January 18, 2013

The Perfect Valentine's Day Dessert ~ Raspberry Dusted Cream Puffs


With its rich, seductive scarlet color, raspberry dust is the perfect natural garnish for Valentine's day desserts.  After discovering the secret to making raspberry dust back in November, my first confection to top with this gorgeous little powder was the Dark Chocolate & Raspberry Truffles that I included in my holiday candy boxes.  But I knew right away that for Valentines' Day it would be all about the cream puffs!

BE MY VALENTINE? Who could possibly say no when presented with a box of these?
You see, I've had a lifelong love of cream puffs -- the buttery, rich, yet airy pastry filled with ethereally light vanilla cream.  Add to that the classic marriage of dark chocolate a raspberry and....be still my beating heart.


A cream puff is all at once comforting and elegant.  They look deceptively complex to make, giving that "Honey, I slaved for hours in the kitchen to make this for you" impression.  On the contrary, the Pâte à Choux (the dough used for cream puffs) involves only a handful of ingredients and very little time or culinary prowess.  If you follow the basic steps, you'll be well on your way to mastering one of the most beloved and classic French pastries of all time.  Try it...you'll see...


Classic Cream Puffs
(with raspberry dust)

Yield:  approx. 28 2-bite puffs
Time:   approx. 1 hour

For the Pâte à Choux
1 cup water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1 cup bread flour (all-purpose is fine too)
4 large eggs, cracked and beaten

For the dark chocolate glaze
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 ounces dark chocolate, finely chopped

For the filling
 3 cups sweetened whipped cream or pastry cream*

For the garnish
Raspberry dust (dehydrated raspberries ground to dust in a food processor or spice mill)

Prep
Arrange oven rack to upper middle position.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. 
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Fit 1 large pastry bag (or a plastic freezer bag with 1/2-inch cut from one bottom corner) with plain 1/2-inch tip.

Step 1: In a medium saucepan, over medium heat, bring to a boil the water, butter, salt and sugar.  When butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat.  Immediately add the cup of flour and beat with a wooden spoon until a thick dough forms.

Step 2:  Add half of the beaten eggs, stirring vigorously to combine.  Add the second half of the eggs and beat with wooden spoon until dough is smooth.

Step 3:  Transfer warm dough to the pastry bag.  Pipe into 1.5"w x 1"h mounds, 1" apart on the prepared baking sheet.  You can use a dampened finger to tap down any pointy tops and smooth out the dough.  


Step 4:   Bake for 15 minutes (do not open the oven door during baking).  Reduce the oven temperature to 375˚ F and bake for another 15 minutes, or until golden brown.  


Step 5:  Remove the baking sheet from the oven.  Using a paring knife, cut a ¾-inch slit into the side of each puff to release steam; return the puffs to the oven, turn the oven off, and keep the door propped open.  Dry the puffs in the turned-off oven for 15 minutes.  The centers should be moist, but not wet and the puffs should have a golden, crisp exterior.   Transfer the puffs to a wire rack to cool completely.

Step 6: Prepare the chocolate glaze by bringing the heavy cream to a boil and pouring over the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.  Let sit for 2 minutes.  Then whisk until smooth.


Step 7:  At this point you can either pipe your whipped cream or pastry cream into the hole in the puffs, then dip in chocolate.  Or, you can continue to cut along the side of the puffs with a serrated knife to create 2 pieces.  Dip the top of the lids in the chocolate glaze.  Then, use a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to create a layer of cream on the bottom half of the puff.  Place lid on top of the cream, then garnish with a pinch of raspberry dust.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Note:  Raspberry dust is prone to absorbing moisture, so when not in use, make sure your dust is stored in an airtight container. 

*My favorite filling is crème légère -- a combination of whipped cream and pastry cream.  To combine the two, whip 1 1/2 cups heavy cream to medium peaks.  Add 3 Tablespoons confectioner's sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Beat to heavy peaks.  In a separate bowl, loosen up 1/2 cup pastry cream by whisking until smooth.  Gently fold the pastry cream into the whipped cream.  Pipe into cream puff shells.

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This post has been linked-up with:
BFF Open House Link Party @ The Answer is Chocolate

Strut Your Stuff Link Party @ Six Sisters' Stuff 
Finding the Pretty & Delicious Linky Party @ Your HomeBased Mom 
French Food Recipe Link @ Carole's Chatter 

   

9 comments:

  1. I love Cream puffs. I could eat the entire batch. What a great idea with the raspberry dust. I never would have thought that. I may just have to try.

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  2. OMG! These are so pretty and look delicious. What a perfect Valentine's dessert. I am so making these (and pinned your post).

    Doreen
    altered-artworks.blogspot.com

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  3. I need to make these!!! They look sooooooo yummy... =) thanks for sharing xx

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  4. Cream puffs are the perfect romantic Valentine dessert!
    I'd love for you to come over and share at Finding the Pretty & Delicious Linky Party!
    http://www.yourhomebasedmom.com/finding-the-pretty-delicious-linky-party-2/

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  5. Raspberry dust! What a creative idea. These look so delicious :)

    If you don't mind I wanted to invite you to come link up at Recipe Sharing Monday and share your favorite recipes. Have a super week. :)

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  6. These look sooooo scrumptious. Thank you for sharing. I pinned this. Blessings to you.

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  7. Magnifique, Jenn! Merci beaucoup.

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  8. These look absolutely amazing!! Thanks for sharing!!

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