This makes a super dessert and a great holiday center piece. You can use this as a base recipe and do all kinds of things, use chocolate in stead of carmelized sugar, fill the puffs with custard or whipped cream, decorate with tiny almond paste holly leaves etc. etc. Again it is a do ahead recipe to take some of the strain off last munute rush.
- To make Puffs:preheat oven 400f.
- Bring water, butter,sugar & salt to a roiling boil in a large saucepan.
- Add flour all at once, stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan clean. Remove from heat.
- Beat in eggs, one at at a time with a wooden spoon until paste is shiny& smooth Drop pastry by well rounded teasp, 1 1/2" apart on 2 ungreased cookie sheets Bake 35 minutes or until puffed and golden.
- Cool on a wire rack.
- Prepare carmelized sugar:.
- Heat sugar & lemon juice in a heavy medium sized skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon until the sugar is melted and light golden brown.
- Do not let it burn Remove from heat.
- Putting it together:.
- Place 14 puffs in a 9" circle on a platter.
- Fill in the center of the circle with about 5 more puffs.
- Working quickly and carefully dip the bottom of remaining puffs in the carmalized sugar (don't let it touch your skin), one at a time and place each on top of the base puffs in a slightly smaller circle Fill in the center with puffs.
- Continue making each circle smaller to form a tree shape.
- Drizzle the remaining sugar over the tree and decorate with the cherry halves You may refrigerate for 1-2 days.