Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cream Puff

It's funny: I've been baking recipes from Dorie for 4 years, but I can still get nervous butterflies when I look at a recipe.  Just thinking about today's recipe, the Peppermint Cream Puff Ring, filled me with trepidation.  The pastry is the classic French pâte à choux, and for the recipe to be successful, the dough needs to puff as it bakes, so that there's a nice hollow place for the cream filling.  You don't know until you finish baking whether you have a puff or a pancake!

I didn't have any need for a whole pastry ring this week, so I cut the recipe way back and made Cream Puffs.  In fact the ingredient volume was so small that I was able to use the little 1-cup copper saucepan that I bought in Paris.  I thought it was fitting to use this pan here at the end of my 4 year baking adventure with Dorie Greenspan and her book, Baking From My Home to Yours.  Before I joined the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group I never would have thought to go to a kitchenware store in Paris, but my visit to E. Dehillerin was a highlight of my week in Paris in 2010.  I smile every time I use the little pan I bought there.

n.o.e.'s notes:

-  You can find the recipe for this cream puff ring on the blog post of the original host, A Consuming Passion, here.

-  I made 1/8 recipe, which was enough dough for 2 small cream puffs.

-  As they baked, the little dough circles puffed a bit in the oven.  As they cooled they collapsed, but they were hollow inside.  I sliced the top and pulled out the bits of soft dough, as Dorie instructs.

-  I knew that I didn't want to use the peppermint cream from the original recipe - too reminiscent of toothpaste to me!  As I thought about other possible flavors, I remembered that I had leftover grapefruit cream in the freezer from this pie back in February, so I thawed it out and filled the cream puffs with that.  Dorie pipes her cream in beautiful rosettes, but I skipped that fiddly step and spooned the cream on the bottom of the puff and popped on the top.

-  I whipped up a few spoonfuls of ganache in the microwave, using 1 ounce of chopped chocolate and 1/4 ounce of heavy cream.

the verdict:

 The cream puffs were good - I liked the grapefruit and chocolate combination.  But even more than the taste, it was gratifying to tackle a classic recipe - and end up with a decent result.  It's gratifying that Dorie's book has kept me learning even up to the very end of this project (I have one more recipe to post, and then I will be finished with the book!)  And while I'm not comfortable with every single technique, I know that by now I've tried nearly every baking method that's out there.


Di said...

Yay for being almost done with the entire book!! I don't think I've ever tried grapefruit and chocolate together. Sounds like it would be good, though. Pâté a choux gets easier with practice, and I have found that I almost always have to bake the puffs longer than I expected to. They can look done before they really are.

Kayte said...

This looks truly beautiful, you did a great job with it...very professional looking as well. I would love to go to that cookware shop in Paris. Let's go someday together...wouldn't that be a riot?