4 eggs(each egg should weigh 60-61 grams with shell)(room temperature)
ITALIAN CREAM FILLING
CHANTILLY CREAM FILLING
1cupwhole or whipping cream
2tablespoons icing /powdered sugar(sifted)
In a medium pot on medium heat, add the water, butter, sugar and salt mixing to combine as the butter melts, when it starts to boil remove from the heat and add the flour all at once. Mix quickly and combine well. Place the pot on low heat and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon for approximately 60 seconds remove from heat.
Transfer to your food processor bowl and let cool for about 30-40 minutes (do not refrigerate). When cool Pre-heat oven to 375° (190° celsius)
Add the eggs (lightly beaten) one at a time to the cooled mixture and pulse to combine well before adding the additional eggs, one at a time, make sure to combine really well. The dough batter should be glossy and creamy.
At this point line cookie sheets with parchment paper and using a spoon or a pastry bag, form round mounds of pastry**. Wet your finger with a little water to flatten down (any pointy parts) the tops of the bignè.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Turn off the oven. Make a small whole in the bigne with a toothpick (to release steam) and place back in oven to dry for an additional 10 minutes, leave the oven door slightly ajar. Remove from oven and let cool completely before filling with Italian Cream Filling or a simple whipped cream. Enjoy!
ITALIAN CREAM FILLING (make the filling while puffs are baking)
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 (remove the peel) and cover with plastic wrap, making sure to touch plastic to the cream,(so it doesn't form a coating on top) bring to room temperature and use as filling.
In a medium bowl beat the cream until it reaches the soft peak stage then add the icing sugar and vanilla, beat again until stiff peaks appear. Fill cooled shells.
**I usually make 6-7 large shells, you could make 10 medium or even 20 or more small.