Cream Puffs with Homemade Chocolate Sauce

TGIF!!

Wow… what a week it’s been…….no complaints, of course, just vocalizing the fact that since I returned to Vegas on Monday, it has been a nonstop race of catching up at home, cleaning up the mess at work, getting the posse (reluctantly) back into the school groove, and jump-starting my long neglected exercise routine.

And since I hadn’t exercised in 13 days (yikes!!), my legs, arms and abs feel a bit…..sore.

That’s putting it mildly.

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But it definitely feels good to get moving again, as I do my best thinking while trotting along on the treadmill or pedaling away on my bike.

Which reminds me, the weather appears to be favorable enough today to actually ride outside, versus riding inside on the stationary bike. That is soooooo boring and uninspiring…..

This dessert, however is not. Cream puffs are one of those desserts that look so impressive, and most people think they’re extremely difficult to make. But the truth is, they are incredibly easy and leftovers (if there are any) freeze very well.

And the chocolate sauce……. well, let’s just say that Sabrina and I ate it straight from the container. Hey, at least we dipped fresh raspberries into it first.

That made me feel very virtuous.

Cream Puffs / Pate A Choux – adapted from Gale Gand

1 cup water
8 tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 to 4 eggs, plus 1 egg for egg wash

To make the cream puffs: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter, and granulated sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once and stir hard until all the flour is incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring, 30 seconds to evaporate some of the moisture.Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, and working 1 egg at a time, add 3 of the eggs, stopping after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the remaining egg and mix until incorporated.Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe the dough onto the baking sheet, in 2-inch diameter rounds or balls. Whisk the remaining egg with 1 1/2 teaspoons water. Brush the surface of the rounds with the egg wash to knock down the points (you may not use all the egg wash). Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees F and bake until puffed up, and light golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Try not to open the oven door too often during the baking. Let cool on the baking sheet.
When ready to serve, slice puffs horizontally and fill with ice cream, pastry cream, or whipped cream. Top with chocolate sauce and serve immediately.
Chocolate Sauce – adapted from Sherry Yard
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 tbs. unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup simple syrup     ** see below
2 tbs. heavy cream
1/2 cup creme fraiche (or sour cream)
2 tbs. Kahlua
Combine the chocolates and butter in a medium bowl. Bring the simple syrup to a boil, and pour over the chocolate/butter mixture. Stir gently until the chocolates have melted and the mixture is smooth. Add the cream, creme fraiche and Kahlua and whisk gently until combined. Serve warm.
Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Combine water and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Use immediately. Store any additional syrup in the refrigerator.

Cream Puffs…… for two reasons

Well…………that went by quick.

Today is February 1. How can that be? Wasn’t New Years’ Day just last week? And Christmas the week before that? No?

sheesh….

Since it’s Friday, two days before the Super Bowl, I should be posting about football, food and all of the projects I am going to attempt to cram into this weekend. Instead, you get a cream puff. For two exceptionally valid reasons:

One, because I made them, and they were awesome.

and

Two, because Sabrina is my new self-appointed photographer (thanks Costco for the incredible deal on a spankin’ new camera for her), and she snapped this great picture of her cream puff the other night.

Right before her brother devoured it.

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Cream Puffs – adapted from Gale Gand

1 cup water
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 to 4 eggs

To make the cream puffs: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a large saucepan, bring the water, butter and granulated sugar to a rolling boil over medium-high heat. When it boils, immediately take the pan off the heat. Stirring with a wooden spoon, add all the flour at once and stir hard until all the flour is incorporated, 30 to 60 seconds. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring, 30 seconds to evaporate some of the moisture.
Scrape the mixture into a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix at medium speed. With the mixer running, and working 1 egg at a time, add 3 of the eggs, stopping after each addition to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix until the dough is smooth and glossy and the eggs are completely incorporated. The dough should be thick, but should fall slowly and steadily from the beaters when you lift them out of the bowl. If the dough is still clinging to the beaters, add the remaining egg and mix until incorporated.
Using a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip, pipe the dough onto the baking sheet, in 2-inch diameter rounds or balls. Use a wet fingertip to knock down the points on the dough. Bake 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees and bake until puffed up, and light golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Try not to open the oven door too often during the baking. Let cool on the baking sheet.

Pastry Cream Filling – adapted from Williams Sonoma

1 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tbs. cornstarch
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tbs. unsalted butter
1 tsp. vanilla extract
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk together the milk, sugar, cornstarch and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly but gently,  until mixture comes to a full boil. Continue to whisk and cook for one full minute. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the butter, then add the vanilla. Strain into a bowl, then press a piece of plastic wrap on the surface. Refrigerate until thoroughly chilled.

** Note: the chocolate sauce recipe will follow in another post.