People often ask us, what we love about Paris. The answer is always the same, it feels like coming home. It is historical but modern. Romantic is an understatement. It just feels right, and good. We have been to Paris many times; but, never in the Spring. Normally, we travel there off-season, which is dark and gloomy to most, and romantic and intimate to us. I had secretly hoped this year (as I do every year) that we could make it to Paris in the Spring. I have this fantasy that there will still be a bit of gloom in the sense of the old, dark buildings that make Paris Paris, but, that the beginning of new life brightens the city up, without the sweaty heat of summer.
During one of my daydreams of long days sitting near the Siene, drinking Rose and nibbling pastries, I heard that my friend, Jamie was inviting everyone over for April in Paris for the Monthly Mingle. I pushed myself away from the computer, dusted off the baking pans, and set out to bake something wonderful. Something that I have yet to enjoy when in Paris.
I, adore cream puffs, but never make them, except in the form of gougeres, which is their savory cousin. Or, if we are missing Paris, I will whip up a batch of Les Chouquettes, which is a sweet breakfast treat, and a must with our morning coffee when we are there. Cream puffs are simply baked choux, filled with mounds of whipped heavy cream or a pastry cream, then dusted with powdered sugar. It was a very hot the day when I decided to tackle this project, so I opted to fill my cream puffs with a Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato. If, I was going to use a pastry cream to fill them, I would definitely use Dorie Greenspan’s recipe that she uses with a gorgeous french pear tart.
Once you master making choux (which is easy), cream puffs are a breeze. I change my basic choux recipe when making cream puffs, by adding a little sugar, to sweetened things up. After all, it is dessert. Simply bake small mounds of the sweet dough, until golden, then use your patience and let them cool. When you slice off the top of the cream puff there is a somewhat eggy texture inside some people like to remove this before filling, I like to leave it in there. It is sweet and has a wonderfully like texture. And, why waste it? Then I fill it with creamy gelato and drizzle hot fudge over the top. A sprinkle of pistachio dust, adds a lovely color contrast, and nice little crunch to your dessert.
Come along and enjoy Paris in April. There will be a round up of Monthly Minglers; I will update as it becomes available.
Recipe: Cream Puffs and Profiteroles
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup ap flour
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- vanilla bean ice cream
- homemade hot fudge
- 1/4 cup pistachios
- Heat the oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.
- In a large saucepan bring the water, sugar, salt and butter to a boil over medium high heat.
- Lower the heat to a very low simmer, and stir in the flour, using a wooden spoon.
- Continue stirring the mixture until it comes together.
- Add the eggs, one at a time.
- Stir with the wooden spoon until the mixture if glossy; you will get a workout.
- Then add the next egg and repeat the process.
- Using two soup spoons, put little piles of dough, about 1 1/2 tablespoons, onto the baking sheet, evenly spaced apart.
- You should have 6 – 7 puffs.
- Bake for 10 minutes, and then lower the heat to 375.
- Continue baking for 20 – 25 minutes, until they are puffed and golden brown.
- Do not open the oven during baking.
- While the cream puffs are baking, make your pistachio dust.
- Put the pistachios into a ziploc bag, and roll a rolling pin over the top of the bag, back and forth, until they turn into a dusty mixture.
- Slice off the top of a cream puff, fill with ice cream, and drizzle hot fudge over the top.
- Sprinkle with pistachio dust.