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Authors: Dorie Greenspan

Around My French Table (96 page)

BOOK: Around My French Table
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TO FILL THE PUFFS:
Using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, you can simply cut off the top quarter or third of each puff, fill the puffs, and top them with the little caps. Or, if you're using a very creamy filling (like pastry cream or the mixture for the goat cheese puffs), you can fill a piping bag fitted with a small plain tip with the filling, then use the tip to poke a hole in the side of each puff and squeeze in the filling.

 

MAKES ABOUT 24 PUFFS

 

STORING
The best way to store cream puffs is to shape the dough and freeze the mounds on the baking sheets, and then, when they're solid, pack them airtight in plastic bags. They can be frozen for up to 2 months. Bake them straight from the freezer—no need to defrost, just give them a minute or two more in the oven. Leftover puffs can be kept overnight and reheated in a 350-degree-F oven, or they can be frozen and reheated before serving.

Crème Anglaise

C
RÈME ANGLAISE, SOMETIMES CALLED POURING CUSTARD,
is both a custard sauce (it's the "sea" in Floating Islands,
[>]
) and the base for French-style ice cream. While you can test the readiness of crème anglaise with your finger, you can measure it more accurately with an instant-read thermometer.

1
cup whole milk
1
cup heavy cream
6
large egg yolks
½
cup sugar
2
teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Fill a large bowl with ice cubes and cold water and have ready a strainer and a heatproof bowl that can hold the finished cream.

Bring the milk and cream to a boil in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk the yolks and sugar together until very well blended and just slightly thickened. Whisking all the while, drizzle in about one quarter of the hot liquid. Once the eggs are acclimatized to the heat, you can whisk in the remaining liquid a little more quickly. Pour the custard into the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring without stop with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of the spoon; if you run your finger down the bowl of the spoon, the custard should not run into the track. The custard should reach at least 170 degrees F, but no more than 180 degrees F, on an instant-read thermometer. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and strain the custard into the bowl. Stir in the vanilla extract.

Chill the crème anglaise quickly by putting the bowl into the bowl filled with ice and cold water and stirring the custard occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes. Cover tightly and refrigerate. If possible, chill it for 24 hours before using it—the extra chill time will intensify the flavor and allow the cream to thicken a bit more.

 

MAKES ABOUT 2½ CUPS

 

STORING
Covered and kept away from foods with strong odors, crème anglaise can be refrigerated for up to 3 days.

Vanilla Pastry Cream

T
HINK OF PASTRY CREAM AS PUDDING,
and you'll have an idea of its thick and velvety texture. The fact that pastry cream is so very thick often surprises people, but its thickness is classic, and it's what makes it perfect for its job: to be a filling for tarts, éclairs, cream puffs, or cakes.

2
cups whole milk
6
large egg yolks
½
cup sugar

cup cornstarch, sifted

teaspoons pure vanilla extract

tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, at room temperature

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan or in a microwave oven.

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar and cornstarch until thick and well blended. Whisking without stop, drizzle in about ¼ cup of the hot milk—this will temper, or warm, the yolks—then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly, and thoroughly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil—still whisking—for 1 to 2 minutes, then pull the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla extract. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until the butter is fully incorporated and the pastry cream is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool the custard quickly—as I always do—put the bowl with the pastry cream into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the pastry cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

 

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

 

STORING
The pastry cream can be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

 

BONNE IDÉES
Because the recipe is so basic, it lends itself to variation.

 

Rum-Scented Pastry Cream.
When you add the vanilla extract, add 1 to 2 tablespoons dark rum, to taste.

 

Liqueur-Scented Pastry Cream.
You can flavor the pastry cream with various liqueurs, such as amaretto, kirsch, or Grand Marnier. Reduce the vanilla extract to 1 teaspoon, and after you've added it, add 2 teaspoons liqueur. If you want more flavor (and you might), add more liqueur, 1 teaspoon at a time.

 

Coffee or Espresso Pastry Cream.
Make a coffee or espresso extract by dissolving 2 tablespoons instant coffee or espresso in 2 tablespoons boiling water. Add 1 tablespoon of the extract to the pastry cream after you've added the vanilla extract, then, if you want more flavor, add additional extract, 1 teaspoon at a time.

Chocolate Pastry Cream

L
IKE ITS SISTER, VANILLA PASTRY CREAM
(
[>]
), this chocolate cream can fill tarts, puffs, éclairs, or cakes.

2
cups whole milk
4
large egg yolks
6
tablespoons sugar
3
tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
Pinch of salt
7
ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into bits, at room temperature

Bring the milk to a boil in a small saucepan or in a microwave oven.

