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Posts Tagged ‘pastry’

one year ago: spring time lime cheesecake

listen, i can’t tell you how many times i’ve passed by this recipe with the understanding that it would be too much of a hassle. but when it was a birthday request from B, i could hide from it no longer. (“i could hide from it no longer”? have i been reading too much charlotte brontë and jane austen?!)

cream puffs are surprisingly simple. all in all, it’s just heating up some ingredients, mashing them, beating them and plopping them onto a cookie sheet, in any shape or form. it’s the ingredients that do all the magical work…not you…so there’s really no pressure!

have i talked you into it yet?!

i adapted my recipe from my favorite pie and pastry bible by rose levy beranbaum.

cream puff pastry
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
8 tablespoons butter
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
5 large eggs

preheat your oven to 400º and line your pans with parchment paper.

in a medium sized saucepan, stir together water, salt, sugar and butter. stir over medium heat till mixture just comes to a rolling boil. remove from heat and pour in flour. mix together till ingredients come together to make a ball. return the saucepan, back to low heat, for another 3 minutes to cook the flour…stirring and mashing as if you’re mixing up mashed potatoes.

transfer this mixture to a large bowl. add in eggs one at a time. with an electric mixer beat the mixture for about one minute after each egg is added.  your mixture should be smooth and shiny.

you can pipe your mixture onto a cookie sheet, but i opted just to use two spoons to drop the mixture/batter/dough (what do you call this stuff?!) onto the pan to avoid all that extra clean up. i thought my results came out just like the picture i saw, so i had no regrets. take two spoons and use one to scoop up the batter and the other to scrape it off the other spoon onto your cookie sheet. leave about an inch and a half between each dollop.

bake for 30 minutes, till pastry has puffed up and turned a nice golden brown.

transfer pastries to a cooling rack and with a sharp knife cut a small slit in the side of each pastry to release steam. leave these to cool to room temperature, in a draft free area.

while they are cooling, go ahead and whip up your filling. there are lots of options here…ice cream, custard, pudding….but B is a whipped cream fan, so that’s what i’ve got for you.

stabilized whipped cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 cup heavy whipping cream (divided)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

(note: i ended up making four batches of this cream to fill all the cream puffs i made….plan accordingly)

begin by putting your mixing bowl and beaters in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

in a small sauce pan, over low heat, combine powdered sugar, cornstarch and 1 /4 cup whipping cream. whisk together till well blended. bump your heat up to medium and continue whisking till ingredients begin to thicken up and come to a rolling boil. immediately remove from heat and transfer to glass bowl to cool to room temperature – i usually just transfer it back to my liquid measuring cup as you will have to pour it out later on. once mixture is cooled, stir in vanilla and set aside. (if you’re making all parts of your cream puffs at once, you might want to start with this step, since it will take a while to cool down. it wont take too long for your whipping cream to whip up, so keep in mind that this mixture needs to be cooled before you start with the next step.)

using your chilled mixer bowl and beaters or whisk attachment, beat the remaining 3 /4 cup heavy whipping cream at a high speed till you begin to see distinct lines forming in the cream. with the beaters still going at high speed, pour in your cooled, sugar/cream/vanilla mixture. the next part happens pretty quickly, so pay attention. continue beating this mixture till it forms stiff peaks, being careful not to over-beat.

transfer to piping bag and fill your puff pastries up with cream. add powdered sugar or chocolate sauce and serve. (you should plan on adding the filling no sooner than 30 minutes before serving)

you can either slice your cream puffs in half, gently with a serrated knife, and pipe in the cream…or use a bismark tube to pipe the cream in where you previously made a small slit….i chose the lazy way….big surprise :)

enjoy!

happy birthday B….i’m so glad you get to scope out the new age before me, to let me know what to expect. welcome to your mid-late twenties….i know you don’t like the sounds of it….but i bet you like the sound of late-late twenties less….so rock this year out and enjoy it to it’s fullest! love you girly!

