Happy Father’s Day! Yes today is Father’s Day in some Catholic countries, including Spain,Portugal and Italy. In Italy the typical sweet treat for father’s day is called Bignè di San Giuseppe, which translated means St. Joseph’s Cream Puffs. There are two types of Bignè, Baked Bignè and Fried Bignè. We prefer the Baked Bignè although I’m sure the Italian would never say no to either.
I have made Baked Bignè a few times in my life, but I usually would end up buying them for Father’s Day. Then about a week ago my youngest daughter asked me if I would buy her a Bignè. So I thought: “what the heck, I will get her two!” I ordered my two and when I was handed the my little box with 2 medium-sized Bignè I thought to myself are they crazy? Six euros for two lousy Bignè? No they weren’t crazy, I was. I would certainly need more than two to feed my Bignè-loving-family. Besides Italian Cream Filled Baked Bignè are certainly healthier than fried and also tastier in my opinion.
At that moment I decided, this Father’s Day I was going to make them. While I was driving my daughter to the train yesterday morning, I remembered that tomorrow (today) was indeed the day I would have to serve my Baked Bignè.
Let me tell you there is really not much to them. They’re made with a delicious chioux pastry. Bignè are one of those types of Pastries that are easy, but when you start making them they need your full attention. Don’t take your eyes off them and keep stirring! Or maybe because they are french they make you feel a little intimidated.
Italian Cream Filled Baked Bignè
In Italy Bignè are usually filled with an Italian cream or simple whipped cream. Either way these Italian Cream Filled Baked Bignè are delicious. Enjoy!
- FOR THE CHIOUX PASTRY
- 3/4 cup water 200 ml
- 1 tablespoon sugar 12 grams
- 7 tablespoons butter 100 grams
- pinch salt
- 1 cup flour 130 grams
- 4 medium eggs room temperature
- ITALIAN CREAM FILLING
- 1/4 cup sugar 45 grams
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup flour 37 grams
- 1 cup milk 250 grams
In a medium pot heat on medium, add water, butter, sugar and salt together, when it starts to boil remove from heat and add flour all at once. Mix quickly and combine well. Place the pot again on low heat and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon for 30- 40 seconds (no more), remove from heat.
Transfer to a bowl and let cool (do not refrigerate) approximately 2 hours. When cool Pre-heat oven to 400° (200° celsius)
Add the eggs one at a time to the cool mixture and mix well before adding the additional eggs, one at a time, make sure to combine really well.
At this point line cookie sheets with parchment paper and using a spoon or a pastry bag, form round mounds of pastry.
Bake for 15 minutes at 400° (200° celsius) and then lower heat to 375° (180° celsius) and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Turn off the oven. Make a small slit in the bignè (to release steam) and place back in oven to dry for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before filling with Italian Cream Filling or a simple whipped cream. Enjoy!
ITALIAN CREAM FILLING
In a medium pot add sugar, and egg yolk, whisk together then add flour and a piece of lemon peel, approximately 1 inch (2 centimeters) (not white part, best if you cut with a potato peeler), mix together. In a small pot add the milk and place on medium heat, when it has almost started to boil remove from heat and add slowly to the egg, flour mixture, whisking continuously, when you have finished adding the milk, replace the pot again on the heat, stirring continuously with the whisk, until cream has become very thick , turn off heat but continue to stir for a couple of minutes then place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap,making sure to touch plastic to cream,(so it doesn't form a coating on top) bring to room temperature and use as filling.