Sometimes I get so in to making cakes that I forget that other kinds of desserts exist. Or if I happen to remember I scare myself away because I am so much more comfortable making layer cakes–and that comfort has come by enough experience to know when a recipe is going south or when I am experiencing beginners luck.
Its scary to go out into the wider world of pastry, away from my safety bubble of cake!
But it is recipes like this one, Pierre Herme’s Gourmandaise Constellation, that remind me why I should venture outside my bubble more often. Because it is delicious. And fun. And did I mention delicious?
Who knew so many flavors could come in this small a package?!
Besides the whole never-made-this-before-and-was-using-a-Korean-recipe and failing epically the first time trying to make the choux pastry because I didn’t know that I was supposed to stop adding eggs when the consistency was right (even though the recipe only said to add four eggs, one at a time T_T) I was able to turn out some adorable little pastries!
Speaking of mistakes though, I was using the Pierre Herme et Moi cookbook, the Korean version, which is AMAZING but it is also completely illustrated in cartoons. So I struggled a bit with things like how I should cut the strawberries to allow them to look decorative and still fit into the tiny hole in the choux pastry…because my first guess at what was happening with the strawberry colored triangles in the diagram was off >_< But never fear, I kept trying and adjusting things according to what I assumed I would like better–and it helped that the basic batch of choux pastry resulted in two full baking pans of little choux pastry, perfect for making mistakes and then hastily eating them without anyone being the wiser.
I also must admit, since it seems I’m confessing all today, that I was incredibly skeptical about the addition of orange marmalade into the center of these little pastries. I am not a huge fan of the flavor or the color orange, and I thought it would clash with the cardamom in the pastry cream and the fresh strawberries. I thought that between the choux pastry, the creamy and tangy pastry cream, the cardamom and the strawberries, one more flavor–particularly a flavor not near the top of my list–would be an intrusion and needlessly complicate things.
I was wrong.
I don’t know if I got a better brand of orange marmalade than I have previously experienced or what, but that little smear of orange sweetness on the inside of my pastry was beautiful.
If that isn’t stunningly gorgeous I honestly don’t know what is.
recipe from the Pierre Herme et Moi Cookbook
***Recipe is from the Korean edition of the cookbook, all translations are my own.
Choux Pastry Ingredients:
*The cookbook says it makes 8 large pate a choux, but I think they are lying to me because I made like 24
100g whole milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
90g butter, room temperature
*Almond pieces and/or sugar crystals for decorating
1. Preheat the oven to 425F and line two trays with parchment paper.
2. In a small saucepan, combine the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter and mix over medium heat until the butter is melted.
3. Take the saucepan off the heat and quickly whisk in the flour. Put it back on medium heat and stir continuously for another minute or two, removing moisture. The texture is going to end up like dry mashed potatoes (or so the cookbook says :P).
4. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS NECT PART BY HAND. Do yourself a favor and put the flour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer. (I tried it by hand the first time and not only did it not turn out right I thought my arm would fall off).
5. One at a time, beat the eggs into the batter–beating until the egg is completely combined into the batter before adding another egg. YOU DO NOT NEED TO ADD ALL THE EGGS! Stop when your batter is smooth and softer but still able to be piped!
6. Transfer the dough to your piping bag and pipe circles by placing your piping bag at a 90 degree angle to the pan and applying continuous pressure until it has spread out to 5 cm. Don’t lift up while you are doing this or you will create a needlessly tall pastry! You want it to look a little squatty, kind of like an unbaked macaron shell. If you want to sprinkle on almond pieces or sugar crystals, now would be the time to do it.
7. Bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees and then lower the oven temperature to 375F WITHOUT OPENING THE OVEN DOOR and bake for another 25 minutes. Sorry for all the yelling, but that was important 😉
8. When the cook time is done turn off the oven and open the oven door, leaving the pastries inside for about 5 more minutes.
9. Remove the trays from the oven and cool completely before handling the pate a choux.
Pastry Cream Ingredients:
**This recipe is from the cookbook, but I altered a few things because I didn’t think it needed to be as firm or chill as long as the recipe it said. I’m probably committing a grave sin but oh well >_<
1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon water
8 green cardamom pods, crushed
250g heavy cream
3 egg yolks
250g mascarpone cheese
1. Place the gelatin in a small bowl and combine with the water. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan combine the cardamom and the heavy cream, and bring to a simmer. Once it has reached a simmer, turn off the heat and cover the saucepan with plastic wrap. Let this sit for 20-30 minutes before proceeding.
3. In a bowl, whisk the sugar and egg yolks until it lightens considerably in color, then whisk in half of the cream mixture. Return the egg yolk mixture to the pan with the remaining cream, and stir over medium heat until it reaches 180F on a candy thermometer.
4. Strain the egg cream and whisk in the gelatin. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. This portion can be made in advance, and is fine to let sit overnight.
5. When the egg cream has cooled completely put the mascarpone in a bowl and whisk until smooth. Add in the egg cream and whisk until thoroughly combined. Place into a pastry bag fitted with a star tip to pipe into the pate a choux.
***Putting it together**
100g orange marmalade
250g strawberries (I didn’t actually measure this…I just got a carton and used as many as I needed)
Cut a quarter sized circle off the top of several pate a choux, then cut a 1cm thick ring off the new top of the pastry–saving the first circle and discarding (or eating) the ring.
Pipe pastry cream into the bottom of each choux and then top that with a spoonful of orange marmalade. Pipe a small amount more pastry cream and then add sliced strawberries pointing up and out of the pastry.
Pipe a swirl of pastry cream inside the ring of strawberries and then place the saved circle of pastry on the top.