After making some delish Hazelnut Vanilla Pastry Cream, I found myself going to the fridge to SPOON this stuff directly into my stomach. (Hey, I'm not ashamed ;)) But given I wanted to find a way to share it with others, I decided to go back to my choux roots and make a CHOCOLATE choux pastry. I don't think I've ever had a chocolate cream puff or chocolate base but I thought.. why the heck not, right?
This was a bit scary to bake since you can't tell how brown they get but I stuck to the bake times generally and it was accurate. When you get close to them being finished, you can open the oven and check on them. Take out one puff and cut it open. However, don't get curious too soon or else if you take them out before they're stable, you'll get flat sad little puffs. :(
The great thing about choux pastry is the ability to make whatever shape you want as you're piping. I decided on a mix of eclairs and puffs for this batch. In the end I would use this pastry type for puffs since they end up getting softer after being stored for a day. But this is up to you! Eclairs can be just a beautiful and delicious.
Chocolate Hazelnut Puffs & Eclairs
Makes about 1 dozen puffs depending on how large you pipe them
Choux Pastry Dough
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 cup bread flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- One batch of Hazelnut Vanilla Pastry Cream
- 100g dark chocolate 60%, chopped
- 100ml heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Prepare a pastry bag with a round tip.
2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk to combine then set aside.
3. In a medium sauce pan, add milk, water and butter and melt together until mixture is just below simmering over a medium heat. Whisk constantly so you don't burn any milk on the bottom of the ban. You'll see steam coming off the top and foamy bubbles appear on the edges.
4. Remove the pan from the heat then add the flour mixture all together at once and then return back to the medium heat. Begin to stir quickly with wooden spoon until the dough pulls away from the sides, about 3-4 minutes.
5. Place dough into a stand mixer bowl fitted with the whisk attachment. Spread the dough up the sides of the bowl to help cool it. Let it cool for 1-2 minutes.
6. One by one, add in the eggs with the mixer on a medium speed. Don't add the next egg until the previous one has been incorporated. After all 3 eggs, remove the bowl and add in the cocoa powder. Stir in with a wooden spoon.
7. Fill the pastry bag with the chocolate dough and pipe on the prepared baking sheet. Space them no less than 1 1/2 inches apart since they will puff up.
8. Place into the preheated oven and bake for 15-18 minutes until they've completely puffed up. Reduce oven temp to 375 degrees F and continue to bake another 10-15 minutes until the shells are firm.
9. Remove from the oven and pierce with a skewer to allow steam to escape. I run the skewer from end to end near the bottom of the puffs. Place them back into the oven turned off with the door propped open. Allow shells to cool completely before filling.
10. Take your filling and also fill a pastry bag fitted with a Wilton 230 tip. Poke into the puff near the top of them since this will be covered up by ganache later. Careful not to overfill your puffs.
11. Make your ganache by chopping your chocolate evenly and place into a glass bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan until simmering. Pour over chocolate and let it sit for 3 minutes. Stir together till smooth with a spatula.
12. Take each of your filled puffs and dip the tops in the chocolate ganache. You may need to twist them a bit and carefully lift from the chocolate to have a uniform top. Sprinkle each puff with crushed hazelnuts.
13. Set aside on a cooling rack then pack together in an airtight container. Enjoy them within a few hours of making them or the shells will get soggy.