Friday, February 4, 2011

pate a choux filled with chocolate cream


These were made alongside the eclairs. They share the same dough, pate a choux, which is a hot water pastry that you cook on the stove and then bake at a high temperature.

Half I filled with creme patisserie and dipped in melted chocolate; you can see the resulting eclair "puffs" here. The other half you see before you: hollow, still-warm-from-the-oven pastry filled to the gills with a creamy chocolate pudding and drizzled with melted chocolate.

(You could chill them, too, and serve them that way. I think they'd taste delightful in a slightly different way, but these didn't survive fifteen minutes so I can't say so with any certainty).

These are not one of those chocolate desserts where you can only have three bites and then you can hardly breathe or think for the pure utter richness of it. In other words, I wouldn't take this home to Mum.

However, if you're going for something a little lighter, this is lovely: Creamy but not heavy, sweet and almost complex with the cocoa and the milk fats and the sturdy dough all working together. It's certainly a chocolate dessert, but it's not overpowering. I think I would take this home to little sis.

Warning: after eating these, you will be covered in chocolate. But, really, is that a bad thing?

Chocolate Cream Pastry Pots
the pastry
from Catherine Atkinson's pastry cook
9 tbsp flour
pinch salt
1/4 cup butter
2/3 C water
2 eggs

Preheat 400 degrees. Measure our the flour into a cup and put it to the side. On the stove, set up your pot or your double boiler and melt the butter and water together. When they are melted, remove from the heat and dump in your flour. Stir, vigorously, until all is combined, and then return to low heat. Continue to stir vigourously for 1-2 minutes. Do NOT cook this too long. The dough will pull away a little from the sides; the best way I can describe it is that the edges will be rounder. It will stop sticking as strongly to the bottom of the pan. But don't worry too much about it; just stir for a minute and remove from the heat. You will be fine and so will your dough.

Take the dough off the heat. After it's cooled 2-3 minutes, add the eggs and beat until smooth and shiny, another couple minutes.


Put the dough on a greased cookie sheet in the size and shapes you like. The dough will stay mostly in the same form as you put it on the sheet. I like just a single spoonful, but the traditional eclair is longer and bigger than I make my little cream-puff-eclairs. (You get more if you make them smaller). Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

Some people slit the puffs open at this point and bake them at 200 degrees for 5 minutes, but I'm much too lazy. I imagine this is to dry them out a little more, but I find just the half hour at 400 does them fine.

The filling is from a food blog called Smitten Kitchen. A friend highly recommended the site to me recently and I've been archive-binging and generally drooling. A few dozen recipes in I stumbled across this one--a delicious pudding recipe I'd found through Google months before. I'd made it then (my first time making pudding) and loved it then. Now, a little thicker, is fills my pastry pots.

chocolate filling
from the Smitten Kitchen
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 cups whole milk
6 ounces 62% semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used good quality semisweet chocolate chips; use 70% bittersweet if you want more of a dark chocolate kick)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Mix milk, sugar, cornstarch and salt in a double boiler, whisking for 20-30 minutes or until thick (coats the back of a spoon). Add chocolate and let melt. Stir 2-3 more minutes.

Add vanilla. Let cool.  

1/4 C chocolate
1 Tb butter

Melt the chocolate and butter together.

Unlike the eclairs, we are not piping in filling. Shove your finger or the back of a spoon through the roof of the pastry to make a wide hole. All we want left are walls. Then spoon the pudding in and drizzle on a little chocolate.


Eat warm or chill. Enjoy!