Dead Sexy Pate a Choux

The proper way to say this is "Paht ah Zsu!!" There, now don't you feel French? I'm feeling more and more "French" as I go through culinary history, food techniques and even having a little fun working on french pastries during a recent class I took at Kitchen Kapers. It's all about food with the French and expressing life and moods through what you make. You can apply any feeling to food, as long you always add love.

And speaking of love, nothing is as passionately creamy as a little St. Honore' cake. Made with a circle of puff pastry, pate a choux piped around the edge, baked, filled with vanilla pastry cream and then topped with whipped cream and optional additions of cherries and spun sugar, this is the food that your love should go to the trouble of making to win your heart. The french pastry is dead sexy
and could easily make the cover of Maxim in place of a swimsuit model for one month. Pate a Choux is the dough that bakes into a golden, airy, crispy foundation that you can make into the shape of anything you can dream of. At one point in history, pate a choux used to be called Pate a Popelin, and was used to make Popelins (French for Lady Boobies). So, even in the 1600 somethings, it was considered hella sexy. This light dough, filled with some sort of sweetened creamy filling...well, I'll let you come up with your own descriptions about this.

Whether your mind is in the cat house, or you are at Grandma's tea party,  these treats are a smash hit. For it is the taste and texture that transcends all else and makes your mind to go to it's special happy place. The world will spin into a blur and bring you to your primal culinary knees. One friend even told me that he refuses to make these or else he will be found on the couch in an infantile like state while sucking pastry cream through a straw. 

That said, wipe that silly blush off your face and get to making these delicious treats for your sweetie. Hell, make it for yourself! The reason? "Just Because." Because it is the best reason of all.

Recipe for French Pastry Cakes, Little St. Honore Cakes or Whatever the Hell These are Called:


Make the following pastry cream the night before or a few hours before you make the pate a choux as it needs to chill.

PASTRY CREAM

1 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1 vanilla bean (if using extract, add it at the end)

4 large egg yolks
1/4 c. sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp butter.


Heat milk (and vanilla bean if using bean) to a boil. At the same time, beat eggs with sugar and cornstarch until light lemon colored. Temper the eggs by adding a tiny bit of hot milk to the eggs while stirring. Add another 1/4 cup of hot milk slowly to temper the eggs (adding hot milk very slowly to the eggs keeps them from scrambling). Pour the egg and milk mixture back into the pot and continue cooking and stirring over med heat until the custard coats the back of a spoon. Pour into a bowl. Spread butter on top, cover with saran wrap directly on the surface and put it in the refrigerator to cool.

TO MAKE THE LITTLE CAKES:

Roll out puff pastry (pre-made is good because puff pastry is a beyatch to make - we'll get OCD about it later) Cut the puff pastry with a large circle cutter (about the shape/size of a hamburger). Place the circles on a silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet and poke several holes into the puff circles with a fork (this is important as it will keep it from puffing). Then put it back in the fridge while you work on the Pate a Choux dough.
 
Pate a Choux (aka "Boobie Dough")

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
7 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1-6 eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan, bring milk, water, salt and sugar to a rolling boil. Add all off the flour and stir vigorously until dough forms a smooth ball. It should pull away from the sides of the pot and form a thin film on the bottom of the pot. Put the dough in a mixer with the paddle attachment. Add eggs, 1 at a time until dough hangs slightly from the tip of a spoon and makes about a 1 in wide ribbon.

Scoop the dough into a pastry bag fitted with a large circle tip. You want to use a large pastry bag (either a #16 or #18). And pipe the dough in a circle just inside the edge of the puff pastry circles. It should look like a little swimming pool shape. Go ahead and pipe a circle twice so you have enough for the edge to puff up when baking.

Bake these for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are dark golden brown. Don't go too light or else it will not be sturdy enough to hold the cream.

When the cakes have cooled (about 10-15 minutes out of the oven), fill with prepared pastry cream and set aside.

In a medium bowl, pour in 2 cups heavy cream, 1/4 c sugar and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Using a hand held mixer, beat the cream until it turns into whipped cream. Top the little cakes with this just before serving.

If you want the whipped cream to last longer, you will need to soak a 1/2 package of gelatin in a 1/2 cupful of milk for two hours. Sprinkle the other half of the gelatin over a lightly whipped (to a froth) bowl of a pint and a half of cream. Put in 2/3 cup sugar in the cream, strain soaked gelatin milk into this and stir gently until it thickens. Pour on top of pastry cream in your cakes.

With Love,
Michelle

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2 Response to "Dead Sexy Pate a Choux"

  1. vincent says:

    Hello,


    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the Petitchef.com.

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
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    Michelle says:

    Hi Vincent,

    I just now got this comment. I will definitely check it out and add my blog to petitchef.

    Thanks again for checking out my blog. :)

    Michelle

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