The Missing Half-Cup


A few weeks ago, I received  Pichet Ong’s amazing and inspiring book The Sweet Spot . It had been on my wishlist for a while but I was trying to get a handle of my ever-growing cookbook collection  – which had grown exponentially ever since I started food blogging (I think I buy every book on all my favorite bloggers’ must-have books), I decided it was time to be more practical (yeh, right) and think three times before clicking on the “add to cart” button.

Anyway, I had no buyer’s remorse with this book on Asian-inspired desserts. The pictures are so well composed and infinitely appetizing you can almost taste the sweet offering.

But as with most of my cookbooks, I have not made anything from it yet, I just drool over it night after night swearing that I’ll be making something from it soon.

Then the talented Amrita of La Boulangette announced the theme for Sugar High Friday:  Asian-Sweet-Invasion. It was a no-brainer. This event was the perfect opportunity to use my new book and I could not remember the last time I’ve participated in SHF either. But I was presented with a dilemma of which recipe to use because there was a bounty to select from. There were chocolate spring rolls, the chocolate mango cheesecake parfait sounded especially interesting, and I’ve always wanted to make something with tapioca. However, I knew that I wanted to use matcha green tea and found the perfect recipe for it. Cream puffs. And as perfect as that sounded, the Cream Puff deities had something else in mind … 

Cream Puffs

   From Pichet Ong’s “The Sweet Spot”

  • ½ cup (4 oz/113 g) unsalted butter
  • ½ cup (4 oz/113 g) whole milk
  • 2 tbs sweetened condensed milk
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup (5 ½ oz/155 g) all purpose flour, sifted
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • ½ cup plus 2tbs. water

Preheat oven to 400 F (I used convection 375F). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Put the butter, milk, sweetened condensed milk, ½ cup plus 2 tbs water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Add the flour and cook, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom of the pan and folding the dough over and over, until it is smooth and just starts to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, about 7 minutes.

Transfer the dough to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the dough on medium speed for 1 minute to allow the steam to escape and the dough to cool slightly. With the machine running, add 4 eggs and the yolk one at a time, mixing until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Turn the mixer speed to high and mix for 10 seconds.

Transfer the dough to pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch diameter plain piping tip. Pipe out 1-inch-wide 1-inch-tall rounds 2 inches apart onto the prepared baking sheets; try to form a peak at the top of each. Lightly beat the remaining egg and brush on the tops of the puffs.

Bake for 10 (convection 5 min) minutes, and then lower the temperature to 350F (convection 325F)and bake until the puffs are risen and golden brown, about 20 (convection 15 min.) more minutes. Resist the temptation to peek in at the puffs as they bake or they may fall. Remove from the oven and cool completely on the pans set on a rack.

When ready to serve, cut the puffs horizontally in half. Spoon or pipe 2 tbs. of the matcha cream onto the bottom half of each puff, sandwich with the tops and serve immediately.

Green Tea Cream

  • 1-cup (8 oz/227g) heavy cream
  • 1/8-cup (1 oz/28 g) whole milk
  • 1 tbs vanilla extract
  • 1/8-cup (12 g) matcha (green tea powder)
  • 1/3-cup (2.25 oz/63 g) sugar
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on medium speed until medium-soft-peaks form. (When you lift the whisk from the bowl, a peak will form and the tip will fall back down.) Refrigerate until ready to use.


Cooking Notes:

    I have made Choux Pastry a couple of times before – maybe that explains my cursory skimming of the instructions. It was only when I was typing them out for this post that I realized that I freaking missed an entire half-cup of water! All I saw was the 2 tbs. of water. The original recipe did not have the water as an ingredient but I have included it here so you, my dear readers, will be alerted that it is part of the recipe. My mind quickly flashbacked to the bafflement I felt when I noticed that my mixture was drier than expected. The crust was all cracked too, but I thought that was because I used convection and my oven was too hot. The puffs did not rise that much. The water was necessary to produce more steam for leavening as well as gluten-formation thereby explaining why the crust was almost like a piecrust in texture. Now you know what happens when you forget the water in your pate a choux. But I want to reiterate that the cream puff was really tasty, I think the sweetened condensed milk adds a nuance of sweetness that is very palatable.

    I was a little disappointed in my green tea cream. It had a strange aftertaste. I do have a confession to make though, I forgot to measure my lemon juice and dumped the whole amount in and definitely added about double than what was required. Yikes. My only excuse was it was 8 am on a Sunday morning and clearly had not have enough caffeine in my system yet.

    Anyway, my mistakes aside, I do want to try this cream puff recipe again with a light pastry cream mixed with some diced fruit like strawberry or mango.

