In the early days of Devil’s Food Kitchen (like, five months ago) I shared one of the great foundation recipes in the land of pastry – pate a choux. Now it’s time to revisit the choux with a recipe straight from my kitchen at the Langham Hotel. This past week I was in Kohler, WI as a chef presenter during their Food and Wine festival. I had a lovely demo audience and shared with them my recipe for a little petit four I like to call tiramichoux….’cause it’s a combination of tiramisu and pate a choux (I know, genius). It’s super simple to make; a choux cream puff filled with mocha ganache and mascarpone mousse. I promised everyone in the audience (that managed to maintain consciousness after listening to me for an hour) that my very next post on DFK would be the recipes on how to make tiramichoux at home or in your own pro kitchen!
I’m including my recipe and method for pate a choux in the recipe card for this post, but in an effort to make all of my blog posts more efficient as we encounter the same components in different posts, I’m simply going to create a link to pate a choux directly below in the main method section. By all means let me know if you like/don’t like this plan. I work for you!
This time around, we’re going to add a crunchy crust (known in some circles as croustillant say: “crusty-ahnt”) to our choux before baking. The croustillant will do a couple things. First and most obviously it’s going to add a layer of flavor and texture to the choux. Just as importantly the crust helps contain and control the expansion of the choux while it bakes. This helps to improve the overall shape and rise of the cream puffs. Win/win!
This week we’re also looking at sablee Breton for the first time (say: “sah-blay breh-ton”). This is a dry, cookie-like dough that is pretty damn close to the actual cookie: shortbread. Even the name is related, Breton refers to the Brittany region of France, and Brittany shortbread is a popular version of the cookie. I like to use this dough because it has a light, crisp but sturdy base to balance the cream puff’s texture and make it easy and clean to pick up, move and eat.
There’s a lot you can do to adjust the final texture of the mousse (in this case, mascarpone mousse). Sometimes I want my mousse to be relatively thin and fluid, like when I need to cast it into a mold, while other times I need the mousse to be pretty stiff so I can use it like I would a whipped cream on a finished dessert or to spread over cake, etc. The colder you allow the base to get before adding your whipped cream, the stiffer the end result. Same goes for the whipped cream itself – the stiffer you whip it before adding to your base, the stiffer the mousse will be. For this recipe you want the mousse to be pretty stiff so you can either use it right away to fill your puffs or so that it will set quickly with good volume if you plan to keep the mousse for later.
mocha mascarpone cream puffs (tiramichoux)
pate a choux croustillant
90g all-purpose flour
70g butter unsalted
Combine all of the ingredients and mix in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until a dough forms.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and rest it in the cooler for a minimum of 1hour and up to overnight.
Roll the dough to 1/8”/3mm thick and cut rounds out using a 1 1/2″/40mm ring cutter. At this point you can freeze the rounds if you plan to use them later.
If you want to bake now, place the raw rounds onto the piped choux.
coffee sablee breton
200g pastry flour
120g powdered sugar
6g baking powder
140g butter unsalted
40g whole egg
2g ground coffee
Bring your butter to room temperature before getting started. Combine the butter with the whole egg and mix the two in a stand mixer with a paddle attachment until well emulsified.
Combine the dry ingredients and add them to the butter, mixing until a dough is formed. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for a minimum of 1hour up to overnight.
Roll the dough out to ¼”/6mm thickness and then lay it onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or a non-stick baking mat. Bake the dough at 350F/176C for 6-8min. At this point, you don’t want to fully cook the dough, just bake it enough to maintain some structure.
After the first 6 to 8min. of par baking, remove the dough from the oven and punch disks out with a 1 3/4″/45mm ring cutter (the ring cutter can be larger or even smaller depending on how large your baked cream puffs are.
Don’t remove the disks of dough! Keep everything just as it is and the surrounding dough will keep the disks from expanding. Place the dough back in the oven and finish baking, another 6-8min. Let the dough cool and remove the scraps to collect your disks.
pate a choux
check out the recipe and method here! I’ve put both down in the recipe card too.
160g egg yolks
12g glucose corn syrup
14g gelatin 160 bloom
Hydrate the gelatin in cold water for a minimum of 5min.
Whip the heavy cream in a stand mixer with a whip attachment until it thickens to soft peaks. Keep the cream in the refrigerator until needed.
Combine the sugar and water in a saucepot and bring it to a boil. Whisk well as the syrup is heating up to fully dissolve the sugar, but once it comes to a boil stop whisking to avoid crystallization.
While the syrup is boiling, whisk the egg yolks in a stand mixer with a whip attachment. When the sugar syrup reaches 250F/121C, remove it from the heat and pour it over the egg yolks, whisking at high speed. Continue to whip the egg yolks at high speed for 30 seconds and then reduce the mixing speed to medium high until the egg mixture cools and thickens (called a pate a bombe).
Squeeze out the excess water from the hydrated gelatin and melt it in the microwave. Add the melted gelatin to the pate a bombe, whisking well to incorporate it.
Gently heat the mascarpone (overheating, which happens easily, will cause the mascarpone to split) and fold it into the pate a bombe. I like to just add it to the stand mixing bowl and whip it quickly to incorporate.
Pull the whipped cream from the fridge and give it a little whisk by hand to stiffen it back up. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone base in two additions, starting with a whisk and then switching to a spatula to finish the job. After I’ve added and incorporated half of the whipped cream, I like to transfer the mousse back into the bowl with the second half of the whipped cream. This is a good way to make sure your mousse is well mixed, even at the bottom of the bowl.
225g chocolate 58%
130g chocolate 41%
80g glucose corn syrup
375g heavy cream
160g butter unsalted
12g coffee extract
Combine the heavy cream and glucose (or corn syrup) in a saucepot and bring it to a simmer.
Pour the hot heavy cream over both chocolate and let the mixture sit for 2-3min.
Add the butter and the coffee extract and hand blend or whisk the mixture until it’s emulsified.
Place plastic wrap over the ganache to touch to keep it from forming a skin and let it set in the fridge.
Transfer the mascarpone mousse and mocha ganache into separate disposable piping bags. If you have them, 6mm round piping tips will make filling the cream puffs easier, but if you don’t have the tips, don’t worry.
Prepare the cream puffs for filling by taking a paring knife and gently twisting it into the base of each puff to create a hole.
Fill the cream puffs with mascarpone mousse until nearly full. You should be able to see mascarpone mousse in the filling hole, but it shouldn’t ooze out on its own, which is a sign of full to capacity (and a good thing if you’re just using one filling).
Switch to the mocha ganache and briefly add some ganache to each puff. This will cause the filling to ooze out which means you’ve got enough of each filling inside.
Use leftover ganache to “glue” the cream puffs to their shortbread bases.
Top the cream puffs with cocoa powder and voila. Tiramichoux like a boss.