Earl Grey Cream Puffs

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(Posting late but now that I’m done exams (cue cheering) I can finish this entry-)

Arghghasdhgashgh not that it’s any excuse but this post has been sitting in my draft folder for way too long and it can only mean one thing……..

….exams are making me go a bit insane. and ive been listening to a lot of drake.

exam season = fluctuation between caffeinated highs (+ the consequential insomniac study sesh), the slumps of apathy and the eternal question of what all this means in the end, if it means anything at all……….

let’s face it, the best part about exam season are those hilarious articles that start popping up highlighting everyone’s shared pain

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I’ve had to relocate my study space to primarily cafes + libraries because of these new kittens my brother+his wife have rescued …….. I’ve never understood cats and I still don’t, but they sure like to jump… jump on top of everything, including me. but despite that, they’ve also sort of grown on me, unexpectedly.

Anyway, onto the topic of these particular choux (photos taken pre-kittens). Since my last choux post, I tried a different craquelin recipe that turned out a lot prettier, although I could’ve rolled out the dough more thinly.

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Look at these little guys. So cute. Don’t you want to smash them all with your fist?

(Sorry, that was the exam crazed side of me typing.)

You should probably fill them with some luscious earl grey pastry cream first before smashing them. Into your mouth.

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The thought of Christmas being just next week is just slightly terrifying, but I fully intend to join in the holiday baking spirit, right after my last exam on the 21st.

Counting down!

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Earl Grey Cream Puffs

  • Servings: 12 cream puffs
  • Time: 2h
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
Adapted from david lebovitz, bouchon bakery + cooks illustrated

INGREDIENTS

Craquelin

  • 3 ounces (85g) unsalted butter, cubed, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (100g) packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup (100g) all-purpose flour

Choux pastry

  • 350 g all-purpose flour
  • 66 g sugar
  • 480 g water
  • 240 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 5 g kosher salt
  • 500 g eggs

Earl grey pastry cream

  • 2 cups half-and-half (or whole milk)
  • 6 earl grey tea bags
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

METHOD

Craquelin

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar with the paddle attachment, then add the flour and continue to mix the dough until it’s smooth.
  2. Put the dough between two sheets of parchment paper and roll the dough until it’s about 13-inches (33cm) round. Slide the dough on a baking sheet and freeze the dough.

Choux pastry

  1. You can either line a sheet pan with a silpat or parchment paper, or a silicone demi sphere mold with 2.75″ diameter cavities.
  2. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  3. Combine the flour and sugar in a small bowl.
  4. Combine the water, butter, and salt in a medium saucepan, place over medium heat, and stir as the butter melts. Once the butter has melted, increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer, then remove the pan from the heat and, with a stiff heatproof or wooden spoon, stir in all of the flour. Continue to stir for about 2 minutes, or until the mixture has a paste-like consistency, then place over medium heat and stir rapidly for 1 to 2 minutes, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and the bottom of the pan is clean; the dough should be glossy and smooth but not dry.
  5. Immediately transfer the dough to the mixer bowl and mix on low for about 30 seconds to release some of the moisture. Slowly begin adding the eggs, about 50 grams at a time, beating until each addition is completely absorbed before adding the next one. Continue adding the eggs, reserving 25 grams, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl when pulled with the paddle but then grabs back on again.
  6. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 15 seconds to be sure all of the eggs are incorporated. Stop the mixer. When the paddle if lifted, the dough should form a bird’s beak – it should hold its shape and turn down over itself but not break off. If the dough is too stiff, add the reserved egg.
  7. Transfer the dough to a pastry bag and chill the dough until cold, about 20 minutes. Pipe the dough on the silpat or parchment, or fill the demi molds and level it out. If you’re using the molds, freeze until hard before baking.
  8. Straight from the freezer, cut out a cookie that, when baked, will cover not just the top of the puff but the sides and bottom as well. Place a cookie on top of the choux and press down a tiny bit, just enough to secure it to the choux.
  9. Put the choux in the oven and immediately lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, (add 10 minutes if you’re baking from frozen choux dough) until golden brown. Lower the oven temperature to 325°F and bake for about 10 minutes, until the puffs are light and feel hollow. Break one open if necessary: the centre should appear completely cooked.
  10. Set the pan on a cooking rack and cool completely before filling.

Earl grey pastry cream

  1. Heat half-and-half, 6 tablespoons sugar, and salt in medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, stirring occasionally to dissolve sugar. Take off the heat and steep 6 earl grey tea bags for 15 minutes, then remove the bags. If you like, you can add the tea leaf contents of one tea bag so you can tell that it’s an earl grey pastry cream.
  2. Return the half and half to the stove and heat until simmering.
  3. Whisk yolks in medium bowl until thoroughly combined. Whisk in remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and whisk until sugar begins to dissolve and mixture is creamy. Whisk in cornstarch until combined and mixture is pal yellow and thick.
  4. When half-and-half mixture reaches full simmer, gradually whisk half-and-half mixture into yolk mixture to temper. Return mixture to pan, scraping bowl with rubber spatula.
  5. Return to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubbles burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy. This takes about a minute.
  6. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla. Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over medium bowl. This will remove any curdled bits that might have formed during the cooking process.
  7. Press plastic wrap directly on surface of pastry cream to prevent skimming and refrigerate until cold and ready to use.

Assembly

  1. When ready to serve, cut a choux in half horizontally, then pipe or spoon the earl grey pastry cream in. Dust with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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