Dev%27s+Kitchen%3a+Doctor+Choco+to+the+Rescue


Dev at work on her NaNoWriMo novel.

I'm too busy writing to cook. Sorry, folks, but it an all out, balls to the wall writing frenzy. November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it is so affectionately known, and Dev is cooking up a little fictional comedy. I have 30 days to write 50,000 words. Time's up on November 30. And here's the kicker: I started five days late. I've been storytelling and typing like a fiend. I'm drinking too much coffee and eating bologna sandwiches. We give so much to the Muse…

Never fear, however, Good and Gentle Reader and Culinary Aficionado. I promised you Chocolate Silk Pastries, so Chocolate Silk Pastries you shall have. My only request is this—can you please make me some? I am knee-deep in my new novel, Violet Wake, and am in dire need of a chocolate fix lest death take me into its cold, clammy arms.

Whew! That was dramatic. I think all this word-meistering is getting to me. See what I mean? I need a fix. And an old Mr. Goodbar or Nestlé Crunch is just not going to the trick. What we need here, Gentle Reader, is a fluffy, homemade, flaky pastry filled with gooey chocolate and whipped cream.

Hey, it's science. Chocolate has a documented affect on the levels of endorphins in the brain, affecting levels of serotonin thus decreasing stress. It's comfort food of the highest order. The ancient Aztecs knew it. These guys used is as an aphrodisiac. See, there's something to that gift of chocolate for Valentine's Day, boys. Humma humma.

Our puffs for this recipe are being made with some lovely Nightingale Pastry Flour produced at Star of the West Milling Company in Frankenmuth. Established in 1870, Star of the West offers the cleanest, highest quality milling in the country, making them the mill of choice for several American cereal production companies. Nightingale Flour is available at Kroger in Frankenmuth, and at several of the town’s specialty shops.

I toured the mill and was amazed at the flour-making process. While in my mind I imagined whole grain simply being poured into a huge grinder, in reality hard red winter wheat produced locally goes through several cleaning and sorting processes to separate only the best product for milling. Any grain that is sub-standard is recycled into animal feed. Star of the West Milling Company supports local farms and growers, and subsequently Michigan cereal companies contributing positively to the state's economy and agriculture.

So, let's get to the recipe. I know you can do it, even without photos.


CHOUX PASTRY SHELLS

1 cup water
½ cup salted butter (1 stick)
1 cup pastry flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
4 eggs

Place the water, salt and butter in a sauce pan and bring to a rolling boil. Add the flour all at once and immediately whip with a wire whisk until smooth. Remove from heat. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition. For more ease for this step, place the dough in a mixer and add the eggs one at a time. Beat until fluffy and eggs are thoroughly incorporated.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment. You may omit the parchment and lightly oil the cookie sheet, but the pastries will be much nicer if you use the paper. Use a small scoop to form the pastries, dropping them at least 2 inches apart on the baking pan. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 25 minutes, until lightly browned and puffy. Allow to cool.

CHOCOLATE SILK FILLING

12 ounces evaporated milk
2 egg yolks
2 cups dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli or Dove)

Whisk the egg yolks and milk together in a sauce pan and heat to very hot, but not boiling, on medium high heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and whisk in the chocolate. Allow to cool.
Assembling the pastries:

First make the whipped cream. You may use pre-whipped cream, Cool Whip, or Dream Whip. To make homemade whipped cream, chill a metal bowl in the freezer for 30 minutes. Pour one small container of whipping cream into the bowl. Add one tablespoon of powdered sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla. Whip or whisk until the cream forms peaks. Refrigerate.

Remove the tops of the pastry puffs by cutting off the top with a serrated knife. Use a teaspoon to scoop out any doughy centers in the puffs.

Place about ½ inch of chocolate velvet filling in the bottom of each pastry. Top with whipped cream and replace the cream puff cap.

The puffs can be assembled a few hours prior to serving. Cover with plastic wrap before chilling. Dust with powdered sugar just before serving. A few fresh raspberries on the side a also a nice touch. 

Enjoy!

Join Dev next week for a look at comforting homemade herbal teas to warm and soothe you in the upcoming chilly weather.

©Robin Devereaux-Nelson, 2010