Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie—Peppermint Cream Puff Ring...Swan

Peppermint Cream Puff SwanThis week with Dorie we’re making pâte à choux, a magical pastry that’s cooked twice (once on the stove and once in the oven), puffs, and tastes so light that you think it could be good for you! Ever since I saw a picture of choux swans, I’ve wanted to make them. And this week I had my chance.

Pâte à choux (pronounced “shoe”), also called choux paste, dates back to 1540 and comes from the word “choux”, which means cabbage in French— that’s what pâte à choux looks like when baked as traditional cream puffs, supposedly.

Traditional choux paste contains four simple ingredients: butter, water, flour, and eggs. Dorie’s recipe includes some milk, sugar and salt for extra flavor. I ended up adding a bit of extra flour (about ¼ cup) so that the batter would come together in the pot. This meant that I had to add an extra egg as well, but everything worked out fine in the end.

Pâte à choux is such a versatile recipe, and can be used for both sweet and savory dishes, such as Gougères or chouquettes, Pommes dauphine, Croquembouche, Paris-Brest, and Gnocchi à la Parisienne.

Swans
To make the swans, you can pipe teardrop shapes, which become the wings when cut in half. I used a cream puff bottom for the base of the swan. The other half of the cream puff can be cut to make wings if you don't want to pipe out tear drop shapes.

To make the neck, pipe the number "2" on parchment paper. Make sure you watch the oven when you bake these since they burn really fast. (I only had one that was photo-worthy!)

To make the eyes, use a toothpick and dot some melted chocolate at the end of the number "2".

Links
Here’s a great article with step-by-step pictures of what the choux paste should look like along with some history.

Here’s a video of Alton Brown making choux paste.

Recipe
Ingredients for Peppermint Cream Puff RingYou can find the recipe for Peppermint Cream Puff Ring in the book Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or at Epicurious. To see how the rest of the TWD group fared with this week's recipe, click here and then click on each blogger! Thanks to Caroline of A Consuming Passion who chose the recipe for this week (and has also posted the recipe).

Peppermint Cream Puff and Ring with Chocolate SauceTasting Notes
The minty, fresh taste of the cream with the lightness and slightly chewy texture of the choux and the richness of the chocolate was a perfect combination of flavors. I absolutely loved it! It was worth all the pastry bags I went through to make this dessert!

My kids enjoyed some of the cream puffs filled with ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce since their palate is not refined enough to like mint! Another favorite was the peppermint cream over raspberries. Mmm, delicious.

Raspberries and Peppermint Cream
I also used the peppermint cream on top of lemon bars! Mint and lemon are a winning combination, and this cream is so versatile.

You can store the cream puffs in an airtight container for a week or in the freezer. This is so dangerous to have on the counter that I think I’ll have to find room in the freezer! Another winning recipe from Dorie!

Note: I just read several great posts about choux paste over at Joe Pastry. Check it out!

Recipe for Next Week (June 24)
Mixed Berry Cobbler on pages 416-417 chosen by Beth of Our Sweet Life.

::Whisk Wednesdays::
If you would like to join me as I cook my way through a cooking school curriculum, send me an email with "Whisk Wednesdays" in the subject line. I'd love to have your help, feedback, and input! Click here for more info! We already have some Whisk Wednesday Buddies!





39 comments:

Engineer Baker said...

Umm... wow. Overachieve much? The swan looks fabulous, and ice cream is always a winner.

bakersbakery said...

I can't even believe this!
Cream Puff Art!
Wonderful!!!

rainbowbrown said...

Whoa lady, mint and lemon? Bold. The swans are just wonderful, glad you got to try it out.

Jules Someone said...

Swans? Now you're just showing off. ;-) Beautiful all around!

vibi said...

Great minds think alike, I guess... I wanted soooo to do swans and didn't for fear it might have been seen as to 70-ish (then again, I couldn't care less what people think or what is in fashion) but since it was only my second attempt for "pâte à choux" (and you should have seen the first attempt!) you'd understand why I stuck to the plain and simple! LOL
Everything looks amazing, Shari!
Great job... AGAIN!!! LOL

Kayte said...

My blog is giving me fits today...yikes. Am posted, but people can't get on, or so I have been told...hope tomorrow goes better for Whisk Wednesday!

