Apple-Stuffed Cheddar Puffs
Author: 
Makes: about 30 filled puffs
 
Ingredients
Pâte à choux:
  • 6 tablespoons/90 g unsalted butter
  • ¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 cup/120 g all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup/90 g grated sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Egg wash: 1 large egg beaten with a pinch of fine-grain sea salt
Fried sage leaves:
  • ¼ cup/60 ml olive oil for frying
  • 30 fresh sage leaves
  • Fleur de sel
Apple filling:
  • 3 Granny Smith apples (1 pound/450 g), cored and finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ½ cup/100 g granulated sugar
  • ½ cup/110 g firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup/30 g cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
Instructions
  1. MAKE THE PÂTE À CHOUX: Preheat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine ¾ cup/180 ml of water and the butter, salt, and sugar in a 2½-quart/2.4 L saucepan over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil and remove from the heat source. Sift in the flour; stir to combine completely.
  3. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes to cool slightly.
  5. Stir 1 of the eggs into the mixture. The batter will appear loose and shiny at first. When the egg is fully incorporated, the batter will look dry and coarse, like mashed potatoes. At this point, add the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all 4 eggs. Stir in the grated Cheddar until it is evenly dispersed in the batter.
  6. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip or a resealable plastic bag with the corner snipped off. Pipe the dough into 1 x 1-inch/2.5 x 2.5 cm mounds, spaced 2 inches/5 cm apart, on the prepared baking sheets.
  7. Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of the choux when piping.
  8. Brush the tops with egg wash.
  9. Bake the choux at 425°F/220°C until well inflated and golden, about 10 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350°F/180°C and continue to bake until dry, about 20 minutes more. Transfer the choux puffs to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely.
  10. MAKE THE FRIED SAGE LEAVES: Line a small plate with 2 paper towels. Heat the oil in an 8-inch/20 cm skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Drop 1 sage leaf into the oil to test it. If the leaf sizzles and fries to a crisp within 2 to 3 seconds, it’s done—if it doesn’t, then allow the pan to heat longer and test again.
  11. Fry the sage leaves 5 at a time for 2 to 3 seconds, or until crispy. Be careful, because the oil will pop as the moisture releases from the leaves. Transfer the crisp leaves to the paper towel–lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with fleur de sel.
  12. MAKE THE APPLE FILLING: Toss the apples with the lemon juice and set aside. Combine the granulated and brown sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a saucepan. Stir in 1 cup/240 ml of water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  13. Add the apples and bring to a boil again. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the apples are fork-tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Be careful not to cook the mixture too long or you’ll end up with applesauce. Allow the apple filling to cool to just warm or room temperature.
  14. Fill a piping bag fitted with a ¾-inch/2 cm opening with the apple mixture. Discreetly cut a slit in the sides of the cooled Cheddar puffs and fill them with the apple filling. Gently press the slits closed. Pile them high on a serving platter and garnish them with fried sage leaves, if desired.
  15. Serve the filled puffs immediately.
  16. The puffs can be made ahead and stored in an airtight container. Fill within 2 to 3 hours before serving; otherwise, you could end up with soggy puffs.
Recipe by Bakepedia at https://www.bakepedia.com/apple-stuffed-cheddar-puffs/