Thursday, April 18, 2013

Creampuffs with Strawberry Orange Pastry Cream and Galangal Dark Chocolate Ganache

I owed a friend some cream puffs in exchange for a favor. I decided to use the opportunity to experiment a little. We had purchased some strawberry oranges at the Farmers' Market. This is a variety whose technical name is Vaniglia Sanguigno. This is Italian for 'Vanilla Blood'. It is also marketed as a Vanilla Orange, or as a Mango Orange. It is an almost acidless variety, with none of the tartness one expects from an orange.

I thought the strawberry orange would make a really great pastry cream. I adapted this recipe for orange pastry cream. Since the strawberry oranges are sweeter, I needed less sugar, and because they lack the acid, I could increase the amount of juice without worrying about curdling the milk.

The pate a choux for the cream puffs is the same recipe I used here. That was not my first intention, though. I still have a lot of buttermilk, so I thought I'd try a buttermilk pate a choux. When I googled it, however, I found no recipes. None, whatsoever. With the number of food bloggers out there, every combination of food that makes any sense, and quite a few that don't, have been done. So, I was suspicious, but decided to try it, anyway.

I learned why there are no buttermilk pate a choux. As soon as I started heating up the mix of buttermilk, water, and butter, the buttermilk curdled. But, as I learned as a science student, we learn as much, or even more, from the experiments that fail as from those that succeed. So, now I know why there are no buttermilk pate a choux recipes, and the next person to google looking for one may find this blog post.

For the ganache, I used a semi-sweet chocolate with 58% chocolate liqueur. I added some galangal. Galangal is a relative of ginger, but with a more peppery taste. Since orange and ginger are such a classic combination, I thought it should work. I kept it light, however, as I did not want the galangal to overwhelm the delicate orange flavor of the pastry cream.


Strawberry Orange Pastry Cream

2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 Tbsp. strawberry orange zest
1/4 cup strawberry orange juice
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
pinch kosher salt

Sift cornstarch. Add egg yolks, whisk until light colored and smooth. Set aside.

In a saucepan over medium low heat, combine milk, sugar, vanilla, zest, salt, and juice. Bring just to a boil. Remove from heat. Slowly add 1/2 cup of hot milk mixture to the egg mixture while whisking continuously. Add mixture back to pot, return to heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon.

Strain mixture, cover directly with plastic wrap, to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool.

Chocolate Galangal Ganache

4 oz. by wt. semi-sweet chocolate
4 oz. by vol. cream
1/4 teaspoon ground dried galangal
pinch salt

In a double boiler, melt chocolate. Slowly whisk in cream. Add salt and galangal. Whisk to combine.


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