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Chocolate and Salted-Caramel Cream Puffs

Serves: Makes 20 cream puffs

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 or 3 large whole eggs

  • 4-½ cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1-½ cups cream cheese, at room temperature, cut into small pieces
  • ½-cup heavy cream
  • Icing sugar for dusting


Procedures:

The two recipes below contain a variation from standard recipes. The profiterole recipe contains cocoa powder to produce a rich chocolate flavor. And, instead of making a pastry cream, we are using a cream-cheese base to make a salted-caramel cream.

Preheat an oven to 375°F.

To make the profiteroles: In a small bowl, sift the flour, cocoa, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. In a medium saucepan, bring milk, butter and granulated sugar to a boil stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat, and immediately stir in the flour mixture using a wooden spoon. Return the saucepan to a medium heat; cook, stirring constantly, until the dough forms and the mixture is pulling away from the sides of the saucepan, about 2-½ minutes.

Transfer the dough to a bowl of a stand mixer and beat on medium speed until slightly cooled, about 2 minutes. Beat in 2 eggs, 1 at a time. Test dough by touching it with your finger and lifting to form a string. If the string does not form, the batter needs more eggs. In a small bowl, lightly beat remaining egg and add to dough, 1 teaspoon at a time, testing after each addition. Beat until batter is smooth and glossy, about 2 minutes.

Using a pastry bag fitted with a ½-inch round tip, pipe about 20 1-½-inch rounds of batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, spacing about 1 inch apart. Bake until puffed and cooked through, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack; let cool completely.

To make the salted-caramel cream: Put the sugar and 2/3 cup water in a heavy, medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Continue to cook, without stirring, until the syrup comes to a boil, washing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Let boil, swirling the pan occasionally, until the mixture turns a medium amber color. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly until warm.

In a stand mixer, whisk together the butter and cream cheese. When mixture is well combined, add the cream. Continue to beat until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Add the caramel, and mix until well combined. If you are not using immediately, transfer to an airtight container. When ready to use, beat mixture with a whisk until thick enough to hold a ribbon on the surface before using; add more cream should the mixture become too thick.

To assemble: Place the salted-caramel cream into a piping bag fitted with a ½-inch round piping tip. Cut the profiteroles in half and pipe the salted-caramel cream onto the bottom layer of the profiterole, and then place the top layer of the profiterole on the top. Arrange the filled profiteroles onto a platter, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve.

Tested and perfected in the Sur la Table kitchen

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