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar, cornstarch, and salt until thick and well blended. Whisking without stop, drizzle in about ¼ cup of the hot milk—this will temper, or warm, the yolks—then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly, and thoroughly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil—still whisking—for 1 to 2 minutes, then pull the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the melted chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until the butter is fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the custard until chilled or, if you want to cool the custard quickly—as I always do—put the bowl with the custard into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the custard occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.

 

MAKES ABOUT 2½ CUPS

 

STORING
The pastry cream can be kept tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Lemon Curd

T
HIS RECIPE WAS GIVEN TO ME
during a cooking class I took with Jacques Pourcel, who, with his brother Laurent, has a Michelin-starred restaurant in Provence and nineteen other restaurants around the world. At least I thought this was the recipe the chef handed out, but after I made it and was delighted with the results, I realized I'd made a mistake. I was supposed to use just yolks, and instead I made the curd with whole eggs. Made my way, the curd is just a tiny bit lighter and just a little less fussy to cook, since whites can take more heat than yolks.


cups sugar
4
large eggs
1
tablespoon light corn syrup
About ¾ cup fresh lemon juice (from 4–5 lemons)
8
tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks

In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the sugar and eggs together until blended. Whisk in the corn syrup and lemon juice and then drop in the chunks of butter.

Put the saucepan over medium heat and start whisking, taking care to work the whisk into the edges of the pan. If your whisk is too big to clean the edges of the pan, switch to a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula. Keep heating and whisking the mixture without stop. After about 6 to 8 minutes, you'll notice the curd starting to thicken—it won't be very thick, but the change is easily perceptible. When the curd is thickened and, most important, you see a bubble or two burble to the surface and then pop immediately, remove the pan from the heat.

Scrape the curd into a heatproof bowl or a canning jar or two. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to create an airtight seal, and let the curd cool to room temperature. Chill before serving.

 

MAKES A GENEROUS 2 CUPS

 

SERVING
The curd can be used straight from the jar as a spread or a tart filling. For another great way to use the curd, try it with Sable Breton Galette with Berries (
[>]
).

 

STORING
Packed into an airtight container—I always keep a piece of plastic wrap pressed against the surface—the curd can be refrigerated for at least 3 weeks.

Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

W
HEN THIS SAUCE IS WARM,
it's ideal for pouring over cakes or around tarts or profiteroles; when it's chilled, it can be spooned over cookies or used to fill them.

½
cup heavy cream
½
cup whole milk
½
cup water
6
tablespoons sugar
¼
pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Put all of the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, put the saucepan over medium-low heat, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to blend. Lower the heat and let the sauce simmer for 10 to 15 minutes—don't leave the kitchen, this is a bubble-up brew—or until the sauce is thick enough to coat a metal or wooden spoon. If you run your finger down the bowl of the spoon, the sauce should not run into the track.

If you want to use the sauce in its pourable state, let it cool for about 10 minutes, then pour away. If you want to save it for later, cool it, pack it into an airtight container, and chill it until needed.

 

MAKES ABOUT 1½ CUPS

 

STORING
Packed into an airtight container, the sauce can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. If you want to use the sauce warm, heat it gently in a microwave oven or in a saucepan over very low heat.

Hot Fudge Sauce

N
OT TYPICALLY FRENCH,
but when you've got great ice cream (
[>]
,
[>]
, and
[>]
), you want great sauce.

4
tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
6
ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
¾
cup heavy cream
3
tablespoons light corn syrup
2
tablespoons sugar
¼
teaspoon salt

Fit a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is above, not touching, the water. Put the butter in the bowl, top with the chocolate, and heat, stirring once or twice, until the ingredients are melted. Keep the heat very low—you don't want the mixture to get so hot that the butter and chocolate separate. Transfer the bowl to the counter when the mixture is smooth.

In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir together the cream, corn syrup, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, then pull the pan from the heat.

Pour about one quarter of the hot cream over the chocolate and, working with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon and starting in the center of the bowl, stir the mixtures together in ever-widening concentric circles. When smooth, add the remainder of the cream in 2 additions, stirring gently until the sauce is shiny and smooth.

Allow the sauce to cool for about 10 minutes before using.

 

MAKES ABOUT 1¼ CUPS

 

STORING
Packed into a tightly covered jar, the sauce will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Before serving, warm it gently in a microwave oven or over low heat until it is pourable.

Warm Caramel Sauce

W
ITH A JAR OF THIS IN YOUR REFRIGERATOR,
you can turn a scoop of ice cream or a slice of the plainest cake into a dinner-party dessert. Because the sauce has a little bit of corn syrup, it is both easy to make and satin smooth.

BOOK: Around My French Table
3.34Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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