30 thoughts on “The Missing Half-Cup

  1. Don't you hate that, when even after some serious proof reading (I suppose) there is still a miss with the recipe and you/we end up scratching our heads? I think they look mighty good even with the missing water and sorry to hear about the matcha cream. They look wonderful though!

  2. That makes me think nobody is immune to these books with amounts, ingredients and whole paragraphs that seem to appear at will on pages. Invisible ink with a mind of it's own is all I can think of.
    Do you think we could get a logo that would show up on RSS indicating there's a "must buy book" so that we could work up our resolve not to buy a book before clicking through to read a post :)) not that it would really work.
    I think these puffs look super cool with their little green tongues!!

  3. What is a good way to dissolve matcha. My past experience, the matcha powder clump up on me as soon as I added the matcha powder to cream. No matter what I did, I was not able to smooth out the lumps. How do you dissolve your matcha powder without lumps?

  4. Hi Helen – I really need to remember the first rule in cooking school – read the recipe three times!
    Thanks Tanna – don't you just hate it when some instruction suddenly appear out of nowhere ;). Good idea about the rss…but i don't think it's going to stop me from checking out a book.
    Thanks big boys oven!
    Thanks Christine – matcha green tea seems all the rage in most patisseries nowadays.
    Hi Della – I've had some matcha clump on me – but most of it dissolves. Sifting does not even seem to help but makes a bigger mess. It's so hard to handle matcha because it is so fine.

  5. I'm sorry to hear about the recipe… that's disappointing specially when it has been published and supposedly tested a million times. Not good. But the photos look amazing veron. I love the soft colors…. and of course, I love a custard with green tea!

  6. I am the same – I keep adding books to my collection because of raves by other food bloggers! Now I have another one added to my want list, because this dessert is gorgeous!

  7. I don't know, Veron, from where I am sitting, I'd gladly be obliterated if it was in a puff of these! 🙂 But, I do find it fascinating to see what a difference that half-cup can make–and that is universal in concept. It's interesting when something works to wonder why it DID work, or to see how important some things are when it doesn't work!

  8. I'm giggling, because there are certain times of day when I never, ever bake. At those times (for me, often in mid-afternoon), I always leave something out — I've been known to poke holes in pie crust to shove in the butter or sugar I've forgotten, or I forget the yeast in yeast bread, or something like that. In the end, nothing to do but laugh and try again!

  9. They look great Veron! Thanks for another matcha idea 🙂 Have to use up my stash…

    I have also experience the mysterious dissappearing-reappearing ingredients in recipes! Maybe we're just hungry? 😉

  10. These look so cute! For some reason the photos make me wish I could poke the cream puffs. hehe. I think the cracks add character and visual interest 🙂

    As for how to get rid of the matcha lumps, I've found that if you mix the matcha with a tiny bit of the liquid first to make a paste, it blends better with the rest of the liquids/ingredients.

  11. oooh I have this book. it's fantastic. I have been eyeing off those chocolate spring rolls. these are lovely too. so colourful and unusual.

  12. Hi Aran – yes they should have included the water as part of the recipe , I think.
    Deborah – do you think there is a Cookbook Anonymous with a 9-step plan?
    Thanks Cakespy – the cream puffs themselves were delicious. The hubby actually liked the green tea cream , I was just more picky with it since I was expecting it to taste a certain way.
    Thanks Patricia – I do love how the colors complemented each other.
    Hi Lydia – Hmmn…maybe I should keep note of the times of the day that I commit most of my mistakes! ;).
    Thanks joey! You know I think there are a lot of us out there that can make a case for the missing and reappearing ingredients in recipes …ha…haa…
    Thanks Marc!
    Thanks Katherine! And thanks for the tip on the matcha, I shall try that next time.
    Oh T.W. – cream puffs are pretty easy to make if you include all the ingredients that is. A great place to start is gougeres…those are yummy snacks by themselves!
    Hi Kj- isn't it a lovely book? I think it's my favorite book of the moment.

  13. Cream puffs and matcha- Sounds heavenly! I've been trying to make cream puffs to no avail, but now I want to give it another try again, because yours just look so good.

  14. I am a matcha lover, but 1/8 cup sounds like a lot, plus the addition of lemon juice…hmmm…I don't see how the grassy matcha pair with tangy lemon juice. Perhaps that's where the aftertaste comes from? Regardless, I think your puffs look great! I have never attempted cream puffs myself…

  15. i love matcha with desserts. for 1/8 of a cup, i'm going to have to find a cheaper source for matcha though!

    the ong book is still on my wishlist…i've gotta get that.

  16. I only used the green tea cream recipe because I was already satisfied with my shell recipe, but you're right. There is an aftertaste. I don't think the lemon juice was right for this cream. =|

    Maybe omitting the lemon will make it better?

    And to Della (even though the post is a yr old): Maybe you can dissolve the powder in some hot water first

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