No, I don’t have a cold. It is cold here, below freezing at dawn, but it warming to the high 40’s to mid 50’s in the afternoon. When the sun is out it is beautiful. When its raining… well there is nothing like a 40 deg rain to keep one inside and baking.
Normally, I make my cream puffs with choux, creme pat and chocolate ganache. I thought this time I would make a lighter pastry with sweet chocolate and vanilla whipped cream filling, and with deference to the season, decided to stack them like a snowman. (Full disclosure: I saw them on the final of The Great American Baking Show and thought they looked amazing and I never have a problem with the baked choux sticking to the parchment paper like Amanda Faber did. Hmmm.)
I drew a template of circles 1.75″ and 0.75″ diameter on one side of a piece of parchment
paper. The paper was then placed, pencil side down on a double thick cookie sheet and set aside.
- ½ c (65 grams) AP flour
- ½ tsp granulated white sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 4 tbsp (55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- ½ c (120 ml) water
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tbl water to glaze (optional
- Preheat oven to 400o F (200o C) and place rack in center of oven.
- In a bowl whisk the flour with the sugar and salt.
- Place the butter and water in a saucepan over medium high heat and bring to a boil.
- Remove from heat and, with a wooden spoon, add the flour mixture, all at once, and stir until combined. It will look like mashed potatoes. Return saucepan to the heat and stir constantly until the dough comes away from the sides of the pan and forms a thick smooth ball (about 1-2 minutes). The dough will film the bottom and sides of the saucepan and make cleaning a pain.
- Transfer the dough to an electric mixer and beat on low speed to release the steam from the dough (about 1 minute). Once the dough is lukewarm start adding the lightly beaten eggs (dough will separate and then come together) and continue to mix until you have a smooth thick paste (dough will fall from a spoon in a thick ribbon).
- Place the dough in a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip and pipe disks, alternating sizes onto the parchment lined baking
sheet. (Hold the bag at a 90-degree angle and pipe disks.) Alternate sizes so you don’t end up with all large or small disks. If desired, with a pastry brush, gently brush the tops of the dough with the lightly beaten egg.
- Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350o F (180o C).
- Remove from oven, pierce an end of each éclair with a small skewer to release the interior steam.
Chocolate Whipped Cream
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar
- Place a metal mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the bowl from the freezer. Add the heavy cream, cocoa powder, and powdered sugar, and beat with an electric mixer for 4-5 minutes, or until stiff peaks form / it’s scoop-able with a spoon and holds its shape.
- Place leftovers in a container and store in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Sweet Vanilla Whipped Cream
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pour the cream into a well-chilled bowl and add the sugar and vanilla.
- Using an electric hand mixer or balloon whisk, beat the cream to the desired consistency.
- For soft peaks, the cream will be just thick enough to hold its shape in soft billows.
- For stiffly beaten cream, the beaters or whisk wires will leave distinct traces on the cream and stand in firm peaks when the beaters are lifted.
- Fill large puffs with chocolate whipped cream and small ones with vanilla.
- Pipe a swirl of vanilla whipped cream on top of the large puff
- Place small, filled puff on top of large one using the swirl of whipped cream as a binder.
- Drizzle with ganache
- Top with a berry, if you have any. A dab of whipped cream piped on top would be good also.