Sunday, June 7, 2009

David! You have the recipe in your book, but it isn't working!

I was eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new David Lebovitz book, "A sweet life in Paris". I looked forward to his cranky observations of Parisians and the French culture. When it finally arrived I wasn't disappointed. It was an easy and comical read with delectable recipes. I found myself laughing aloud as I read through the book. I couldn't wait to try the Chocolate Chip Cream Puffs recipe on page 70. Chocolate chips, over sized crystals of sugar and a light and airy pastry. What more could a girl want?

A freakin' recipe that works!

Both times I made the recipe the puffs scorched on the bottom or the center was undercooked. I thought perhaps it's my baking prowess, my oven or then again maybe the bloody recipe is wrong! Perhaps Cream Puffs just bake up differently in Paris than they do in New York. I don't know, but I thought it was time to reacquaint myself with the classic recipe.
With the help of Julia Child and Simon Beck I was able to make perfect Chocolate Chip Cream Puffs. I've revised David's recipe by adding more direction and shortening the cooking time. I had so many I really went crazy and made vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce, turning them into Profiteroles. By the end of the evening there was not a one left!
Chocolate Chip Cream Puffs
adapted from David Lebovitz' A sweet life in Paris
and Mastering the Art of french Cooking by Julia Child and Simon Beck

1 cup water
1 teaspoon suger
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup all purpose flour
4 large eggs
1/2 cup sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup Pearl Sugar*

Combine the water, butter and seasonings in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil melting the butter. Remove from the heat and add the flour all at once, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon until completely blended. Continue to beat for a minute or 2 over a low fire until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan and a film starts to form on the bottom of the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs one at a time stirring until the they are completely absorbed before adding the next one. The third and fourth egg will be the hardest to incorporate as the dough becomes more dense. Once all the eggs are incorporated, continue stirring until the dough is smooth.

Let the batter cool to room temperature, then stir in the chocolate chips.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Fill a pastry bag with the dough and pipe onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a silpat mat. They should be about 1 inch in diameter and about 1/2 inch high.
Sprinkle the Pearl sugar crystals over the puffs and press them in with your finger.
When they start to bake and the sugar doesn't fall off, you will be glad you did! A DL tip!
Bake in the upper third of the oven for about 20 minutes or until they have doubled in size, are golden brown and firm to touch. Remove from the oven and pierce each puff with the tip of a sharp knife. This will allow the steam to escape to ensure they remain crispy. Return them to a turned off oven and leave the door ajar for 10 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Enjoy them on their own or with fresh strawberries.
Or fill with your favorite ice cream and float on a bed of chocolate sauce. I guarantee there will be nothing left!* Pearl Sugar crystals are available on the King Arthur Flour Website
Written and photographed by Pam Dockery.
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