Contrary to most, I’ve decided to kick off the the year in the same gluttonous fashion in which I ended the previous one. Of course my health reboot switch has been flipped but there’s lots of time to talk fit food; after all, the year did just begin. My final post of 2014 ended with an image of my Christmas dinner croquembouche so why not start my first post of 2015 with that same cream puff confection. Oddly, now that I think about it, I ended 2013 + started 2014 also with cream puffs. Mike and I hosted a little NYE party where I served my first attempted croquembouche. I have come full circle. Though I’ve only baked cream puffs one other time prior to this, I was satisfied with my beginner attempt but noticed that my puffs weren’t as round as the ones I’ve googled. My recipe was fine but my method was lacking. For attempt #2, I turned to the Bouchon Bakery cookbook. I kept my recipe the same -taken from the Lakeland baking equip. site- but used the Bouchon prep method. Yet again, I present to you another hybrid recipe. [The secret to making the choux buns round, which I learned from Bouchon, is to use cake pop moulds. I ordered the silicone ones pictured above from amazon for about $5 -1.5″diameter x 3/4″deep.] …cream puffs… makes about 40-45 puffs -as per the silicone mould measurements
i n g r e d i e n t s:
.375ml of water
. 150g butter | cubed
. 175g flour
. 5 large eggs | beaten
d i r e c t i o n s:
pour water into a large sauce pan + add butter cover the top of the sauce pan with plastic wrap | bring to a boil remove plastic wrap + add flour remove pan from heat | beat mixture vigorously to a firm paste transfer mix to mixing bowl | let cool for 5mins beat in eggs one at a time [by hand or with mixer] | stir vigorously until paste is smooth and glossy | continue adding eggs until you achieve smooth ribbon consistency spoon mixture into pipping bag fitted with a large tip place both 1/2 sphere moulds on a tray pipe mixture into each cavity | freeze moulds until batter hardens preheat oven to 390ºF
Once frozen, remove from moulds + space domes on a lined bake sheet
bake for 20-30mins until risen and golden | rotate baking sheet 1/2 way through cooking
remove from oven and pierce the base of each with a skewer to allow heat to escape place back in oven for another 3 minutes to dry out remove from oven and cool on wire rack
in lieu of pastry cream I used whipped cream for the filling | once the cream was whipped I whipped in eggnog + cinnamon to give it an extra Christmas kick.
spoon the whipped cream into a pastry bag fitted with a bismark pastry tip pipe filling into each bun
To assemble a croquembouche tower, I found this video by Lakeland to be quite helpful. They made it look soooo easy. –>video<– However, since I didn’t own their tower contraption, I improvised and scoured craft + supply stores for anything that resembled a cone with a non stick surface.
I ended up with 2 options. Option 1 was an orange pylon from Canadian Tire [the type you would recognize from gym class] + option 2 was a plastic craft toy cheerleading bullhorn from Michael’s. For this specific Christmas cream puff tower, I used the bullhorn as my mould as it was the smaller of the 2 cones. Though it was smaller, I short a few puffs to complete the tower. So…I grabbed a bobble from my tree to place on the top to make it appear somewhat complete. It did the trick.
puffs baked WITH the use of the mould – round
puffs baked WITHOUT the mould – not so round Compared to other pastries I’ve baked, cream puffs are pretty easy.
The instructions are straight forward and there’s little room for error. However, the difficulty came in assembling the actual tower. I couldn’t get my sugar consistency right and was assembling too slow. As a result, the sugar crystallized and I ended up with mounds of white here and there. I’ll work on it; perhaps it’ll be my 1st resolution of 2015.
…sunday night football dinner…
I’ve decided that there’s not much to share about this Sunday’s dinner except for the MEAT! The whole meal was good, but the meat was exceptional. The NFL is in full playoff mode and therefore, so too is Mike. Along the same vein as his good luck + un washed [which I accidentally washed] Dallas Cowboys jersey [which he’s been sporting at any and every possible occasion], Mike has themed our dinners accordingly. Though he didn’t prepare a southern style meal, he did come home from the butcher with a cowboy cut steak.
On Saturday night, Mike and I went out for dinner and stuffed our faces full of Spanish tapas and on top of that, we ordered a paella that would easily have fed 4 –>Fast forward to Sunday night–> to accompany our Spanish left overs, Mike whipped up a salad and served both with our Dallas themed steak. YUM!
A hyper dramatic Mike high pitch cheered his way through a Dallas Cowboys victory over the Detroit Lions. The steak worked its magic and the Cowboys live to see another playoff day.