Monday, December 13, 2010

Martha Monday--pastry puffs

In the December issue of Everyday Food, there's a step-by-step tutorial for making pastry puffs along with several ideas for embellishment (chocolate-glazed raspberry cream puffs, for example).  With only five ingredients and several pictures of the puff-making process, I decided to tackle this recipe and make the puff and eclair versions.   

While the recipe warned that it would make a lot of puffs, I really didn't comprehend just how many.  I had puffs up to my ears!  The recipe also urged me to tap down the stiff peaks of the dough on the small puffs, but I was in a hurry and ignored this advice.  Shame on me.  Instead of having nice round puffs, my small puffs resembled Hershey's kisses.  Which is fine, but just not the look I was going for. 

The recipe did not warn me that baking pastry puffs stinks.  Literally.  My kitchen was filled with that "cooking eggs" smell.  Now, if you like eggs, then this won't bother you in the least.  But if you only eat eggs once or twice a year and believe that their main reason for being is to contribute to cakes, cookies, muffins, etc.  then this might bother you a bit.  Guess which category I belong to? 

To put a TMI twist on Everyday Food's pastry puffs, I filled them with peppermint buttercream.  To do this, just poke holes in the eclairs first, then squeeze in the frosting (or whatever filling you prefer) into the puff with a regular frosting bag fitted with a small tip.  I used size 4.

Note: the Everyday Food instructions call for making the holes on the bottom of the puff/eclair, but since I wanted the holes to be fully hidden, I made them on top.  After filling the puffs, I dipped the tops in melted Wilton candy melts. 

Then I rolled the tops in crushed candy canes.  To crush the candy canes, place them in a sturdy ziploc bag and hand them to your brother.  He'll take them to the basement, crush them with a hammer, and bring them up to you in the kitchen for use.  Isn't that easy? 

Here's my finished product:

The pastry puffs turned out great and the peppermint flavor really worked well with such a delicate shell.  I like the step-by-step tutorial in the magazine--the pictures and corresponding instructions were a huge help.  If I can learn to ignore the egg smell while they're cooking, then this might become a solid recipe for my dessert repertoire.  Maybe.

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