CREAM PUFFS WITH STRAWBERRIES AND BASIL

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Spring has arrived and with it the sunny days, long long ones, flowering trees and… strawberries! How can we celebrate this explosion of colors and scents if not with a fresh dessert with cream puffs made with chantilly and strawberries? with a final touch of freshness based on basil and mint…
You can make your cream puffs as you prefer: in single portions, in a ring like in Paris Brest, or in a row to form a dessert made of single portions but with its own unity and aesthetics (like the one presented in this article).

Ingredients for the puffs (for 15 large puffs)

  • 120 g of 00 flour
  • 100 ml of whole milk
  • 100 ml of water
  • 10 g of granulated sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 80 g of butter
  • 4 whole eggs
  • icing sugar to garnish (plus mint and basil leaves and a whole strawberry)

Ingredients for Chantilly cream

  • 375 ml of milk
  • 3 yolk
  • 150 g of sugar
  • 45 g of flour
  • vanilla (pod or powdered extract)
  • 300 ml of whipped cream.

or the strawberry filling

  • 150g of ripe field strawberries
  • caster sugar
  • 1 basil leaf and 2 fresh mint leaves

Prepare the Chantilly cream:

In a saucepan, boil the milk with the lemon zest and half the sugar and then turn off the heat. In a tall non-stick saucepan, mix the egg with the other half of the sugar briefly, even just with a spoon or a hand whisk. At this point add the flour, I recommend sifting it, and mix well. Add the hot milk to the mixture (even all together), removing the lemon zest and mix well to obtain a homogeneous liquid mixture. Cook in a non-stick saucepan over very low heat until it reaches a boil and a good density, stirring constantly to prevent it from sticking. Put everything in the fridge to cool. When it is cold, mix it with the whipped cream with a spatula with a delicate movement from top to bottom until you obtain a light and fluffy mixture. Place in a piping bag with a smooth tip and leave in the fridge.

Preparation of the cream puffs:

Sift the flour. In a non-stick saucepan, bring the milk, water, sugar, salt and butter cut into pieces to the boil. Remove from heat.

Incorporate the flour, mixing vigorously with a spatula (ideal for the ones with the silicone tip) to make the mixture homogeneous. Put it back on the heat (low heat) and mix vigorously with the spatula until the mixture “dries”.

Transfer the dough into a bowl and add the whole eggs, one at a time, mixing vigorously with the spatula until the egg is completely absorbed into the dough before adding the next one.

When you have obtained a homogeneous mixture, place it in a pastry bag with a smooth 15-18 mm tip (large enough) and place some 5-18 m puffs on a baking tray lined with baking paper (or on the silicone mat or silpat). 7 cm in diameter placed side by side, in line.

First make a round of dough, then a second on top of the first to obtain nice tall cream puffs. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C (fan). If you like, before baking you can sprinkle them with flaked almonds or chopped almonds.

Place the puff lines in the oven and after 8-10 minutes, when they have started to swell, open the oven door slightly by 2-3 mm (place a flat ladle/wooden spatula to keep it just open) to let the steam escape. Leave to cook for about 30 minutes in the oven with the door ajar until they are well swollen and golden. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a rack.

n.b. – Cream puff pastry (or choux pastry) has the particularity of cavitating during cooking so that a void will form inside them: it seems like magic but incredibly it happens!

Strawberry filling:

Wash the strawberries and remove the stems (leave 1-2 aside for decoration).

Cut them into very small pieces and season them in a container with the sugar and the chopped basil and mint leaves. Leave to flavor in a cool place.

Assembly:

Place your row of cream puffs on a long serving plate. With a sharp knife, cut the cream puffs in half, removing the cap and keeping it aside. Fill with a generous dose of Chantilly cream using the piping bag. Make a small hole in the filling and insert a spoonful (drained) of the seasoned strawberries.

Cover with the tops of the cream puffs. Dust with icing sugar and decorate with basil leaves and whole strawberries. Let it rest in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours before serving.

Is not it beautiful? And wait until you taste it, it will amaze you with its fresh flavor and different textures!

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