FOR THE PUFFS
1 1/4 cups
eggs, at room temperature
FOR THE FILLING
1 1/2 cups skim milk or 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk or 1 1/2 cups
1 (3 1/2 ounce) boxes vanilla instant pudding mix or 1 (1 ounce) package
sugar-free instant vanilla pudding mix
FOR THE TOPPING
red food coloring
- Preheat the oven to 400°F Lightly grease (or line with parchment) two baking sheets.
- Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium-sized saucepan, heat until the butter has melted, and bring to a rolling boil.
- Add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously until the mixture smoothes out and follows the spoon around the pan; this should take less than 30 seconds.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and let the mixture cool for 5 to 10 minutes. It'll still feel hot, but you should be able to hold a finger in it for a few seconds.
- Transfer the dough to a mixer, and beat in the eggs one at a time; the mixture will look curdled at first, but when you add the last egg it should become smooth. Beat for 1 minute after adding the last egg. You'll have a stiff, smooth batter.
- Drop the dough by teaspoonfuls (about the size of a chestnut) onto the prepared sheets (a teaspoon cookie scoop works well here). Leave about 1 ½" to 2" between them; they're going to expand to about the size of a golf ball.
- Bake the puffs for about 20 minutes, till they've puffed, they're a medium golden-brown, and they look dry.
- Remove baked puffs from the oven, and use a sharp knife to cut a slit into the side of each puff, for steam to escape; this will help prevent them from becoming soggy. Return the puffs to the oven for 5 minutes, then remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.
- To fill puffs: Combine all of the filling ingredients, stirring till it's begun to thicken. Refrigerate until set, about 1 hour. Pudding can be made ahead; puffs are best filled just before serving.
- Gently open each puff along a natural "fault line;" you'll see where they want to split. Fill bottom half of each puff with 2 measured teaspoons of filling, and replace with top half. Too fill puffs fuller, see tip at right.
- Sift confectioners' sugar atop puffs just before serving. For pink sugar, combine sugar with red food coloring in a blender or food processor (a mini processor works well here). Rub the pink sugar through a sieve onto the puffs.