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Posts Tagged ‘cream puffs’

by Caitlin Saniga

Chocolate-drizzled gingerbread cream puffs

Cream puffs have become my go-to potluck party dessert. They’re pretty and kind of impressive, and they’re all the more festive with a swirl of gingerbread cream in the middle. Getting the puffs to rise correctly is, for me, a lot about getting the right feel when mixing together the ingredients. I’ve had tons of practice and been through lots of trial and error. The first pate a choux recipe I posted on the blog has helpful photos and hints for first-timers. I suggest giving it a browse before starting.

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by Caitlin Saniga

Do these puffs look familiar? I used the same pate a choux recipe here that I used for my sausage profiteroles a few months ago. I had some trouble getting the puffs to rise the first time I made profiteroles, but this time around, I knew exactly what consistency to look for. Remember, if you’re cooking on a day that’s even remotely humid, you should start with just 2 whole eggs. My trick is to start with 2 whole eggs, beat them into the mixture, break the third egg into a cup, and use a hollow egg shell half to scoop out little bits of egg to add to the mixture. That way, I can be as precise as possible.

Pate a choux:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut in pieces
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 large whole eggs
  • 1 large egg white

Whipped cream:

  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons powdered sugar (Add it gradually, tasting as you go, until you achieve the perfect mild sweetness.)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fruit:

  • 3/4 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

To make the pate a choux:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, and set them aside. Combine the butter, salt and 1/2 cup water in a small saucepan, and place over medium heat. Cook until the butter is melted and the water just comes to a boil.

Remove from the heat, add flour, and stir rapidly with a wooden spoon. Return the pan to heat; cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture comes together and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan as you stir, about 5 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat, and let cool for 5 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously until they are completely incorporate and the pastry is smooth. (It might be best to break the third egg into a dish, split the yolk with a knife, and add it in spoonfuls to the mixture. You might not need to use all of the final egg to achieve the correct consistency.)

Transfer the pastry to a pastry bag fitted with a small coupler (or a zip-top bag with the corner cut off to form a small hole). Pipe about 1 tablespoon of the pastry into a mound on one of the prepared baking sheets. Continue piping until all the pastry is used, spacing pastry about 1 1/2 inches apart.

Combine the egg white with 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash, and brush the top of each mound with the egg wash. Smooth any rough spot on the top with a water-dampened finger. Bake until the puffs are golden brown all over, about 30 minutes. (Start checking at 20 minutes.) Remove from the oven, and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Slice the pastry puffs crosswise, and set aside.

To make the whipped cream:

In the bowl of an upright mixer fitted with a whisk, combine the whipping cream, powdered sugar and vanilla, and beat on high until a semi-firm consistency is reached, about 3 minutes.

To make the strawberries:

Sprinkle the sugar over the sliced strawberries and stir to combine.

To assemble the cream puffs:

Put a few slices of strawberry and a dollop of whipped cream in the bottom of each pasty. Top cream puffs with pastry lids.

Serve immediately or chill up to 3 hours before serving.

Recipe adapted from: The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook — The Original Classics

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