whole cream puff

I’m very fortunate. My husband makes pate choux. Early in the morning and the house is filled with the aroma of melted chocolate and the smell of freshly baked cream puffs.
How bad is it to eat a cream puff for breakfast? I usually eat a healthy breakfast but sometimes I can’t resist – especially when accompanied by a cup of good quality tea and great conversation. A little indiscretion now and then is okay with cream puffs. Am I right?
whole cream puff horizontal
tea
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On our day off we carefully packed the cream puffs in containers and headed out for some fun. Last week we had record temperatures of 80 degrees and it was beautiful outside. Everything was beginning to bloom and there was not a cloud in the sky.
coastline
grassy edge
We stopped by a lovely farm near the ocean. They had a farm store with a wonderful assortment of food and gifts. I’ve never seen so many dried flowers or beautiful dried floral arrangements before. They were even drying artichokes. I couldn’t leave without buying a spring wreath and some homemade bread. Once we had what we needed, we headed back to the car and continued on our journey. The cream puffs sat quietly in the cooler.
tendercrop farm
tendercrop farm (1)
dried flower colllage
spring willow
There was a line of cars waiting to get into the beach parking lot. We waited patiently – windows down and summer music playing.
It was great to walk on the warm sand again, without shoes and to have a picnic lunch. I must admit, it was quite a treat to eat cream puffs on the beach.
beach walk
seashell
warmest day of spring
dunes
leaving the beach
The days are getting longer and we stayed at the beach until the sun began to set. After the long ride home, it was great to kick off our shoes, brush of the sand … and enjoy yet another cream puff. All in all it was a perfect day.

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Cream Puffs (Pate a Choux)
(from Bo Friberg, The Professional Pastry Chef)
115 g (4 oz) cake flour
155 g (5.5 oz) bread flour
480 ml (1 pint) water
170 g (6 oz) unsalted butter
2.5 g (1/2 tsp) salt
480 ml (1 pint) eggs
1 g (1/4 tsp) ammonium carbonate
Preheat oven to 425 degrees (219 c)
Sift the flours together and set aside on a sheet of baking paper.
Heat the water, butter and salt to a full boil, so that the fat is not just floating on the top but is dispersed throughout the liquid.
Form the ends of the baking paper (from the sifted flours) into a pouring spout. Then, using a heavy wooden spoon, stir the flour into the liquid, adding it as fast as it can be absorbed. Avoid adding all of the flour at once, as this can make the paste lumpy.
Cook, stirring constantly and breaking up the inevitable lumps by pressing them against the side of the pan with the back of the spoon, until the mixture forms a mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 2-3 minutes.
Transfer the paste to a mixer bowl. Let the paste cool slightly so the eggs will not cook when they are added.
Mix in the eggs, two at a time, using the paddle attachment of a stand mixer on low or medium speed. After the first few eggs are incorporated, add the ammonium carbonate. Add as many eggs as the paste can absorb and still hold its shape when piped.
Pipe the paste into 2-3 inch balls.
Bake at 425 (219 c) until fully puffed and starting to show some color, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375 (190 c) and bake about 10 minutes longer, depending upon size.
Let the pastry cool at room temperature. Do not try to accelerate cooling in the freezer or the cream puffs will collapse.
Slice and fill with chocolate mousse.
Note: Making pate choux requires a lot of heavy mixing by hand.
Chocolate Mousse
160 g (1 c) good quality dark chocolate, chopped
500 ml (2 c) heavy cream
1.5 sheets gelatin
Place the dark chocolate in a bowl and melt it over a double boiler. Remove the bowl from the heat when the chocolate is melted and let it cool slightly. Alternatively, you can place the chopped chocolate in a glass or ceramic bowl and microwave for about 1 minute. Check it frequently and stir after a minute. Allow the residual heat of the bowl to melt some of the chocolate to prevent scorching.
In the meantime, whip the cream to soft peak. Melt gelatin in microwave for about 5 seconds and pour into bowl slowly while cream is whipping. Pour a third of the whipped cream into the chocolate and mix quickly and thoroughly. Fold remaining whipped cream into chocolate mixture. Pipe into cream puffs, glaze and chill.
Chocolate Glaze
(adapted from Bo Friberg, The Professional Pastry Chef)
228 g (6 oz) good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
70 g (2.5 oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
20 g (2.5 tbs) good quality cocoa powder
30 ml (1/8 c) Grand Marnier
127 g (4.5 oz) light corn syrup
Melt chocolate in the microwave for about 1 minute. Add the butter and stir until the butter is fully incorporated.
Stir the cocoa powder into the Grand Marnier and mix until smooth. Add the corn syrup and stir into the chocolate mixture. Glaze cream puffs.
Leftover glaze can be stored in a covered container and reheated when ready to use on other desserts.
Cream puffs are best when eaten fresh but can be stored in the refrigerator with filling for 2-3 days.
P.S. If you want to see a more seasonal day in New England, you can check out my new post on Freshness and Light. (Be sure to give the sound a minute to load before pressing play.)
Bon Appetit!
 
 
 
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37 Comments
  1. Stunning photos and delicious cream puffs 🙂
    I’m still thinking through the whole puffs making process, I have a feeling I would over bake them 😛
    I love the mousse filling idea ♥

  2. Having cream puffs for breakfast is definitely the right thing to do. I’d really love to visit New England and see some of the beautiful places you talk about first hand. I’ve never see a dried artichoke before. I’m drooling over the cream puffs.

  3. Talk about a fantastic day, El! And you went when it was so warm too! When I saw the llama I knew instantly where you were without even following the link. The same for the dunes walkway. Definitely two of my favorite places!

    And those cream puffs … to die for. I hope you and husband made memories to last a lifetime.

  4. as a kid, choux with custard is a favorite! Of course, at that time, I wasn’t allowed near too much chocolate. This looks amazing. Envisions me to bake a super duper large choux pastry… like as huge as my face!

  5. A lovely post! What a superlative day! Your post evoked childhood memories. My mother made cream puffs, her favorite filling was ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce.

  6. Beautiful seaside escape. How lucky are you to have a husband who bakes for you! Your photography is beautiful too.

  7. Of course we all envy you that your husband can bake. Those cream puffs look fabulous. Good company, good food, beautiful day, heavenly!
    Mimi

  8. You are sooo lucky El that your husband not only makes cream puffs but that he sets foot in the kitchen 🙂 My boyfriend comes in the kitchen just to smell the food, then he hastily leaves. He never likes to get involved!
    Beautiful photographs of the beach and of the farm!

  9. Your husband is amazing. I would love to wake up to cream puffs. I def agree that they are breakfast food! If you don’t mind my asking, how did he learn? Is he a pastry chef? I’m drooling over the cream puffs. The pictures are gorgeous!!

  10. Very pretty pictures and it makes me want to take a holiday there. So relaxing from the look of it. And the cream puffs are so delish looking. Love the choc sauce and chocolate filling. Couldn’t think of a better way to laze around over a weekend with this and a nice cup of coffee.

  11. I was fortunate enough to spend most of last week down in Amherst, Mass. What a stunning change from northern Maine – daffodils, forsythia and hyacinths blooming, grass that had already been mowed, a brief spring storm… it was all beautiful and lovely.

    We came home to a few inches of snow on the ground. Looking forward to experiencing my second spring in a month or two up here!

  12. Simply luscious. I haven’t been very enamored with cream puffs, but I think you got me this time.

    As always, your photos of New England are lovely. Me and my little Canon Rebel XS are still learning.

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