Choux A La Fraise – Strawberry Puff Seduction
I am a sucker for cream puffs….really I am…and strawberries and of course pastry cream because well, it is like eating berries on a cloud of cream and a pillowy puff. Yes, I know, I am often called a hopeless romantic or a dreamer, sometimes a combination of both. As long as I can remember I was the one hording the "choux" at every wedding back home. The "Piece Montee" (Constructed Piece), also known as a Croquembouche was for a long time the traditional wedding cake in France (and still is), with the American ones being the "new kid on the block" so to speak. I would take my little plate and usually wait for everybody to forget me and come back to take chunks out of the nougatine base and decorations, some caramel and of course a few extra choux.
I don’t know why but as a child I kept other "choux" related items very separate. I was like person who does not like her/his vegetables to touch the meat which in turn should not touch the corn. Aside from the "wedding choux" having its special place in my heart, I was a complete devout to "chouquettes" and "Religieuses". Each had a purpose: a wedding, an afternoon snack, and a Sunday dessert. It was not until years later when I became old enough to handle a rolling pin and a whisk that I started making "Puffs" just for fun, and fill them just for fun, and discover many years later that this little bite of heaven is my favorite to bake and eat. There is something absolutely liberating about biting into the crusty puff and to find my lips covered in cream, as well my fingers because it started oozing out from the side. Now you tell me if this isn’t heaven? Well, all things considered because this is a food blog peeps!!
Keeping with the not so child related idea, I got giddy about Mike's Strawberry Seduction event and I knew I had to pair my love for strawberry with my love for "choux". I made rather large so I could fill them with plenty of Grand Marnier Mousseline cream (pastry cream lightened with whipped cream) and strawberries. Mr. Tartelette, also known as B. called them "Strawberry Shortcakes crack" one night and tonight they were called "Zee Strawberry Cream Puff". They reminded me of one other favorite desserts of mine, the Tarte Tropezienne, but in the end we just called them plain "good"…
Strawberry Puffs with Grand Marnier Mousseline: Serves 8
For the Choux:
85 gr all purpose flour
75 ml milk
65 gr butter
1 Tb sugar
1/8 tsp salt
Sift the flour and set aside. Heat the water, milk, butter and salt to a full rolling boil, so that the fat is not just floating on the top but is dispersed throughout the liquid. Stir the flour into the liquid with a heavy wooden spoon, adding it as fast as it can be absorbed. Avoid adding it all at once or it will form clumps. Cook, stirring constantly and breaking up the lumps if necessary, by pressing them against the side of the pan with the back of the spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a mixer bowl. Let the paste cool slightly so that the eggs will not cook when they are added. You can add and stir the eggs by hand but it requires some elbow grease. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, using the paddle attachment on low or medium speed. The dough should have the consistency of thick mayonnaise. Transfer the dough to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (I use Ateco #809). Pipe big rounds on a parchment paper lined baking sheet,sprinkle them with pearl sugar and bake at 350F for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Split the choux in half.
For the Grand Marnier Mousseline:
zest of one orange
3 egg yolks
25 gr cornstarch
115 gr butter, cut into small chunks
30ml Grand Marnier
1 tsp gelatin and 1 TB water
120ml heavy cream
1-2 cups of fresh strawberries, sliced
Sprinkle the gelatin over the water. Let stand until ready to incorporate into the pastry cream. Bring the milk to a boil with the orange zest. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks, sugar, and cornstarch until pale. Slowly pour the milk over it: add with a small amount to temper the eggs and make sure all your ingredients incorporate smoothly and them continue to add the rest of the milk. Return the whole thing over medium heat and cook until thick for about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the butter and the Grand Marnier. In a microwave, dissolve the gelatin for 15 seconds. Quickly mix into the pastry cream. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap (make it touch the cream so it does not let a skin form on top) and refrigerate until cold.
Whip the cream to stiff peaks and gently fold it in the pastry cream. Pour into a piping bag and divide among the choux. arrange some strawberry slices over the cream and put the hats back on (the picture below makes me think of the Smurfs). Serve within the hour. If you plan to serve this later, assemble it at the last minute so the choux don’t get soggy.
