Thursday, May 13, 2010

boston creme puffs

There are a million reasons why I love my husband and these last two years we have been married. But last Sunday I was reminded how thankful I am for Ben's love of Boston Creme Puffs, because they are a truly delectable dessert. It wasn't until Ben and I moved to Boston and were exploring the North End for the first time that he told me his favorite dessert was a Boston Creme Puff. I've had creme puffs before; no big deal. But I must agree that the Boston variety is incredible.

So to celebrate our 2nd anniversary, I made Boston Creme Puffs. I would like to thank my mom for the pastry cream recipe, which is incredible. For the creme puffs, I used the wonderful and standard Better Homes and Gardens recipe, which is classic and perfect. And for the chocolate ganache, I used dark chocolate with a little bit of cream.

Pastry Creme
6 egg yolks

1/2 cup sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup flour
2 cups milk or half-and-half or cream, heated
A little additional milk, if needed

Flavoring: 1 T. vanilla, or 1/2 T vanilla and 2 T. rum or kirsch
1 T. unsalted butter, optional

Whisk the yolks in the saucepan, gradually beating in the sugar and salt; continue whisking 2 to 3 minutes, until the mixture is thick and lemon colored (you can use electric beaters). Sift on the flour and whisk it in. Then, by dribbles at first, blend in the hot milk or cream.

Whisk rather slowly over moderate heat. As the custard comes to a boil, it will start to lump - beat vigorously to smooth it. Then change from whisk to wooden spoon, and stir over moderately low heat, reaching all over the bottom of the pan, for 2 minutes , to cook the flour. You will have a thick sauce that holds its shape softly in a spoon - if it seems too thick, set again over heat, whisking in droplets more of milk. Remove from heat and blend in the flavoring and the optional butter (I didn't use).

Stir up frequently until cool, then pour into a clean bowl, press a sheet of plastic wrap into the surface to keep a skin from forming, and refrigerate. May be refrigerated for 2-3 days. Whisk up the chilled pastry cream and taste carefully - you may want to correct the flavoring, or you may wish to lighten it by fold in a little whipped cream. 1/3-1/2 cup heavy cream (whipped) should be enough to whip for a moderate lightening.