Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Raspberry Cream Puffs for a Virtual Holiday Party

One of my favorite things about writing a food blog is "meeting" so many wonderful people.  I've made some great friends through the food blogging community, and it makes me sad that I most likely won't ever meet most of them.  Apparently Annie of Annie's Eats fame had similar feelings recently, because she decided to host a virtual holiday party and she invited me!  Obviously I jumped at the chance to get to "cook for" some of my favorite food bloggers.  If I can't actually go to a blogger holiday party, attending a virtual one is the next best thing.

Tara from Smells Like Home made these cranberry-lime bellinis.  I love bellinis, and this twist looks really delicious.  We typically drink mimosas at my mother's house on Christmas morning, but maybe I'll mix things up this year and serve this variation instead.

Kelsey of Apple a Day went outside the box as well, with Pepper Berry Cocktails.  They sound intriguing and look gorgeous, so I know I'd be a fan.  I love cocktails that have a savory edge.

Elly of Elly Says Opa was kind enough to serve us a Greek specialty, Dolmades.  They are grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs.  I love Greek food, and while I've never even had a dolmade, I'd love to try some made by a Greek food queen like Elly!

Nikki from Pennies on a Platter really spoke to me by making Baked Fontina.  This is probably my favorite appetizer ever, so I would have just planted myself in front of the melted, gooey cheese and not moved all night.

Though if anything could pry me away from melted cheese, it might be French macarons.  Annie of Annie's Eats is a dessert maven, and while I've not yet tried to master the infamous macaron, I certainly can devour them.  Candy cane macarons sound heavenly, and this variation might just force me to try my hand at them by Christmas.

And finally, I contributed these raspberry cream puffs with chocolate glaze.  I look up to and admire all of these ladies, so I wanted to impress them with a great dessert.  I saw the idea for a raspberry filled cream puff in a food magazine this month (though I don't remember which one),but I turned to trusty Baking Illustrated to guide me through the process.

I had never made pate a choux, and I know pastry can be fairly finicky, so I was a little nervous.  Whenever I'm making a complicated recipe I just break it down and go one step at a time.  It really makes it seem less daunting.  So I first made the pastry cream, which I've made many times, then just went step by step for the puffs.  No problems, easy as pie.  I actually just adapted my favorite vanilla pastry cream to be raspberry flavored by adding some raspberry puree and preserves.  It thinned out the pastry cream a little, but it still tasted wonderful.

Thanks so much for hosting us Annie!  I really hope that one day I'll be able to cook with these ladies - seriously, how fun would that be?

One Year Ago:  Herb and Goat Cheese Biscotti

Raspberry Cream Puffs
Pate a Choux and chocolate glaze from Baking Illustrated
Pastry Cream adapted from Baking Illustrated
makes about 24

Raspberry Pastry Cream
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 5 Tbs + 1 tsp sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbs cornstarch
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces fresh raspberries
  • 2 Tbs seedless raspberry preserves
In the bowl of a food processor, puree the raspberries until smooth.  Push through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl to remove seeds, and whisk in the preserves.

Heat the half and half, 4 tablespoons of sugar, and the salt in a medium heave-bottomed saucepan over medium heat until simmering, sitrring occasionally to dissolve the sugar.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in the remaining 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of sugar and whisk until the sugar has begun to dissolve and the mixture is creamy, about 15 seconds.  Whisk in the cornstarch until combined and the mixture is pale yellow and thick, 30 seconds.

When the half-and-half mixture reaches a full simmer, gradually whisk into the egg yolk mixture to temper.  Return the mixture to the saucepan, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula.  Return to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until a few bubble burst on the surface and the mixture is thickened and glossy, about 30 seconds.

Off heat, whisk in the butter and vanilla.  Strain the pastry cream through a fine-mesh sieve set over a medium bowl, and whisk in the raspberry puree.  Press a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until cold and set, at least 3 hours or up to 2 days.

  • 2 large eggs, plus 1 egg white
  • 5 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
  • 2 Tbs whole milk
  • 6 Tbs water
  • 1 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Beat the eggs and egg white in a measuring cup with a pourable spout.  You should have 1/2 cup - discard the excess and set aside.

Combine the butter, milk, water, sugar, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  As soon as the mixture reaches a full boil, remove from heat and stir in the flour using a wooden spoon.  Stir until the mixture is well combined and clears the sides of the pan.