Since we are in the seduction theme, I would like to dedicate this post to the only Cream Puff I really love: Ivonne. I never got to thank you properly for seducing me with this wonderful cake and it is about time I did. You were on my mind the whole time I was putting these together!
Anonymous April 2, 2008 um 8:20 am
How delightful, just marvelous. I’ve been thinking about choux a lot – might be because I’m on a diet – and these are truly inspirational!
Michelle Beissel April 2, 2008 um 8:38 am
Great post–I just love this one (esp your nicks for puffs)!
I am deeply and eternally in love with choux. The love affair started decades ago, when as a kid watching my older sister take her choux out of the oven–from then on I was slavishly captivated with their rounded, luscious beauty, eggy goodness, and mysteriously beckoning interior.
I had to be able to make these wonders for myself (as my older sister did not yet grasp the meaning of sharing). And my first attempt was heartbreakingly disappointing, as I made sauce cookies (the pastry cream ran, and the puff dough flattened out like some sadly punctured pillow).
Dry those tears for I went on to make choux of all kinds, including profiteroles. May the flame of choux making continue to burn brightly in you!
Manggy April 2, 2008 um 8:39 am
Wow, Helene, that looks just dreamy! I wouldn’t have thought to pair Grand Marnier with strawberries. Beautiful.
I do think that choux is heaven to bake and heaven to eat, but it is just hell to store properly! :p
spicyicecream April 2, 2008 um 9:11 am
They look absolutely gorgeous! I have been thinking about profiteroles lately too. The ones you buy are never ever as good as the ones you make at home!
noskos April 2, 2008 um 9:21 am
Cream puffs, grand marnier, strawberries and cream, that’s like a little piece of heaven!
Babeth April 2, 2008 um 9:26 am
It’s a revolution in the Chou department! They look so yummy.
Great post miss Tartelette 🙂
Botacook April 2, 2008 um 9:50 am
Tes choux à la crème sont juste magnifiques! Il me tarde que les fraises soient de saison ici pour tester ta recette! Vivement les beaux jours 🙂 Et les photos sont superbes, comme d’habitude 😉
Mari April 2, 2008 um 10:01 am
I’d never eaten a cream puff until I came to the Europe 10 years ago, and although I found them 'nice', I wasn’t crazy about them. In hindsight, I realize that this was purely to do with the quality of the pastry and filling, rather then the concept of the dessert itself.
Lucky me, one of my French colleagues brought choquettes (i LOVE their name)into the office from Amsterdam’s newest (and only) French bakery and patiserrie (hurrah), transforming my idea of what choux could be, and sealing deal on my chouquette addiciton!
Now you’ve gone and married strawberry shortcakes (my all time favorite dessert) with cream puffs, you are a GODDESS!
Can’t wait to have a go at this recipe, I’ve already been online shopping for pearl sugar. 😉
Vanillaorchid April 2, 2008 um 11:14 am
such a pretty lovely cream puff!!
It makes my mouth-watering when think about the combination of Grand Marnier Mousseline & strawberries!!!
Cannelle Et Vanille April 2, 2008 um 11:30 am
Crack is right!!! My goodness… these look amazing. I can visualize how they must taste. I can put an entire one in my mouth, have the cream puff out of the sides and it all dissolves into sweetness. Fantastic Helen!
Ginny April 2, 2008 um 12:04 pm
Sounds like heaven to me! I love the Grand Marnier and strawberries combination! Delicious!
mimi April 2, 2008 um 12:12 pm
i love cream puffs! and yours look like little bite size morsels of yumminess! but i have never been brave enough to try to make my own choux. one day …
Anonymous April 2, 2008 um 12:19 pm
I’ve been working on making a vegan cream puff lately, but let me tell you, they’re no where near as gorgeous or delicious-looking as yours! I can only dream that they might be on the same level one day… After a whole lot more recipe tweaking.
Anonymous April 2, 2008 um 1:37 pm
Once again you leave me breathless! Pate a choux is such a treasure. I like them made as a savory as well. The coarse sugar sprinkled on top is a nice surprise. Well done!
Jade April 2, 2008 um 1:59 pm
These look absolutely delicious – I would love one right now at my desk…
Nina Timm April 2, 2008 um 2:07 pm
My dad will totally disagree with you…he is a minister and at all the church gatherings he was always served cream puffs and the cream always squirted out on his tie. Me, on the other hand love choux pastry, especially when filled with cream and strawberries.
