- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
- 1 cup water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs, plus 1 egg
- 1 qt water
- 1 1/3 cups sugar
- 4 Bosc pears, cored, peeled, and quartered
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp whole cloves
- 1/2 lemon
- 1 vanilla bean, split
- Sweetened whipped cream
To make the cream puffs, in a saucepan over low heat, add butter, water, and salt and stir until butter is melted. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Remove pan from heat and add flour. Using a wooden spoon, beat until dough comes together. Place pan back over medium heat and continue to cook, beating, for 1 more minute to dry out dough.
Transfer dough to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute. Add 4 eggs, one at a time, allowing each addition to blend completely into dough and mixture is shiny and sticks to side of bowl.
Preheat oven to 400° and position two racks in top and lower thirds of oven. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
Spoon dough into a pastry bag fitted with a ½” plain tip. Pipe dough into 4 ½” circles that are 2” apart. Lightly beat remaining 1 egg. Brush a light coating of egg over tops of piped dough, being careful to not drip egg down sides onto parchment.
Bake both sheets of puffs for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350°, switch sheets between racks, rotate pans from front to back, and bake for 20 minutes longer. Reduce temperature again, to 300°, and bake 10-15 minutes longer (to dry out interior). The cream puffs should be a deep golden brown, with no bubbling moisture visible around sides. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.
Adapted from The Art and Soul of Baking by Cindy Mushet
To make the poached pears, in a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add 1 quart water and sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Add pears, cinnamon, cloves, lemon, and vanilla, stirring to combine. Reduce heat to low.
Cut a circle of parchment paper with a hole in center and place over pears to prevent discoloration. Simmer pears until cooked through, 15-25 minutes.
Remove from heat and let pears cool in their liquid.
Serve pears warm or at room temperature alongside split cream puffs and a spoonful of poaching liquid and whipped cream.