Croquembouche


 

photo 4Last week was Mother’s day and as such, it called for a fabulous dessert. But what to do??? Having seen eclairs, profiteroles at every corner of cooking magazines and facebook profiles, I could not help but making my own the night prior to Mother’s Day. So at 10 o’clock in the evening, this is what I was doing in my kitchen.

photo 3

Ingredients for 16-20 small cream puffs or croquembouches:

  • 80 ml  or 2 oz of milk
  • 80 ml or about 2 oz of water
  • 70 gr, or about 5 1/2 tbsp of butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 10 gr. or 2 tsp of sugar
  • 100 gr. or about 1/2 cup and 2 tbsp. of flour
  • 2 eggs

Creme Patissiere, or Vanilla Pastry Cream

  • 330 gr. or 11 oz. of milk
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 4 yolks
  • 70 gr. or 1/4 cup and 1 tsp of sugar
  • 12 gr.  or about 1 tbsp of flour
  • 12 gr, or about 1 tbsp of corn starch

Caramel:

  • 1 cup of granulated sugar
  • patience 
  1. In a saucepan, heat up the milk, water, salt, and sugar.
  2. Add the butter cut up in pieces.
  3. When the butter has completely melted, bring the mixture to boil.photo 1
  4. Remove the pan from the stove and add the flour by stirring very well.photo 4
  5. Place the pan back on the stove ( it must be turned off, but will still be warm), and stir and stir with a heat-resistant spatula until the dough starts becoming a ball and will no longer stick to the rims of the pan.
  6. Remove the pan from the stove, empty the dough into a cold bowl and add the eggs to the dough one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
  7. photo 2
  8. Place the dough in a pastry bag, with the large circular tips make large rounds of about  1 1/2 inches wide  on a large silpat that you would have previously lay on a large perforated sheet.photo 3
  9. Place the perforated sheet in a warm oven of 350 and cook the cream puffs for 20 minutes. The dough should be brown and dry on all sides. If the dough is a little bit soft, continue cooking the puffs for 1-3 more minutes. Take them out to cool. photo 5Set them aside to prepare the pastry cream or creme patissiere.
  10. In large bowl, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until the mixture becomes whitish.
  11. Add the flour and the corn starch to the eggs and mix.
  12. Open the vanilla bean, scrape the seeds out of the bean and put them into the milk.
  13. Warm up the milk over the stove, or in the microwave for 2 minutes.
  14. Pour the hot milk into the egg mixture and stir. Place the milk/ egg mixture back onto the stove and cook until the mixture is bubbling and is becoming really thick. Remove the pastry cream from the stove, and place it into a bowl. Set aside.
  15. Pour the pastry cream in a round mold..
  16. Cover the pastry cream with some plastic wrap and place it into the fridge to cool.
  17. When the cream is completely cool, make a small indentation to fill the cream puffs with the pastry cream and lay them upside down for easier access when you are going to fill them up.
  18. Fill the pastry bag with the vanilla cream and fill each cream puffs.photo 1
  19. Place the puffs back onto the silpat, and prepare the caramel.
  20. Empty the cup of sugar into  a medium-sized saucepan and place the saucepan onto the stove at a medium high temperature. DO NOT STIR!!!
  21. Only start stirring once the sugar is turning an amber color on the outside rim of the saucepan. Stir until all the sugar has turned that amber color. Reduce the heat to low, and leave the  pan on it so that the caramel will not harden.
  22. Dip the head of each cream puff into the caramel and place them back onto the silpat until the caramel has hardened, and has cooled.photo 2

Eat when they are cool. I dare you to only eat one, or two. They are so good, you will want to eat them all at once!!!photo 5Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!

Vanilla Panna Cotta


photo 2

Tomorrow will be my birthday. Ouch… another year, another wrinkle;-( and to make matter worse I will be returning back to work on Monday. I really love teaching, but getting up so early to be at school at 7:15 is hard!!! and I am not looking forward to it. I am sure that I am not the only one.

Because my birthday fell on Monday and my husband is on Friday, we had a few friends over for hors d’oeuvres on Saturday. Not a big fuss, just a few friends we had not seen over the summer and the chance to catch up. Of course, we needed to have food… because a party at the Wagner’s is never without food so I prepared a few things.

photo 4

On the menu we had:

  • Beef tenderloin
  • Marinated Shrimps
  • Quiches
  • Lasagna cupcakes
  • Wonton purse,
  • Texas caviar
  • Tomato Caprese
  • Deviled Eggs
  • and for dessert, mini chocolate darlings, and vanilla Panna cotta.

photo 4

I love to entertain and have friends over, but because it was so so nice on Saturday and I wanted to enjoy my pool for a while, I decided to do easy things for dinner. And it was the same with my desserts, i did not want to spend an hour making desserts so I decided to make mini chocolate darlings that cooked in 12 minutes and vanilla panna cotta ( less than 5 minutes).

Today I will share the recipe of Vanilla Panna Cotta. It is so so easy to make, it costs nothing and, and it is decadent;-)

Basically, the perfect dessert;-)

photo 3

photo 4Ingredients for 12 size cupcakes or about 20 shot glasses:

  • 2 1/2 cup of heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • 1 envelope of gelatin from Knox
  • 1 tbsp of water
  1. Empty the content of the envelope into a small bowl. Add 1 tbsp of water and stir. Set it aside to let the gelatin thickens.photo 5
  2. Pour the cream and the milk into a small saucepan and set it aside.
  3. Meanwhile place the vanilla bean onto a cutting board,  photo 1
  4. and with a sharp knife, open the side of the bean as shown.photo 2
  5. With the knife, or the spoon scrape the inside of the bean to get the seeds.photo 3
  6. Empty the seed into the cream. Throw the opened bean as well.photo 4
  7. Cook the cream until it comes to boil.
  8. Add the gelatin, turn the heat down and cook for another 5 minutes until the gelatin has completely dissolved.
  9. Sieve the mixture into a very fine sieve to remove some of the vanilla bean residue.photo 1
  10. Pour the mixture into a recipient of your choice. Sometimes I use my fancy flexipan, but today I used small shot glasses for a fun display.photo 2
  11. Place the panna cotta in the fridge for at least 6 hours. You may also place them into the freezer so that they will congeal much faster.
  12. Decorate as you wish. I chose the place a fresh raspberry but you could add a fresh fruit coulis instead or chocolate ….
  13. Enjoy!!! And it is okay to have more than one;-)))
  14. photo 3

If you decide to use a flexipan, freeze the panna cotta and unmold it as it is forzen, it will be much easier to remove from the flexipan;-)

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!