Kristen April 2, 2008 um 2:35 pm
These look amazing! Absolutely delicious, I must try them!
La Tartine Gourmande April 2, 2008 um 2:48 pm
oh tu me donnes super envie de faire de choux maintenant. Tu vois !!! Avce des fraises en plus! Dommage que je ne sois pas la ce weekend, autrement, zou aux fourneaux.
Bake with heart April 2, 2008 um 2:56 pm
so lovely!!!! i’m fan of cream puff
this one amazing 🙂
aforkfulofspaghetti April 2, 2008 um 4:12 pm
Yep, I’m seduced!
aforkfulofspaghetti April 2, 2008 um 4:12 pm
Yep, I’m seduced!
Obsessive Foodie or Food Addict….You Decide April 2, 2008 um 4:27 pm
I love love love Grand Marnier. You even make cream puffs look elegant and of course puffy!
glamah16 April 2, 2008 um 4:36 pm
HAHAHAH. Strawberry Short Crack! I will making these or sure. This is a great twist and I love making the pate a choux.
Meeta K. Wolff April 2, 2008 um 4:47 pm
c’est bon c’est bon! looks seducingly goood!
Lori April 2, 2008 um 5:18 pm
You inspire me so much! I think I want to go from Social Worker to Pastry Chef… well not yet. But I am having fun reading your blog as I just found it about a month ago. You are SO talented! I am learning so much. Thank you.
Peabody April 2, 2008 um 5:56 pm
Much, much, much seduction! And you know what an orange/tangerine kick I have been on so this is extra yummy right now.
sher April 2, 2008 um 6:39 pm
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cream puff look better than this! I adore them, and now I know what to dream about tonight. :):)
Jessy and her dog Winnie April 2, 2008 um 7:42 pm
Beautiful pictures as always, i love anything wish fresh strawberries in it! Yum!
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) April 2, 2008 um 8:09 pm
I’m totally distracted by the pearl sugar — it’s lovely, and I’ve never used it. Will have to track some down.
Anonymous April 2, 2008 um 8:11 pm
Oh, my, between this post and Ivonee’s ravioli post, I’m hit by a wave of nostalgia. My mom loved choux, and so do I. I remember once we had cream puffs at a high-end buffet, and we were both disappointed that the cream puffs were filled with whipped cream, and not pastry crea! Agh! And one of my early baking memories is of helping my mom construct a Croquembouche.
Veron April 2, 2008 um 9:00 pm
This looks delicious. this reminds me of one of my favorite desserts – the mango cream puff. Here the strawberry adds such a lovely contrasting color.
Rachael Hutchings April 2, 2008 um 9:55 pm
I need to remember not to look at your blog when I’m hungry! I think I just drooled on the keyboard…
Gretchen Noelle April 2, 2008 um 11:23 pm
Lovely and delicious looking. I need to try my hand at these pastries, I have some friends who may really love a good puff!
test it comm April 3, 2008 um 1:36 am
Strawberry cream puffs…mmm… That pearl sugar looks really interesting.
Steph April 3, 2008 um 3:26 am
These look to die for! Just wanted to tell you I got my cookbook Sweet Melissa’s baking book, and I love it! Thanks so much for the contest!!!
Chrissy April 3, 2008 um 4:21 am
Great blog…will visit again.
Cakebrain April 3, 2008 um 4:38 am
OMG! I just love that idea of cramming sliced strawberries in there with the mousseline. Those are puffs of desire! Who can resist?
Big Boys Oven April 3, 2008 um 5:10 am
i really love the way you assemble the choux, the pilling up looks amusingly wonderful!
ChichaJo April 3, 2008 um 9:09 am
Love cream puffs too! And my wedding cake was a croquembouche…yup, all the way here in the tropics where it promptly fell apart from the heat and humidity, but we just plucked at the puffs and ate to our heart’s content! 🙂 I love these strawberry ones you’ve done here!
LyB April 3, 2008 um 11:37 am
Magnifiques! No other word comes to mind right now, except maybe Heavenly! Grand Marnier and strawberries, what a combination!
