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Friday, July 19, 2013

Chocolate Dipped Cream Puffs

I have been craving Cream Puffs for quite some time so I decided to do something about it.  I never did like the store bought freezer variety.  They will do in a pinch, but home-made cream puffs are the best.  They are a bit involved and take multiple steps to accomplish, but once complete are a divine two or three bites of creamy puffy chocolatey goodness.
I am pretty particular in my Cream Puff making process.  I always start with pastry cream because it takes the longest to make and set up, then I go for the puffs because they are quick and easy.  The Chocolate Ganache is optional.  Ideal, but still optional.

Pastry Cream

  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 cups of Whole Milk (You can use 2%, 1%, or Skim, but Whole milk tastes better.  Fat is Flavor.)
  • 2-inche piece of Vanilla Bean or 1 tsp Vanilla extract.
Whisk together egg yolks and sugar.
Whisk in flour and salt.
Heat milk and vanilla in a separate pan on medium heat until it almost reaches a boil.
Stirring constantly, pour the hot vanilla milk into the egg mixture in a thin, slow and steady stream so as not to boil the egg.  Once all the milk is in continue stirring and cook over medium heat until the pastry cream comes to a boil.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and let it cool, stirring occasionally.  If it gets too chunky, strain it.  It should have the consistency of pudding.
Once cool put plastic wrap on top of the pastry cream to prevent a skin from forming.  Refrigerate.

Cream Puffs (aka Chou Paste)

  • 1 cup Water
  • 8 Tbs Butter (1/2 a cup or 1 stick.  It melts faster when you cut it up into Tablespoon portions.)
  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 4 eggs - to be added last, one at a time
Chou Paste is also the base for eclairs, lobster tails or Sfogliatelle, and crab stuffed appetizers.
Add water and butter to a saucepan over low heat.  Once the butter is melted bring to a boil and add flour and salt.
Stir in flour with a wooden spoon and remove from heat.  All the recipes I have read for Cream Puffs requires a wooden spoon.  I have a terrible habit of burning the end of all my wooden spoons which is why the top of it looks brown.  It was an artistic accident.
Add 4 eggs, one at a time, beating each egg into the dough before adding another egg.
I like to put my cream puff dough into a piping bag.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Pipe out puffy snails onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes until golden brown and set aside to cool.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 16 oz Heavy Cream (1 pint = 2 cups)
  • 8 oz chopped semi-sweet baking chocolate or 1 cup chocolate chips
  • Chop up chocolate.  Heat Cream until it starts to boil.  Turn off the stove and add the chocolate.  Stir until chocolate is smooth.  Refrigerate.
  Now, be like The Avengers and Cream Puffs, Assemble!
I added the Pastry Cream to a piping bag with a 12 tip, you know, the big round one.  I just stick it in one side of the puff and squeeze until pastry cream starts oozing out, then I know my puff is adequately filled.
Dip filled cream puffs in chocolate ganache and refrigerate.
They can be refrigerated overnight or frozen.  But it is a rare thing for a chocolate dipped cream puff to live through the night at my house.