Golden Pear Cream Puffs
This recipe makes enough for second helpings (about four and one-half dozen cream puffs). Unfilled puffs can be frozen up to one month. The filling can be refrigerated, covered, for two days, but don't add the whipped cream until just before piping it into the puffs.
Peel and core pears, and cut into 1/2- inch pieces. Place in a steamer rack set over a pot of boiling water, and cook until soft, about 15 minutes. Let cool. Puree in a blender until completely smooth.
Whisk egg yolks, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk in cornstarch. Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium- high heat just until bubbles begin to form, about 3 minutes. Using a ladle, gradually add hot milk to the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return mixture to pan; cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to bubble and becomes very thick, about 8 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, scrape bottom and sides of pan occasionally as mixture thickens. Remove from heat.
Pour through a large-mesh sieve into a bowl. Add butter; stir until butter has melted. Add pear puree; stir to combine. Place plastic wrap directly on surface; refrigerate until cold, about 30 minutes.
Put heavy cream into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into pastry cream.
Transfer to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch plain round tip (such as Ateco #802). Poke a small hole in the bottom of each pastry puff with a skewer. Fill puffs with pastry cream. Arrange 4 cream puffs on each plate in a pyramid. Spoon about 4 warm caramel pear slices over each serving, and drizzle with sauce.