Patricia Scarpin April 3, 2008 um 2:01 pm
Who wouldn’t be suckers for these beauties, Helen? Oh, and strawberries have a very special place in my heart.
LizNoVeggieGirl April 3, 2008 um 5:44 pm
Haha, I was the same way when I was younger (and still even today!), about not wanting the contents of my meal to touch each other on the plate ;0)
Talk about the most delicious seduction ever – those cream puffs are little beauts!!
What a lovely, sweet dedication to Ivonne – she’s another one of my fellow bloggers, whom I continue to be inspired by with her baking skills (just like you!)
Thip April 3, 2008 um 7:38 pm
PheMom April 3, 2008 um 8:18 pm
So so pretty! I love these and the strawberry addition looks amazing.
Chris April 3, 2008 um 8:44 pm
I love choux for this post! I admit, I am tired, a bit cranky with the students' acting a fool, and this has brought my day to an end with a big smile…and a little drool I think! 🙂 Thanks!
eatme_delicious April 3, 2008 um 9:16 pm
I have never made cream puffs before but have wanted to for a while. These are beautiful and strawberry shortcake crack sounds really good…
jasmine April 3, 2008 um 10:58 pm
These look so darling. I really like how the strawberry slices peek out…
Susan @ SGCC April 4, 2008 um 2:20 am
Okay, I’m seduced, but where’s my choux? You tease! 😉
Maggie M. April 4, 2008 um 5:47 am
Ooo these look fantastic. Creations like this are what keep me baking 🙂
Parisbreakfasts April 4, 2008 um 11:01 am
Ooooo I stayed too long in Paris..
A new look at Tartelette!
Comme habitude the choux is delectable and I don’t even like creamy things..
Yours I would eat anyday.
Parisbreakfasts April 4, 2008 um 11:03 am
I must ammend that. I do love "chouquettes" but then there is no cream within.. Still these puffy things are a dream to paint- I must get on it VITE!
Mike of Mike's Table April 4, 2008 um 2:19 pm
I’ve wanted to try something choux for some time now, and this totally blew me away. These look fantastic (and so do the photos!).
Thanks for a great entry! 🙂
La Cuisine d'Helene April 4, 2008 um 4:23 pm
You’re so an inspiration. Beautiful work.
Laurie April 4, 2008 um 5:32 pm
So beautifully done! I have never seen pearl sugar..Is it made similar to rock candy, or is it best purchased?
Anonymous April 4, 2008 um 9:12 pm
C’est tout simplement bon..Le bonjour de France…
creampuff April 4, 2008 um 10:13 pm
Hey … I’m a cream puff … so you’re a sucker for me too, yes????
Beautiful! I want to gobble all of them up. All of them.
T-Licious Treats April 7, 2008 um 2:32 pm
MMMMMM….Cream Puffs…that is really all I can say… *drools…
Julie April 9, 2008 um 3:53 pm
As usual, I’m late with my comment, but I had to chime in. I love making choux pastry…just love it! I feel French when I do. I’m always doing savory gougeres, but I should do a dessert version sometime soon. I’m thinking I would have loved croquembouche as much as you did as a kid (i’m sure I spelled that wrong!):)
Jeff April 9, 2008 um 6:20 pm
This looks and sounds amazing!
MyKitchenInHalfCups April 13, 2008 um 11:38 pm
Terrible of me I know but that sugar is wow with the cream puffs. My Dad used to make lots of cream puffs. Wonder why I didn’t get him to do those along with the doughnuts when the boys were growing up. Strawberries are perfect with them.
Cameron April 27, 2008 um 9:44 pm
I made your Grand Marnier Mousseline for a brunch dessert today. Yum!!! I didn’t have enough other things to make your enriched choux, though, so I just did the basic recipe… can’t wait to try it, since the mousseline filling was AMAZING!! The profiteroles I made were so good I never got to photograph them… Thanks, Tartelette!
Jacqui November 4, 2009 um 11:23 am
Love your blog.
what can I substitute for Rock Sugar,
I cant find this in Singapore.
Jacqui November 4, 2009 um 11:24 am
Oops its me Jacqui again.
I mean Pearl Sugar.
Tiramisu July 31, 2012 um 4:15 pm
Thank you for this cool french recipe.I usually cook it with chocolate as "profiteroles", but im gonna try this one. thanks