Return the pan to low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture is slightly shiny, looks like wet sand, and tiny beads of fat appear on the bottom of the saucepan, about 3 minutes (the paste should register 175-180 degrees)

Immediately transfer the mixture to a food processor and process with the feed tube open for 10 seconds to allow the mixture to cool slightly.  With the machine running, slowly add the eggs in a steady stream through the feed tube.  Once all the eggs have been added, scrape down the sides of the bowl, then process 30 seconds, until a smooth, thick, sticky paste forms.

Transfer the paste to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch round tip.  Pipe the paste into 1 1/2 inch mounds on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about 1 inch between them.  You should be able to fit 24 on each sheet.  Dip the back of a spoon into a bowl of cold water and smooth the surface of the mounds.

Bake for 15 minutes without opening the oven door.  Reduce the heat to 375 and bake an additional 8-10 minutes, until the pastries are golden-brown and fairly firm.  Remove the puffs from the oven, and using a paring knife, cu a 3/4-inch slit into the side of each one to release steam.

Turn off the oven, return the pan to the oven, and prop the door open with the handle of a wooden spoon.  Allow to dry until the centers are just moist but not wet, and the puffs are crisp, about 45 minutes.  Transfer the puffs to a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Glaze
  • 3 Tbs half-and-half
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
Place the half-and-half and chocolate in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat 30 seconds at a time, until mixture is steaming.  Whisk well after each heating, and stir well to melt the chocolate.  Add the sugar and whisk until completely smooth.

To assemble the cream puffs, use the tip of a paring knife to cut an "x" into the side of each puff.  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4-inch round tip with pastry cream and pipe into each X until the cream starts to ooze back out.

Dip the tops of each cream puff into the chocolate glaze, and allow to sit at room temperature until the chocolate is set.  Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve.


Tara @ Smells Like Home said...

girl, these cream puffs look amazing!! i had so much trouble with pate a choux the first time i made it (different recipe) but maybe it's time to try again. it was great to share this party with you - i hope we can hang out for real some day!!

Annie said...

Thanks so much for contributing Josie! It is a shame we don't live closer, although you and I apparently share a brain so it doesn't even matter :) These cream puffs look beautiful and I love the idea of raspberry pastry cream since I'm pretty much a pastry cream addict. Great work!

Courtney said...

These look awesome and totally delicious, Josie! I can't believe you've never made pate a choux before because your cream puffs look perfect! I love pastry cream and will definitely be trying this raspberry version. :)

Kelsey said...

These look so tasty and so beautiful, Josie! I really do wish we could get together to share them. Perhaps you'll come out to visit your brother and we can have a real-life party. Here's to a very merry and very blessed Christmas for you and your family!

elly said...

These look SO delicious, Josie. I am a wee bit obsessed with creme puffs and I love raspberry and chocolate together, so I know I would love these. It was fun "partying" with you. :)

Shanon said...

Those cream puffs look heavenly. I need to work up the courage to make them. Anything with raspberries has me sold.

Anonymous said...

Wow those cream puffs look so decadent! Can't wait to try out the recipe!

Nikki said...

Thanks for making these beautiful cream puffs for our party! Loved doing this with everyone and wish we could have really gotten together for a real one! :)

Evan @swEEts said...

You can always rely on Baking Illustrated for some great treats! Your cream puffs turned out wonderfully.. I tried making some earlier this year and I was surprised at how simple they were and delicious! nice job :)

Jen said...

They are so beautiful, Josie. I love the virtual holiday party. Such a cute idea from all of my favorite food bloggers! :)

Unknown said...

Your cream puffs are gorgeous Josie, and I love the idea of a virtual holiday party! I just participated in a virtual cookie exchange with a few blogger friends, and I completely agree about "meeting" people through your blog.

Happy Holidays!

Melissa @IWasBornToCook said...

Like I said on Elly's blog - everything looks amazing! Nice work :)

Jun said...

Mmmmm, when I saw the cream puff I really wanted to put it in my mouth!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog. Good recipes and such a fun name! Are you related to anyone named Parsley? That is my maiden name.

Penny Auction Bidding said...

Totally mouth watering recipe!!!

Josie said...

Nope, I'm sure not - what a cute maiden name though! :-)

Anonymous said...

i tried to make these and the pastry batter was so thin, when we baked it of it looked like scrambled eggs-we did every step in the recipe correctly, i dont know what went wrong

Erica J said...

thank u for the recipe! i will be making these as a part of my christmas cookie presentation! ill let yah no how they turn out

btw, what font is your signature at the end of the post that says "josie" (obviously!) i would love to know, its too cute

Josie said...

Erica, i'm not sure what the font is, since I had my blog done by someone else. I tried to look at the code, but I couldn't tell - sorry!! I hope you enjoy the cream puffs though!

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