Ladurée Chocolate Choux Cream Puffs

May 08, 2014

Presenting to you, the first recipe from my Laduréed project, Chocolate Choux Cream Puffs. They were made based on the Choux Pastry (Pâte à Choux, i.e. cream puff dough) and Pastry Creme recipes from the Ladurée Sucré book.

In general, this is a pretty simple recipe, albeit slightly time consuming (but hey, it's worth the effort!). However, the instructions in the book are slightly vague. Thus I've added my comments in parentheses for clearer instructions. 

For a first attempt, they turned out pretty good. Initially, I thought I had failed as they did not turn out as fluffy as I believed they should have been. However, after piping in the filling, they turned soft enough and weren't dry. I feel that they could be better with more practice! Hope they'd turn out yummier the next time round. 

I kinda made a huge mess in the kitchen while trying to pipe in the filling as my pastry bag burst. It was a massacre with my puffs covered in chocolate filling, which was flowing like lava from a volcano. So to avoid such an eruption, it's always a good decision to invest in higher quality pastry bags. Don't scrimp and save like me hahaha. 

Anyway, enough of my chattering. Here's the recipe for the cream puffs and filling, which I've modified slightly! When making the pastry cream, be sure to keep a close eye on the milk as it heats to avoid overflows, which can be quite common. Also make sure that the saucepan is covered tightly while the vanilla steeps in the milk to prevent water from evaporating, or the cream will be too dry.


by Ladurée

[For Cream Puffs]
Makes dough for 25 small cream puffs
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

[For Chocolate Pastry Cream]
Makes 5 cups (600g of pastry cream)
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes

[For Cream Puffs]
120g Cake Flour
100ml Whole Milk
100ml Water
10g Granulated Sugar
1 Pinch of salt
80g Butter
4 Eggs

[For Chocolate Pastry Cream]
1 Vanilla bean
400ml Whole milk
4 Egg yolks
80g Granulated sugar
30g Cornstarch
100g Dark Chocolate
2 Spoons of Cocoa powder
25g Butter

[For Cream Puffs]
1. Sift the flour. In a saucepan, bring the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter to a boil. Remove from heat. Incorporate the sifted flour into the hot liquid, mixing energetically with a spatula until homogenous. (okay, I did not really understand what they meant by mixing energetically. When I incorporated the flour, the mixture started to thicken up and got pretty sticky, thus it took quite a bit of effort to mix energetically.)
2. Return the saucepan to low heat and stir vigorously for 1 minute to pull out the moisture from the batter, so that it forms a mass and pulls away from the sides of the pan. (Once again, it seemed almost impossible to stir vigorously. Thus, I used more of a mixing and pressing down motion instead of stirring.)
3. Transfer the batter to a large bowl and allow to cool. Add the eggs one at a time, carefully incorporating each into the batter with a spatula. (I think it's best to beat the eggs first before incorporation as it makes it easier to mix evenly)
4. When homogenous, transfer it into a pastry bag and pipe them into circles. Bake them at a pre-heated oven of 180 degrees celsius. After 8-10 minutes, when they have started to puff up, open the oven door slightly and bake for another 30 minutes. You can keep the oven door open with a wooden chopstick/spoon/spatula. 
(The main thing to note is not to over-bake the puffs! I made the mistake of over cooking the first batch that went into the oven, resulting in puffs that were slightly too hard and crispy. The rest of the batches turned out much better when they were in the oven for just the right length of time. As every oven is slightly different, it is highly recommended to keep an eye on the puffs during the last few minutes of baking in the oven. Once they start to turn golden, remove them from the oven! Don't repeat my mistake!)
5. Allow the puffs to cool before piping in the filling.

[For Chocolate Pastry Cream]
1. With a sharp knife, slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Using the tip, scrape the interior to remove the seeds. (You can replace this step and use vanilla flavouring instead). Pour the milk into a saucepan and add the vanilla pod and seeds. Bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, cover immediately and allow to infuse for 15 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until slightly pale. Incorporate the cornstarch. 
3. Remove the vanilla pod from the saucepan and reheat the milk. Add in the dark chocolate and allow it to melt, bringing the mixture to a simmer. 
4. Pour a third of the mixture over the egg yolk, sugar and cornstarch mixture (to temper the yolks). Whisk together and pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan. 
5. Bring to a boil while stirring with a whisk, making sure to scrape down the sides of the pan with a spatula.
6. Remove from heat and allow it to cool for ten minutes so that it is still hot but not boiling. Add in the butter while stirring. Transfer to piping bag with a small tip and pipe them into the choux puffs. (Pipe them by piercing the puffs from the bottom with the piping bag tip and squeezing in the filling)
7. Allow them to chill in the fridge before serving. 

And there you have it - cute, round, and fluffy cream puffs filled with chocolate! Be warned - chocolatey goodness bursts and overflows in your mouth in the first bite. Yum. 

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