Suzi's Blog

Cream Puffs with Coffee and Drambuie Mousse

Yesterday, I promised you dessert. And here it is: small cream puffs filled with a coffee and liquor based mousse. These are delicate wonders, to be made and consumed on the same day. Creating them is relatively easy. Consuming them is not a problem at all.

This recipe comes from Egg by Michel Roux. Yesterday’s blog was a savory egg dish, poached eggs placed on top of onion tartlets. [www.cookingbythebook.com/blog/recipes/poached-eggs-onion-tartlets].

This dessert is truly a complement to that main course.

In Egg, this recipe is called Choux Buns with Coffee and Drambuie Mousse.  We Americans might not know what choux means, but “cream puff” brings up distant memories of whipped cream. Puffs are a fondly remembered dish, but one that many of are intimidated from making. The steps for choux pastry are unfamiliar to us, but if you just follow the guidelines below you will see some culinary magic: boiling liquid becomes a paste when flour is added then the paste is transformed into a rich dough as eggs are beaten in. The metamorphosis here from step to step is fast and fascinating. The results are palette boggling.

There are two recipes below, one for the Choux Buns with the mousse and the needed second one to create the choux, or cream puff, pastry, pipe, and bake into buns. The mousse is really your place to experiment. You can do the suggested coffee and Drambuie combination here, or experiment: more or less coffee, brandy or rum instead of Drambuie. The possibilities are endless.

Roux recommends five of these small pastries for each person. In my experience, people will not just eat one or two. So five is a realistic number. There will be demands for repeats on this dessert. Keep your wooden spoon ready.

Roll up your sleeves, dive in, and be prepared to be thrilled.

Cream Puffs [Choux Buns] with Coffee and Drambuie Mousse

Serves: 8 to 10

Ingredients for the choux pastry:

1/2 cup milk
8 tablespoons butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
generous 1 cup all-purpose flour
4 medium eggs
egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk)

Ingredients for the coffee mousse:

generous ⅓ cup heavy cream
½ tablespoon superfine sugar
½ quantity crème patissiere, cooled [recipe follows]
4 tablespoons instant coffee powder, dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water
5 tablespoons Drambuie, or to taste
confectioners’ sugar
unsweetened cocoa

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 40°F. Bake the choux pastry, and shape and cook the buns following the method in the recipe below. Let cool on a wire rack.

To make the mousse, whip the cream with the sugar to a ribbon consistency and fold into the cooled crème patissiere, then fold in the coffee and Drambuie.

Make a small opening in the side of each choux bun with the tip of the knife. Using a pastry bag fitted with a plain ¼-inch tip, pipe a generous amount of coffee mousse into each bun.

To serve, dust half the buns with a little confectioners’ sugar and the rest with cocoa. Arrange on individual plates or platter, allowing about 5 per person

Choux Pastry

Yield: 40 to 50 buns

Ingredients:

1/2 cup milk
8 tablespoons butter, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
generous 1 cup all-purpose flour
4 medium eggs
egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon milk)

Preparation:

Combine the milk, 1/2 cup water, butter, salt, and sugar in a pan and set over low heat. Bring to a boil and immediately take the pan off the heat. Shower in the flour and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Return the pan to medium heat for about one minute, stirring constantly, to dry out the paste. Tip into a bowl.

Add the eggs one by one, beating with a wooden spoon. Once they are all incorporated into the mixture, it should be smooth and shiny and thick enough to type. The choux paste is now ready to use. (If you are not using it immediately, brush the surface with egg wash prevent a crust forming.)

Pipe small amounts onto a baking sheet lined with waxed paper in staggered rows using a pastry bag fitted with ½-inch tip. Brush with egg wash and lightly mark the tops with the back of a fork. Bake at 400°F  for 15 to 20 minutes, until dry and crisp soft inside. Cool on a wire rack

 

Source: Eggs by Michel Roux

Poached Eggs on Onion Tartlets

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A superior chef and cookbook author is rare. When you find one, your loyalty quickly builds and your interest in all their work intensifies.

Last fall, I blogged Pastry by Michel Roux [cookingbythebook.com/blog/cookbook-reviews/pastry-savory-sweet] because this master chef had created a marvelous pastry book, organized by pasty types and filled with rapturous recipes.  Going back in time to 2005, Roux authored Eggs, and this book is every bit as satisfying as Pastry.  The two books have the same formatting, style and organization. And again, Eggs is filled with magnificent recipes.

You might first think of an egg as just a component of a dish, not the star.  But in Eggs, the eggs literally are the focal point.  In this recipe, Poached Eggs on Onion Tartlets, the eggs beam on top of tartlets that can only be described as the ultimate comfort food.

Poaching an egg? Not the easiest thing?  Something you actually never, ever tried? Well, Eggs has the solution. Organized into chapters by type of egg preparation, you learn — and see, too — the right techniques for boiling, frying, scrambling, baking, and, yes, poaching eggs. Roux’s poaching technique is presented at the end of this blog.

The recipes in Eggs are seductively written, they are delicious from the first forkful, and best of all they are quite easy to make. This recipe does ask you to thoroughly cook the onions for an hour. Don’t rush. The payoff is the taste. As with Pastry, the Egg recipes have been professionally tested. Just follow the instructions and delight in your skills.

This dish is, of course, ideal for a brunch.  But it could surprise friends and family at dinner, too.

Just a bit of a preview for you, this is a rich savory dish from Eggs. Dessert will be blogged tomorrow. Think ultimate cream puffs.

 

 

Eggs

 

Poached Eggs on Onion Tartlets

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

2 large onions, about 1 lb. 2 oz.
8 tablespoons butter
⅔ cup heavy cream
few thyme leaves, plus sprigs to garnish
salt and freshly cracked pepper
¾ pound ready-made puff pastry [or see Roux’s Pastry book]
flour, for dusting
4 small eggs, poached [poaching recipe below]

Preparation:

Cut the onions into thin slices. Melt the butter in a heavy pan over low heat. Add the onions and cook gently for 45 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Pour in the cream, add the thyme leaves, and let simmer for another 20 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper and tip into a bowl. Set aside.

To bake the tartlets, preheat the oven to 325°F. Roll out the dough on a floured surface to a ⅛ inch thickness. Using a 4-½ inch plain round pastry cutter, cut our 4 disks and place them on a baking sheet. Chill for 20 minutes.

Prick each pastry disk 4 or 5 times with a fork. Spread the onions evenly on top of the disks, then bake for 25 to 30 minutes. The bottom of the pastry should be well cooked and crisp.

If you have previously poached and saved eggs in a bowl, carefully pour on boiling water on them, and leave them for 30 seconds only to warm through. Drain well.

If you have just poached the eggs, transfer from the poaching pan to a plate and trim the edges.

Put a poached egg on each onion tartlet. Top with a sprig of thyme and serve on warm plates.

Technique for Poached Eggs

Half fill a wide pan about 4 inches deep with unsalted water. Add 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar and bring to a boil.

Break an egg into ramekin or small bowl and slip the egg gently into the pan at the point where the water is bubbling.

Repeat with the other eggs, but do not poach more than four eggs at a time. Poach for about 1-½ minutes.

Using a slotted spoon or small skimmer, lift up the first egg and press the outside edge slightly to see if it is properly cooked

As soon as the egg is cooked to your liking, remove it with the skimmer or slotted spoon. Either serve immediately or transfer to a bowl of ice water and leave for about 10 minutes.

Before serving, trim the edges with a small knife to make a neat shape. This will also cut off the excess white that inevitably spreads during cooking. The poached egg is now ready.

Source: Eggs by Michel Roux