Friday, July 28, 2017

Greyscale Cream Puffs

I was inspired by the latest episode of Game of Thrones to make these choux pastries, color the craquelin with dark cocoa, and call them Greyscale Cream Puffs!

Greyscale Cream Puffs (adapted from Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan)
makes 24 cream puffs

For the vanilla diplomat cream:
1/2 vanilla bean
1 cup whole milk
3 large egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small cubes
1 cup whipped cream

Split the vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape out the seeds.  Add to a small saucepan with the milk and bring to a boil.  Cover and let steep for 10-60 minutes.

Whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a small mixing bowl.  Bring the milk back to a boil and stream a 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg yolks while whisking.  Whisk in the rest of the hot milk and return to the saucepan.  Bring to a boil whisk whisking continuously.  Whisk for another minute until thickened and remove from the heat.  Let sit for 10 minutes then whisk in the butter.  Press a piece of cling film to the top of the cream and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Fold in the whipped cream when ready to use.

For the craquelin:
65 grams unsalted butter
100 grams light brown sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
20 grams dark cocoa powder
65 grams all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Let the butter for the craquelin sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then cut into small cubes.  Use a food processor to process the butter, brown sugar, and salt until almost blended.  Add the cocoa powder and flour and pulse until you get small curds.  Add the vanilla and pulse until mixed.

Dump the mixture onto a large piece of parchment paper.  Make a disk and then roll it out to 1/16" thickness and cover with another piece of parchment.  Use a cutting board to transfer it to the freezer and freeze for at least 2 hours.  Use a 1 1/2" cookie cutter to cut out 24 circles and return the circles to the freezer for at least 30 minutes.

For the cream puff:
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup water
1 stick unsalted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
136 grams all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

Position your oven racks so they divide the space in thirds and preheat the oven to 425°F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or Silpats.

Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Dump all the flour in at once, lower the heat, and start stirring with a wooden spoon until a smooth dough forms and a thin film begins to form on the bottom of the saucepan.

Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer and let cool for 3 minutes.  Using the paddle attachment, beat in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.

Use a medium cookie scooper (one with a 1 1/2 tablespoon capacity and 1 1/2" diameter) to portion out 24 scoops onto the two baking sheets.  Place a frozen round of craquelin dough on top of each scoop.

Place the baking sheets in the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 375°F.  Bake for 20 minutes then rotate the baking sheets.  Bake for another 10-15 minutes, until golden brown.  Allow to cool to room temperature.

Use a pastry bag with a small round trip attached to pipe the diplomat cream into the cream puffs and serve.

Next:  Blueberry Salted Caramel Ice Cream with Chocolate Freckles
Previously:  3-28 Slab Pie
Last Year:  Zucchini Pizza
Three Years Ago:  Strawberry Pop Tart Slab Pie
Four Years Ago:  Backyard Mint Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Freckles

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

3-28 Slab Pie

Where were you when the Patriots came from behind and won Superbowl 51?  I was at my church, watching the game on the big screen.  By the time halftime rolled around, I knew the Patriots were in big trouble, and I called my mom, who has the gift of prayer (I have the gift of faith) to pray for them to win.  She didn't believe they could, but after I begged her to, she relented and agreed to pray for them.  So I guess you could say that what happened next was all because of me and my mom.

The idea for this pie had been brewing in my mind for a long time, but I wanted to wait until strawberries and blueberries were in season to make it.  I usually brush an egg wash on top of my pie dough before baking, but I decided I wanted to keep crust as pale as possible to make it look more similar to the infamous chyron.  If I had had more time, I might have made some royal icing to make the numbers and letters stand out even more, but I think it looks pretty good as is.  =)

3-28 Slab Pie
makes one 10" x 15" slab pie

For the pie crust:
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup ice water, plus more as needed

For the filling:
3 cups fresh blueberries
3 cups fresh sliced strawberries
1 cup sugar, divided
3 tablespoons cornstarch, divided

Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the butter has been cut into pea-sized pieces. Add the water and pulse to combine. Add more water if needed, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough comes together. Divide the dough into two pieces, one twice the size of the other, and wrap both with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least an hour or as long as overnight.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Roll out the larger piece of dough to about a 13" x 18" rectangle.  Press into a 10" x 15" baking sheet and fold the excess dough underneath.  Prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork and crimp the edges.  Chill while assembling the rest of the pie.

Roll out the smaller piece of dough and cut out the letters and numbers.  You'll also want to cut out a thin strip of dough about 10" long to use as a divider between the two fillings.  You should end up with a lot of leftover dough, which you can use to make a tart or galette.  Chill while you fix up the filling.

In a small mixing bowl, toss the blueberries with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch.  Toss the sliced strawberries with the remaining 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in another bowl.

Place the dividing strip of dough down the middle of the pie.  Fill the left side with the blueberries and the right side with the strawberries.  Carefully arrange the letters and numbers on top. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Next:  Greyscale Cream Puffs
Previously:  Rhubarb Strawberry Coconut Cream Tart
Last Year:  My Mom's Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry
Two Years Ago:  Pasta con le Sarde
Three Years Ago:  Cleveland Cassata Cake
Four Years Ago:  Zuni Cafe's Fried Eggs in Bread Crumbs
Seven Years Ago:  Coconut Lime Sorbet
Eight Years Ago:  Homemade Bulgogi Dumplings