe little mounds.
It always seems magical when they puff up on the baking sheet. I let them cool a little while I work on the pastry cream. I don't want them to be too hot and melt the filling.
This Silk Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream is brilliant because it uses a blender to combine all the ingredients! Just turn it on and then transfer it to the stove to cook until it thickens.
See those gorgeous little flecks of vanilla bean? They make me smile.
There are two ways to fill your cream puffs. You can grab a filling tip, it is long and tapered to be inserted inside the cream puff, or you can cut the shell in half and spoon some filling inside. Either way, mine are usually overfilled and bursting at the seams. I just can't help myself.
If you really want to go wild, drizzle a little dark chocolate over the top. Oh, yeah... it is so good!
I was so pleased with this pastry cream. It was faster and easier to make than the traditional version I usually make. I also love that it uses the Vanilla Silk I already have in my fridge. Creamy and full of vanilla flavor, this would be lovely as a cake filling, cupcake filling or in your own homemade cream puffs.
Cream Puffs with Silk Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
adapted from Silk's Express Pastry Cream
You Will Need:
For the Cream Puffs
- 1 c. water
- 1/2 c. butter, unsalted
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 c. flour
- 4 eggs
For the Silk Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
- 4 eggs
- 4 oz. powdered sugar
- 2 c. Silk Vanilla Soy Milk
- 3 Tbsp. flour
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
- 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- To make the cream puffs: put the water in a medium saucepan. Bring it up to a boil and add the butter. Once the butter has melted add the flour and salt, reduce the heat to medium. Stir till a ball forms. Keep stirring as the dough comes together so it doesn't burn. Remove from the heat and mix in one egg at a time till they are all incorporated.
- Use a pastry bag or zip top bag to pipe 10 - 12 cream puffs onto an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Let them cool slightly as you make the pastry cream.
- To make the pastry cream: combine all the ingredient in a blender and blend for one minute.
- Pour the mixture into a saucepan and stirring constantly, thicken over medium heat till it reaches a pudding consistency. Cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap touching the top so it doesn't create a skin. Cool slightly before using or refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Pipe into slightly cooled shells or cut cream puff shells in half and spoon pastry cream into the middle. Drizzle with chocolate or serve plain.
*Disclaimer - I am a member of the Collective Bias® Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias® and WhiteWave #CBias #SocialFabric. All opinions and experiences are my own.