-L

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takes a bite, looks at the chocolate inside and says, “well hello”

this recipe was a doozie. mainly because i’m not one to read instructions thoroughly. i much prefer to scan a recipe or whatever it is i’m reading. however, that tends to not be in my best interest especially when it’s a recipe that’s pretty involved.

dough

3 sticks butter, softened at room temperature

4 cups all-purpose flour, approximately

2 tsp salt

2 Tbsp sugar

2 packages dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1-1/2 cups milk, warmed to 80°F to 90°F

1/2 cup half-and-half, warmed

filling

2 – 3.5 oz dark chocolate, bars

egg wash

1 egg

1 Tbsp water

– – – – –

1 gallon sized zip-lock bag

1 damp tea cloth

pizza cutter

cookie sheets

13 x 9″ pans

1 glass pan

1 silicone brush/spatula

dough – in a large mixing bowl blend 2 cups of the flour with salt and sugar by hand. in a separate but small bowl, dissolve the two packets of yeast in the 1/4 cup of warm water. this takes about 8 minutes. once dissolved, add the flour along with the warm milk and warm half and half. with a wooden spoon, blend together to form the batter. do this for 2 minutes.

after the two minutes, at a 1/4 cup at a time, add the rest of your flour. stirring well after each 1/4 cup. as you are mixing, the goal is for the dough to be soft but not sticky. (for some reason mine was more on the sticky side. not really sure why) after all the flour has been added, knead for 5 minutes or with a bread hook with your electric mixer. i used my mixer.

cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for one hour. this will allow the bread to rise. about 30 minutes into the resting period, take out the butter to soften.

once your dough is finished chilling, make sure that the dough and the butter are about the same in temperature, 65 degrees. take your butter, cut each bar in half and then cut each half into 5 slicess longways. you will have 30 slices of butter once finished cutting. on a floured workspace, roll your dough out to a rectangle about 12 x 8″. take all 30 slices of butter and lay them out on your rectangle leaving about 1/2″ perimeter of dough exposed. layer slices of butter on top of one another if you’ve already covered the surface of your rectangle. fold your dough as if you were folding a letter, in 3rds. pinch your sides together so that the butter is not exposed. cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes. we don’t want the butter and dough to be warm when we start to turn the dough, you always want it chilled.

when your 15 minutes is up place back on your work space and roll out to an 8 x 18″ rectangle. fold into thirds, then roll back out. fold back into thirds. you’ve just turned your dough twice. place back in the fridge for 15 minutes and repeat. do this one last time for a total of 6 turns ending on being folded in 3rds. this is how your dough gets its layered, flaky texture.  after the 6th turn and fold you will need to take a damp tea cloth and wrap your dough loosely and place in a gallon sized zip-lock bag. place in fridge anywhere from 4 hours to overnight. i left mine in the fridge for about 24 hours and the dough was quite large and the zip-lock bag was completely blown up and tightly full of air. i thought it was going to explode :D

once your dough has finished resting, place on the counter for about 15 minutes. on a floured workspace roll your dough out to a 10 x 38″ rectangle so that your dough is about 1/4″ thick. cut down the middle of your dough to make two 5″ wide strips. using a pizza cutter cut triangles that have 5″ bases, cutting the strips horizontally. take these triangles and place them onto cookie sheets and put in the fridge for 15 minutes.

filling – while dough is chilling, take your bar of chocolate and cut the squares into small strips. these small strips need to be a good size so that when you roll your croissants, the chocolate won’t be sticking out the sides. take your triangles of dough out of the fridge, place your chocolate on top and roll into traditional croissant shapes. cover with a 13 x 9″ pan and set to the side for 1 – 2 hours so that your croissants double in size.

egg wash – in a small bowl crack one whole egg and add 1 T water. scramble. after resting, using your silicone brush/spatula, brush egg wash over top of the croissant. this will give your croissants a beautiful finish.

bake – preheat your oven to 425 degrees. fill a glass pan with water, and microwave until boiling. 5 minutes before you place your croissants into the oven, add the glass pan of boiling water to the bottom most rack in your oven. when you’re ready place your croissants in the oven and turn the heat down to 420 degrees. bake for 10 minutes. turn your cookie sheets and bake for 15 more minutes or until golden brown.

this is an extremely involved recipe, but don’t be scared. once you have defeated this monster dough you will be very satisfied and happy you made the effort.

enjoy and have a great weekend,

b

p.s. as always, don’t hesitate to ask us questions if you need further coaching/explaining.

 

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