Straight from the kitchen of my grandmother.
To make cream puffs, in a medium saucepan bring the water to a boil. Add the shortening or butter, and salt. Let the water return to a full boil and then remove from the heat. Add the flour, stirring until the mixture forms a ball and leaves the sides of the pan. Using an electric hand mixer on high speed, add the eggs one at a time, making sure to mix well between additions. The mixture will be very smooth and silky looking. Allow cream puff batter to cool completely.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
Using two large tablespoon drop the batter in about 8 to 9 scoops on the prepared baking pan. (or use a cookie scoop) Bake for 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and set pan on a baking rack to cool.
To make the pastry filling, in a large bowl add the vanilla pudding, milk, and almond extract; blend together. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator. When ready to fill cream puffs, add the heavy cream to a large bowl and use an electric hand mixer to whip to stiff peaks. Fold the pudding mixture and whipped cream together using a spatula.
Slice the tops off the cream puffs, removing and discarding some of the pastry with your fingers. Scoop the filling into each cream puff.
To make the chocolate ganache, create a double boiler by bringing a medium pot of water to a simmer over medium heat. Place a heatproof bowl on top of the boiling water, adding the chocolate chips, butter, heavy cream, and corn syrup to the bowl. Stir mixture together with a spatula until the chocolate is melted and combined. Drizzle warm chocolate over top of the pastry filled cream puffs. Decorated with drained maraschino cherries and mint leaf candies. Sprinkle with powdered sugar.
TIP: You can prepare cream puffs the night before, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. They will last in the fridge for about 2 days.