Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mini Cream Puffs

When I was little, my family often went on trips to Cannon Beach. Once there, I would inevitably wind up pressing my face against the glass of the Cannon Beach Bakery's pastry case. Everything my child-mind wanted from life resided in that case. I always went with the clamshell (their beach-pun name for a cream puff.)

CBB's clamshell was simple: choux pastry split in two, filled with copious amounts of whipped cream and dusted with powdered sugar. I remember them weighing about a pound each, but I was smaller so they might have just seemed that way. Regardless I always ate the entire thing. And I always felt slightly ill for a few hours after. Blissful childhood.

These were inspired by the clamshell and by Valentines day and by my love for whipped cream.

Mini cream puffs filled with both raspberry and chocolate mousse (mousses?) and dipped in chocolate ganache.

We start with choux pastry- it is just flour, water, butter, sugar, salt and a few eggs. Simmer water, butter, salt and sugar then add flour and  stir until it looks like this

It will form one mass and detach itself from the sides of the pan, leaving a slight film.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and add eggs until you get this

Pipe & bake

 Cut cooled puffs in half, fill with raspberry and chocolate and put a ganached lid on it.

They are pretty, tasty and unlike the clamshell, will not leave you feeling sick after you eat one (or two.)

Cream Puffs
makes about 12 small puffs

for the choux:
1/2 c water
2 eggs
1/2 c AP flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
2 1/2 Tablespoons butter
- - -
*pre-heat oven to 400
1. In a small saucepan, bring water, salt, sugar and butter to a simmer
2. Add sifted flour all at once stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until dough forms a single mass and separates from the sides of the pot (1-2 minutes)
3. Immediately transfer dough into a stand mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on medium to cool slightly
4. Add eggs to dough, one at a time, mixing until dough is smooth (1-2 more minutes, I ramped up the speed just to ensure my batter was lump-free)
5. Using a piping bag, pipe dough into 1 1/2 inch circles about 2 inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet
6. Bake 20-23 minutes (for larger puffs 25-30)
7. Let cool completely before filling with raspberry and chocolate mousses and dipping in ganache

for the fillings:
raspberry: allow 1/4 c raspberries to macerate (chill out) in 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 Tablespoon sugar for about 20 minutes; using the back of a spoon, smash berries slightly to break apart; whip 1/2 c cream untilstiff peaks form and then fold cream into berries; chill until ready to use
chocolate: heat 1/4 c cream and 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan until simmering; chop 1 oz semisweet chocolate and place in a small bowl; when cream is simmering pour over chopped chocolate and stir until smooth; cool completely; add chocolate mixture and an additional 1/4 c cream to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk and whip until soft peaks form; chill until ready to use

for the ganache:
heat 2 oz of cream to a simmer and pour over 2 oz of dark chopped chocolate, stir until smooth

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