Tag Archives: chocolate

Chocolate Cream Puffs

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Each time Joe goes to visit his Grandma, I often try to make an effort to bake something. I have never met this lady although Joe and I have been together for over 4 years now.She sounds so adorable and funny. She is a pretty hardcore Republican, though. This much I know.

I enjoy baking cakes but the kitchen has to be spotless before I would consider embarking on a major baking project. It almost feels like I need my mind to be uncluttered before I can start baking especially if it is something challenging. Otherwise I fall apart and so does my project.

I had a pretty exhausting work week, involving a Seattle turn, an Aruba turn, a Montego bay turn and the crew desk even threw in a Baltimore turn in there just for fun. So yah, that was what I did the last 5 days.

So the apartment is a little dishevelled and plus Joe had  made cabbage rolls last night and the kitchen was not in the pristine condition that I often like it to be.

After flipping through a few cookbooks and numerous websites, I decided on cream puffs also known as profiteroles.

I made the pate choux (choux pastry)  and baked the shells the night before. Choux pastry needs to be baked immediately so that it will rise nicely.

This morning  I intended to make the both chocolate pastry cream and vanilla pastry cream. Unfortunately, due to time constraints I only made the chocolate pastry cream.

The chocolate pastry cream is so easy to make it is just like making the standard pastry cream and the only difference is that you add melted bitter sweet chocolate just as your pastry cream start to thicken.

Once the filling was ready, I filled the shells generously.

I later drizzled the cream puffs with chocolate glaze.

Chilled the cream puffs for an hour and BAM! Tender custard-like shells with and explosion of chocolate goodness in each bite.

Placing French Macarons on a Pedestal

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I have been procrastinating on baking French macarons. Not quite sure if it was the thought of having to spend $11 on Bob Red Mill almond meal. Or how painstaking it would be to grind a bag of almonds. It all just seemed like a hassle. Then there was the issue of egg whites. It took me a little while to save a bunch of egg whites. For some reason, I had this illusion that the macarons would need a dozen egg whites. Not true. Recipe calls for approximately 2-3 egg whites.

The real problem is, is that there has been so much hype about making french macarons. I was actually AFRAID! People devote multiple postings on creating these goodies. All the technicalities described in extensive verbal and pictorial detail. It made it that much more daunting.

All the hype made it even more elusive.

Today I set aside my procrastination and faced my fears. The coveted French Macarons.

My first encounter with macaroons (with the double o) were sticky,chewy mounds of coconut bound together by egg whites and dipped in chocolate. Simple, easy and straight forward. Good but nothing to rave about.

A year ago, I read about Laduree in Paris. I have been to Paris several times in the past 4 years but have not been privileged enough to get another Paris trip in the last year or so. Instead I remember standing in front of Laduree while I was browsing in Harrods, London. I stood in front of the store for a while. I pondered and considered stepping in but I was AFRAID. Fancy places scare me. I  wasn’t ready to pay a hefty sum for some confectionery. I felt like I wasn’t good enough for Laduree. Instead I walked away from Harrods with a tin of over priced stale shortbread cookies which Joe and I ended up not eating.

Before today I have never had a macaron. I know how to spell it and pronounce it. Not quite sure what it is suppose to taste like. I have always marvelled at the beautiful pictures of it online. I would spend many hours reading about macarons. The three different versions. French, Italian and Spanish. The much desired perfect foot. The myriad of colours and and fillings that is only limited by your imagination.

How does one idolise something one has never known and yet one knows so much about it?

That’s it. I am a Macaron stalker.

As always I digress.

As I was saying many paragraphs ago, I finally faced my crush and my fears.

I attempted the French Macaron.

With all the ranting and raving about the process of making French Macarons, I decided to make my first time as simple and painless as possible. Plain macaron with a bittersweet chocolate ganache filling.

Grind those damn almonds.

Combine the ground almonds with the powdered sugar.

Beat the eggs and granulated sugar till it reaches the stiff-peak stage.

Sift and fold the almond-sugar mix into the egg whites.

Pipe onto baking tray.

Place in the oven and PRAY!

Fingers crossed.

20 minutes later …….

They have feet! Hallelujah!

They weren’t perfect but not bad for my first time.

Slap some ganache.

Slap them together.

Voila!  French Macarons.

Crisp shell. Tender and slight chewy on the inside and an explosion of decadent ganache goodness on the inside.

Yum!

So now if only someone can tell me if I got it right?

Next time…. rose flavoured white chocolate macarons, lavender infused chocolate macaron and lemon curd macarons… yes I dream big.