Tag Archives: pate a choux

Two French Fridays Catch-Ups

Paris-Brest

I have been playing fast and loose with the French Fridays with Dorie schedule lately.  Between being out of town for a week and trying to catch up on all my FFWD backlogs, I skipped a couple of recipes, but have two make-ups to share with you this week.  I will catch up on the two skipped recipes later this month.

My daughter and I had a wonderful visit in Seattle last week.  It was very relaxing and I enjoyed plenty of good food.  A longer visit gave us lots of quality time with my parents, my sister, and my grandma.  I even got to have a lunch\shopping visit with my good friend who I don’t get to see nearly often enough.   My Mom is a great cook and she fed us well!

Boeuf à la Ficelle

Boeuf à la Ficelle

Boeuf à la Ficelle (literally, “beef on a string”) is a recipe the FFWD group made in February.  I waited to make it until I could collect some of the broth ingredients from my beef guy (yes, I have a beef guy!).

Boeuf à la Ficelle is an impressive recipe that is also perfect for company.  Most of the steps can be completed before your guests arrive, making for easy entertainment.

The star of this dish is the beef tenderloin roast, second only to the home made bouillon (broth).  Surprisingly, the beef is boiled for a short time in the broth.  Tied to a long string, it is easy to remove from the pot.

Beef on a String

This was good!  I served it with the recommended fleur de sel, pepper, and grainy mustard.  I found this wonderful mustard as a special purchase at Trader Joe’s.  It tasted unlike any mustard I have tasted before, and the flavor really enhanced the meat.  If you see this brand of mustard anywhere, I highly recommend it.

Delicious Mustard

If you are looking for a dish to impress, make Boeuf à la Ficelle!

Paris-Brest

Paris-Brest is another dish the Dorista’s made earlier this year.  I chose not to make it at the time because it was too big for my small family, and I wanted to share it with more people.  I made it last week for my family in Seattle!  Not only was it fun to make this dessert for them, but it was also fun to have a new place to take my photos.

Paris-Brest

Paris-Brest is kind of like a giant cream puff filled with vanilla pastry cream that has been enhanced with finely chopped caramelized almonds.  Slivered almonds adorn the top, which is also dusted with confectioner’s sugar.

This was a huge hit!  Everyone loved it.  My daughter ate hers very enthusiastically and then had seconds.  My 5 year old niece wasn’t sure she even wanted to try it, then ended up loving it so much she gave it “20 thumbs up”!  I will be making this one again for sure.

Finally, I couldn’t resist sharing my Dad’s gorgeous daffodils:

Daffodils

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Bouchon Bakery Challenge: Cream Puffs

Cream Puff

You probably thought I forgot to make these Cream Puffs.  They were my October Bouchon Bakery Challenge recipe, and October is long over after all.  I didn’t forget – I just had trouble fitting them in.  But here they are!

Cream Puffs

What makes the Bouchon Bakery cream puffs different from other cream puff recipes is the little unbaked cookie that is placed on top of the pâte à choux before baking.  It gives the puffs a nice crispy texture, and also adds a touch of sweet almond flavor.

Ready for the Oven

Frozen pâte à choux with cookie dough on top – ready for the oven!

Whenever I make cream puffs (or any other recipe involving pâte à choux), I think about a book I read when I was a kid.  I don’t even remember what book it was, but in one chapter, the main character and her friend made cream puffs.  As they measured out the batter, they thought surely something was wrong with the recipe and the cream puffs would be much too small.  So instead they made 1 big cream puff.  Well, if you have ever made cream puffs, you can imagine how big that puff became!  Does anyone else remember that book?  What was it called?

Freshly Baked

Unfilled and right from the oven

These cream puffs are really tasty.  I love, love, love the extra crunch from the cookie on top.  It really makes these special.  While the pastry cream inside was very good, I like the pastry cream from Dorie Greenspan’s eclairs better.  When I bake up the rest of my cream puffs I will try using that pastry cream instead.

Recipe Notes

  • The recipe has you pipe the pâte à choux into silicone molds so they are uniformly sized and shaped.  I don’t care about perfect uniformity, so I simply piped them “freestyle” onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
  • The dough for the cookies was supposed to “come together in large crumbles” during mixing.  Mine stayed in very small crumbles, so I added a tablespoon of cold water to the dough.  This seemed to work fine, and I’m sure it has to do with my dry climate.
  • The pastry cream uses Bird’s Custard Powder.  Both times I have used Bird’s (I also used it for my Blueberry Flan Tarts) I found that once the custard started to thicken, it thickened very quickly!  So quickly that I feel like I overcooked the custard both times.  So, beware, and consider keeping the stove temperature low.
  • I love that the piped pâte à choux and cookie dough can be frozen and used as needed!  This time, I made just enough pastry cream to fill 12 cream puffs and I will bake more later.

Cream Puffs

Altitude Adjustments

None.  The pâte à choux puffed up very nicely without any adjustments.

Next This Month

November’s recipe is Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (page 32).  I know what you’re thinking.  November is more than half over and I am just getting to October’s recipe.  How I am going to fit another one in?  Never fear!  I have already baked the cookies and will share my results with you next week.

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