Tuesdays with Dorie: Peppermint Cream Puff RingJune 17, 2008 at 4:16 am | Posted in groups, other sweet, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 67 Comments
When I saw that Caroline of A Consuming Passion had chosen Dorie’s Peppermint Cream Puff Ring for TWD, my fist thought was that it reminded me of Christmas, but that’s actually quite right for the weather over here. I even had a bunch of mint in the fridge that I was looking to finish off (why is that stuff so hard to use up?)–perfect!
Have I ever told you that I love making pâte à choux, the base for cream puffs, eclairs, profiteroles and the like? This wasn’t always the case though. In culinary school, we had to use all these crazy tests to tell if we had added the “proper” amount of egg to the dough. And for baking–turn the oven up, then down, then off. Argh! Then I went to work in a restaurant and it was like, “just use four eggs and bake them at 375° till they’re done.” Freed of all that egg ambiguity and temperature trickery, choux became really fun and easy!
Dorie calls for the choux paste to be piped out in the shape of a large ring that is later cut in half and filled, similar to a Paris-Brest. Partly because several other TWDers had their choux rings deflate on them, but mostly because a big ring sounded a bit too much for our small household, I decided to pipe individual cream puffs instead. For these cream puffs, I made a half recipe of choux, using two whole eggs. (One tip that Dorie doesn’t mention is to paddle the cooked paste in the mixer for a minute to cool it off a bit before adding the eggs one by one. It should still be warm, but it is good to let some of the steam out before the eggs go in.) This yielded about 24 two-bite puffs (using a 1/2-inch tip to pipe about 1 1/2-inch mounds).
I baked off nine right away and put the rest in the freezer to bake later. Since I was already switching up the shape of Dorie’s choux, I decided to proceed with her baking instructions rather than my one-temperature method. I baked my puffs for 15 minutes at 425°, then about 10 more at 375°. While I was at it, after they were fully baked, I used a pairing knife to put a small slit in the side of each baked puff, and further dried them out in the turned-off oven, which I cracked open with a wooden spoon, for about 30 minutes. This baking process was much less painful than I remembered it in school (but then again, most things are).
The cooled puffs (or ring) were sliced in half and filled with a mint-infused whipped cream. A little sour cream or crème fraîche folded in gave it a bit of tang, but it would have been just as tasty without. Capped off with dark chocolate glaze and toasted almonds, these were perfect little bites. And just for Dorie, I presented my puffs in the form of a (rather dodgy-looking) “ring!”
Thanks Caroline! As always, the recipe’s in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, but this time she also has a version of it here on Epicurious. And don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!