Sunday night was a busy night in the kitchen for me. I decided to bake two different sweets that night, including a cream puff ring, which is this week's Tuesdays with Dorie selection as chosen by Caroline of A Consuming Passion.
Despite its fancy reputation, the choux pastry came together beautifully and easily; it was very exciting to watch it bake and puff up in the oven. I opted to make a chocolate cream filling rather than a peppermint cream filling because I was making the cream puff ring for an office party, and chocolate is usually more popular than peppermint. Plus, I didn't have any heavy cream sitting in the fridge for the peppermint cream. Making the chocolate cream was the only involved part of this recipe, but it wasn't too bad.
The part that did give me a lot of problems was piping the choux pastry in a ring shape. I used a modified ziploc bag instead of a proper pastry bag to do the piping, and the zip part of the apparatus couldn't withstand all of the pushing and squeezing. The choux pastry ended up oozing everywhere, but I was able to save enough of it to make the ring and three little cream puffs on the side.
Even though I had allowed the chocolate cream to chill in the refrigerator for two hours, the cream was still quite thin when I started assembling the cream puff ring. I didn't want the chocolate to drip all over my co-workers' clothes during the office party, so I cut back on the filling. The cream was too thin to pipe and I didn't fancy having another piping fiasco, so I just spooned half of the filling into the ring. The reduction in chocolate cream ended up being a waste because it set up nicely after being in the refrigerator overnight.
The cream puff ring was good, and everyone at work seemed to like it. The cream puff ring didn't look as perfect as the one pictured in the book, but I think its unevenness gives it a rustic charm (at least this is what I've been telling myself). I was really pleased with the choux pastry and will be experimenting with it more in the future. Below is the recipe for the chocolate cream, but the recipe for the choux pastry can be found at Caroline's blog. Don't forget to check out all of the TWD bloggers; you'll be in for a treat!
Chocolate Pastry Cream
Ingredients (adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours)
- 2 cups reduced fat milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons white sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 7 ounces of semisweet and 80% cacao chocolate, melted
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, room temperature
Remove from heat, and whisk in the melted chocolate. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before whisking in the butter. Once the butter is incorporated, transfer the cream to a bowl. Cover the cream with plastic wrap, making sure to press the plastic to the surface of the cream. Place the bowl into the fridge and allow to chill for sometime (more than 2 hours, preferably overnight). After the cream is set, use as you please, such as filling your very own cream puff ring!