Gorgeous...all of them. When I was looking at my book the other day, I thought, "Shari is going to do these swans, I just know it!" I was so right...see how well I know you already???? They turned out just beautifully elegant...so much fun to see them. Your other ideas were great...thanks for sharing them all.

strawberriesinparis said...

look at that swan!! fabulous!

Dianne said...

I love that swam! That is simply gorgeous! :)

Di said...

I love the swan--too cute! Everything else looks great, too.

bakingwiththeboys said...

Mint and lemon? I never would have put those together. Great job with all of variations (again).

steph- whisk/spoon said...

swans--we did those in cooking school. yours are so pretty! i love the delicate neck!

bakerchick103 said...

Simply beautiful!

Heather said...

awwww! I love your choux swans! Great job!

Susie Homemaker said...

a SWAN?? Jesus! Too cool...I am so sheltered I had never even heard of that! (yes,a swan, I know what THAT is, just not a pastry swan! :) )

Annemarie said...

Beautiful, beautiful job!

farida said...

My, my, this swan looks adorable! too cute to eat! you did really great. I should try making this too. gorgeous!

PheMom said...

How ridiculously cool is that swan? Soooo cool! Fantastic job on all your variations!

LyB said...

Everything looks just beautiful. I love the idea of the cream with the raspberries, sounds delicious!

Anne said...

Wow, swan, ring, puffs!? Those are BEAUTIFUL! Great job Shari! I'm glad you liked the mint, I thought it was delicious too-

tytty said...

hi,

im always interested in the technicalities with recipes, and just wondering why you added an extra egg after the extra flour?

wouldnt it make the batter "wet" again?

thanks ( :

kim said...

whaaa??? swans??
love it!! love... it. adorable. love your photos too, of course :)

Shari said...

Thanks everyone for stopping by. Yes, I'm re-living the 70s, but I still think they're cute!

tytty - Thanks for asking about the choux paste. I made the choux paste twice. The first time I didn't notice how wet the cooked batter was, and plowed ahead with the recipe. The cream puffs didn't rise at all. Flat as pancakes. The next time, I checked some pictures of how the dough is supposed to look after cooking, and it looks like one big ball. The second time, I kept cooking mine hoping it would clump together, and after awhile I thought adding some extra flour would bring it together, and it did.

Then, when I added the eggs in the stand mixer, it was clumpy and dry and not at all something that could be piped. One more egg made it wet enough to pipe. The pictures in the article I link to really helped me get the batter right. Hope that helps!

Shari

Liliana said...

What a fantastic job you did! Great post and great photos!

Rebecca said...

Those pics are gorgeous! Love a swan.

BAKE-EN said...

I made swans too! Choux paste is so much fun.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Shari, you are so talented, sweetie! This is absolutely beautiful - I'd hesitate for a couple of seconds before eating it. ;)

Mary Ann said...

Very creative and beautiful!

Lisa Thibault said...

Your swan is so beautiful - what an elegant end to a meal that would make.

CB said...

How totally adorable! Lurve the swan and I might have to attempt it someday when I am feeling more bold. Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Brilynn said...

That looks so good!
I made creampuff swans a little while ago but I have a heavy hand when piping and their necks were enormous! Not delicate and pretty at all...

Becky said...

i'm speechless. stupendous job! love your photos.

My Sweet & Saucy said...

Amazing job! So creative!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Love the swan, you're always pushing the envelope of creativity and it's fabulous!

Dolores said...

Your swans are absolutely elegant... I love the creativity you consistently bring to our weekly assignments!

Shari said...

Thanks to everyone for dropping by! I'm going to have to make them again because only one swan's neck actually looked good! The rest were burnt, brittle, and ugly. You only need one for a picture!! My secret's out. :)

Jaime said...

WOW! swans? puffs? and a ring?! you put me to shame! everything looks lovely, esp the first pic!

syrie said...

Shari, this is perfect. Well done! Your photos are gorgeous.

Kitchen Confidentiality said...

That looks amazing! I've recently just started my own food blog as well, and I'd love some comments on what you think! So far only one recipe up, but here's to hoping!

Maybe culinary school isn't such a bad idea...

Travis Webster said...

That looks fantastic!
Also, it looks very difficult.