Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cream Puffs: In Which Alice Medrich Continues Her Reign as Chocolate Goddess

As I've mentioned before, Alice Medrich's Bittersweet is my personal chocolate bible.

I recently bought another book of hers, Chocolate Holidays: Unforgettable Desserts for Every Season, which is the paperback form of A Year Spent in Chocolate. I'll save a full review for after I've tried a couple more recipes, but I will say that if "Chocolate cream puffs with spun sugar" is any indication, my faith in Ms Medrich is well-placed.

I've never made cream puffs or puff pastry of any sort before. The only time I've seen them attempted was when a friend in college, who was born in France, tried to make some from an original French cookbook and failed miserably. I hope she's since found a recipe as easy and detailed as this one! As usual, the dense recipe text leaves nothing to chance, and my puffs puffed up in lovely fashion.

The chocolate custard filling was exactly what I expect from a Medrich recipe. It did an amazing job of highlighting the flavor of the chocolate I used (my standby Ghirardelli 60% chips) rather than overwhelming it in egg flavor. It was also surprisingly rich for having no cream or butter in the recipe - in fact, I used a mix of skim and 2% milk rather than whole! I think you could easily make it with all-skim and be perfectly happy with the results.

Happily, my camera is working again (it's been broken since Christmas, hence the lack of photos in recent entries). Here is a shot of the filled puffs, with custard oozing out of their little holes:

I was making these to bring to school to pass out, so I skipped the caramel glaze and spun sugar meant to turn the puffs into a croquembouche and dipped the tops in a simple ganache. Although made with the same chocolate, the ganache and the custard had distinctly different flavors, which was a nice contrast. Here are the final, dipped puffs:

Overall, these were a huge success! And if you thought people were impressed by homemade cheesecake (which they always are), wait til you hand them a cream puff!

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