Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pâte à Choux

Pâte à choux dough is a very easy and fun to make dough that can be piped and baked into cream puffs (as my pictures display), eclairs or even paris-brest.  They are best filled with pastry cream, custard, chiboust cream... or even just sweetened whipped cream if you are short on time like me. :)


8 oz. Milk (1 cup)
8 oz. Water (1 cup)
Pinch of Salt
8 oz. Butter, cubed (1 cup- 2 sticks)
12 oz. Bread flour
1 lb. Eggs

Bring the milk, water, salt and butter to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Once the butter is melted add the flour all at once and vigorously stir and break up all the flour chunks in the mass of dough as it cooks. Once the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan (about 3 minutes) turn off the heat. 

Transfer dough to your mixer. With the paddle attachment mix the dough for a few minutes to cool it down. Add the eggs, 2 at a time, and beat them until smooth before adding each addition. 

Scoop dough into your pastry bag (outfitted with a tip that has a large opening). Line a few baking sheets with parchment paper. Pipe the dough into cookie dough sized balls for cream puffs, thick lines for eclairs and thick rings for paris-brest. 

Bake at 400º F until golden brown- about 15-20 minutes depending on your oven and how many pans you have in at the same time. 

Cool completely before filling with cream of your choice. 

Baked cream puffs before filling

I used a pastry bag with a large tip to fill the cream puffs. I pushed the tip into a weak spot on the side of the cream puff and I gently filled until cream started to pop out of the opening

You can dip tops in chocolate, drizzle some on the tops, or leave them plain if you prefer 

Chocolate Ganache and Caramel Macadamia Nut Tart

This delicious beauty is easier then you think. I know it looks fancy. And, that's half the point, right? ;) But, coming from a crazy person who is always frantically throwing something together last minute... you can trust me when I say that it really isn't as complicated as it looks.


Tart dough-
7 oz. All purpose flour
1/2 oz. Cocoa powder
4.5 oz. Butter, softened
2.5 oz. Granulated sugar
1/4 tsp. Vanilla extract
1 Egg, room temperature

Sift together flour and cocoa powder. Cream the butter and sugar until smooth and light in color, scraping down the bowl periodically. Combine vanilla and egg separately and add gradually until fully incorporated. Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix just until blended. Do not overmix. Wrap dough tightly in seran wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Roll dough out onto light floured surface into a large enough circle to line tart pan. Lay over pan and press lightly into the bottom and into all the creases along the sides. Using a knife gently trim and scrape excess dough along the top edge of the tart pan.

Line the shell with parchment paper and fill the bottom with a single layer of beans or pie weights. Bake at 375ºF for about 15 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove beans and parchment and continue to bake another 5-10 minutes until no longer shiny and baked all the way through. Cool completely.

2 oz. Bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 oz. Heavy cream

Place chopped chocolate in a bowl. Heat cream in a heavy bottom sauce pan and bring to a simmer. Pour the cream over the chocolate. Allow to stand for 5 minutes before stirring. Then stir gently until all chocolate is melted and smooth. Cool while you make caramel.

4 oz. Granulated sugar
4 oz. Heavy cream, hot
1 oz. Butter

2 oz. Macadamia nuts, lightly toasted

Heat a heavy bottom pan. Add sugar in very small increments, stirring frequently and making sure the sugar is completely melted before adding more. Cook mixture to a golden caramel color. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly stir in the hot cream. Then stir in the butter. Cool slightly.


Pour half of the caramel into the tart shell and spread it evenly over the bottom. Scatter half of the macadamia nuts over the caramel. Pour all of the ganache over the caramel and nuts and spread evenly. Freeze the tart for 1 hour.

Pour the remaining caramel onto the center of the tart and spread evenly over the ganache. Garnish the tart with the rest of the macadamia nuts and whipped cream. Refrigerate until fully chilled.