Make Vanilla Pastry Cream:
Combine whole milk and vanilla extract in a steel pot. Bring the mixture to a light simmer over medium heat or just until steaming. Once steaming, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool. Set aside.
In a large bowl, set up an ice bath, filling it with cold water and ice. Set aside. We will use this to cool our pastry cream so it doesn’t overcook.
In a separate bowl, whisk together white sugar, corn starch, salt and yolk until the mixture is pale yellow, smooth, and fluffy.
While gently whisking the yolk mixture, stream in the infused milk. Continuously whisk slowly until all the milk mixture has been added and is incorporated.
Return the mixture to the same pot. Cook the mixture over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture begins to thicken. Once the mixture begins to bubble, whisk vigorously for about a minute.
After whisking for a minute, pull the mixture off the heat and stir in the unsalted butter. Make sure the butter is melted in fully.
Strain the pastry cream through a sieve set over a medium bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cream to prevent a skin from forming. Place the bowl in the prepared ice bath to chill. Once cool, refrigerate the cream until cold for about 2 hours.
Make Cream Puffs:
While the pastry cream cools, make the cream puff dough.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a small glass or a cookie cutter, trace 1 ½ to 2-inch circles on the parchment, leave about ¾ inch gap between each circle. Flip the parchment paper over on the baking sheet so the traced side is down.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large pot, bring the water, whole milk, butter, vanilla extract, salt and sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. Once the mixture is boiling, pull the pan off the heat.
Add the flour all at once and quickly mix everything with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until combined. The flour will create a thick paste.
Place the pot over the stove again on medium heat and cook the mixture for another minute or two or just until the mixture starts to look dry.
Using an electric blender or stand mixer, beat the mixture for about a minute or two until slightly cool and most of the steam has escaped.
Place the eggs in one at a time and gently incorporate them into the cooled mixture. Mix until the eggs are fully incorporated. The batter should fall in ribbons once fully combined.
Note: If for some reason your batter is very stiff, add one more egg and beat in until fully combined.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip and pipe mounds within the traced circles on the parchment.
Note: If there is a point on your cream puff mound after pipping, you can use a wet fingertip to smooth it out.
Bake the cream puffs at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes and then turn the down to 350 degrees. And bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the puffs are deep golden brown.
Once golden brown, make a horizontal incision with a paring knife to let the steam out. This will help the puffs dry out a bit.
Prep your cherry halves: de-pit and half the fresh cherries and set aside.
While the cream puffs cool on a rack, make the cherry almond diplomat cream.
In a clean bowl, whip cold heavy cream until hard peaks form.
Pull the chilled vanilla pastry cream out of the fridge and give it a quick whisk to make it smooth once again.
Gently fold in the Cherry Almond skyr and vanilla pastry cream into the whipped cream until just combined. Set aside.
Note: Do not stir to much, we want to keep the fluffiness and air from the whipped cream intact.
Cut the cream puffs either in 2/3 the way up with a sharp knife.
Transfer the diplomat cream into a pipping bag fitted with a tip and pipe the cream into each cream puff. Place two to three fresh cherry halves and then place the cap on.
Dust each cream puff with an ample amount of powdered sugar and enjoy!