Episode 115: All Puffed Up
Recipe: Choux á la Crème (Cream Puffs with Chocolate Sauce)
Similar to ones my mother used to prepare, these cream puffs are filled with blackberry preserves and whipped cream and served on a simple but particularly flavorful chocolate sauce made of melted chocolate and milk.
A common mistake is to let the cream puffs dry in the oven for too long. They should not be like dry bread; rather, they should hold their shape but remain soft and moist inside.
You can, of course, make smaller puffs, cooking them a proportionately shorter time, and serve several per person. Small puffs, called profiteroles, are often stuffed with ice cream and served with hot chocolate sauce.
3/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup blackberry preserves
1 teaspoon confectioners’ sugar
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/4 cups milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
FOR THE DOUGH: Combine the milk, butter, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately remove from the heat, add the flour all at once, and mix it in with a wooden spatula. Return the pan to the stove and stir over medium-high heat until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan and collects into one soft lump about the consistency of modeling clay. Cook for about 20 to 30 seconds, still stirring, to dry the mixture further, then transfer to a food processor and process for 4 to 5 seconds to cool the mixture slightly.
Beat the eggs in a bowl with a fork until well mixed. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the beaten eggs to brush on the puffs, and add the remaining eggs to the dough mixture. Process for 20 to 30 seconds, until very smooth.
Lightly butter a cookie sheet. Spoon 6 rounds of dough, each about the size of a Ping-Pong ball (approximately 3 tablespoons), onto the sheet, spacing them evenly to allow for expansion. Brush with the beaten egg to smooth the tops and coat the surface of the balls.
Bake for about 40 minutes, until the puffs are nicely developed, browned, and cooked through. They should hold their shape but still be soft. Open the oven door and let the puffs rest for 10 minutes. Set aside in a draft-free area to cool.
FOR THE FILLING: Whip the cream with the confectioners’ sugar and vanilla in a bowl until firm. Refrigerate.
Remove the top of each choux puff, cutting around the puff about a quarter of the way down and lifting off the resulting cap; reserve the tops. Spoon 2 teaspoons of the blackberry preserves into the base of each puff. Spoon the cream mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe it into the puffs, piping in enough whipped cream to come up about 1 1/2 inch above the cut edges. Replace the caps and sprinkle with the confectioners’ sugar. (The puffs can be assembled a few hours before serving; cover and refrigerate.)
FOR THE SAUCE: Heat the chocolate and milk in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, just until the chocolate melts. Mix well with a whisk, transfer to a bowl, and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until cold.
Place a puff on each of six individual dessert plates, and serve with the chocolate sauce.
Copyright © 2011 by Jacques Pépin. Used by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.