Tuesday, September 17, 2013

America's Test Kitchen Cream Puffs


 Harvey House Chocolate Puffs

    Harvey House Chocolate Puffs

Fred Harvey started the first chain of “fast food” restaurants in the United States along the rail lines of the Southwest. The original recipe (from The Harvey House Cookbook) was baked in a shallow muffin tin and had no chocolate flavor. A blob of strawberry jam and a dollop of whipped cream were sandwiched in the middle of this otherwise dull, dry pastry. To start, we wanted a pâte à choux pastry shell with solid chocolate flavor, which we achieved by adding cocoa powder to the dough. To fortify the flavor and texture of the filling, we made a quick strawberry jam and then married it with fresh whipped cream. Finally, we topped the puffs with a glaze to reinforce the chocolate flavor.

Serves 8
An accurate oven temperature is essential for puffs to puff. We recommend that you keep an oven thermometer in your oven (we like the Cooper-Atkins model). To prevent lumps in the whipped cream filling, be sure to sift the confectioners’ sugar. The assembled puffs will hold in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour.
INGREDIENTSChocolate Puffs
  • 2large eggs plus 1 large egg white
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2cup water
  • 5tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 2teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 1/4teaspoon salt
  • 1/2cup (2 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 3tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
Strawberry Filling
Chocolate Glaze
  • 1cup (4 ounces) confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 3tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 2tablespoons water
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1. FOR THE CHOCOLATE PUFFS: Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk eggs, egg white, and vanilla together in bowl. Bring water, butter, sugar, and salt to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When butter is melted, remove pan from heat. Using rubber spatula, stir in flour until smooth. Return saucepan to low heat and cook, constantly stirring and smearing mixture against bottom of saucepan, until mixture is slightly shiny and registers 170 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes.
  • 2. Transfer flour mixture to food processor and process until slightly cool, about 30 seconds. Remove feed tube insert from food processor. With food processor running, slowly add egg mixture through feed tube until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl and process until smooth, thick paste forms, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle cocoa over paste and process until combined, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.
  • 3. Cut ½ inch from corner of large zipper-lock bag. Transfer cocoa paste to bag and pipe eight 2-inch-wide and 1¼-inch-high mounds 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Dip small spoon in water and smooth exterior of mounds.
  • 4. Bake puffs for 15 minutes (do not open oven door) and then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until firm, 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and turn off oven. Using tip of paring knife, carefully cut ½-inch slit into side of each puff. Return puffs to oven, prop door open with wooden spoon, and let puffs dry for 30 minutes. Transfer puffs to wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes. (Puffs can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day or frozen in single layer in airtight container for up to 1 month.)
  • 5. FOR THE STRAWBERRY FILLING: Meanwhile, cook strawberries in medium saucepan over medium-low heat, mashing occasionally with potato masher, until thickened and reduced to ½ cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.
  • 6. Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Add cream cheese and whip until stiff peaks form, about 30 seconds. Gently fold chilled strawberries into whipped cream, return mixture to large bowl, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Filling can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.)
  • 7. FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE: Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Using serrated knife, cut puffs crosswise into 2 pieces, ½ inch from bottom. Top puff bottoms with strawberry whipped cream and replace tops; transfer to rack. Combine sugar and cocoa in bowl. Whisk in water and vanilla until smooth. Spoon 1 tablespoon glaze over each puff and let sit for 15 minutes until set. Serve.


Choux paste relies on steam in order to puff. But the steam that lifts the puffs can also make them soggy and flat. To help your puffs avoid that fate, follow these two steps.
  • 1. CUT ’EM
    Cut a 1/2-inch slit into each puff to allow the steam to escape.
  • 2. DRY ’EM
    Dry the puffs for 30 minutes in a partially open, turned-off oven.

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