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Author Notes: A simplified version of the famous French dessert served by pastry chef Ghaya Olivera, over at Daniel Boulud's flagship restaurant in New York. Don't be intimidated: make the four parts (pâte à choux, strawberry compote, sablé Breton, crème fraiche chantilly) separately, then assemble carefully. —Ghaya Oliveira
Pâte à Choux and Strawberry Compote
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
- Pinch of salt and sugar
- 2 drops red food coloring, optional
- 3/4 cup plus 1/2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- 1 pound fresh strawberries, washed, trimmed, quartered
- 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. In a large saucepan, combine the milk with the water, butter, salt, sugar and food coloring (if using); bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Add the flour all at once and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until the flour is thoroughly incorporated. Reduce the heat to low, return the saucepan to the burner and cook the dough, stirring constantly, until it pulls away from the side of the pan, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, until the dough cools slightly, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring briskly between additions to thoroughly incorporate each egg.
- Transfer the batter to a piping bag fitted with a medium round tip, and pipe 3 tablespoon’s worth mounds of dough onto the baking sheets, 3 inches apart.
- Bake the choux for 15 minutes, without opening the door, then prop the door open with a wooden spoon and keep cooking another 15-20 minutes to release the excess steam. Remove from the oven when the choux are puffed and browned. Let cool completely.
- For the compote, combine the ingredients in a medium saucepan and simmer gently for 20 minutes over very low heat, stirring occasionally. Once thickened, remove and cool completely.
- Transfer to a piping bag fitting with a round tip; set aside.
For the Sablé Breton and Crème Fraiche Chantilly
- 4 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/8 cups flour
- 3 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 Tahitian vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
- 1 hard-boiled egg yolk
- 3/4 cup butter
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup crème fraiche (or substitute sour cream)
- 1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
- In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the powdered sugar, salt, flour, cornstarch and vanilla seeds. Pass the yolk through a coarse sieve.
- In an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the butter until creamy. While the machine is mixing on medium speed, gradually add in dry ingredients. Add the yolk, mix just until incorporated.
- Scrape the dough from the bowl and with your hands, pat it into a 1-inch thick rectangle. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 325°F. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thickness and cut discs slightly larger than the diameter of the baked choux. With the tines of a fork, poke a few holes in the discs then transfer to a cookie sheet tray and bake about 25 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely.
- For the cream, whip in electric stand mixer—or by hand in a metal bowl set over ice—until stiff peaks. Transfer to a piping bag fitted and keep cold.
- Finally, the assembly. Gather 1/2 lb of the fresh strawberries, washed and trimmed, sliced or quartered, depending on desired design. Ppunch a hole in the bottom of each choux with the tip of the bag containing the strawberry compote and fill the choux. Set on top of a disc of Sablé Breton. Pipe the Chantilly over the top of the choux in desired decoration and add the pieces of fresh strawberry. Serve or keep chilled in refrigerator for a couple hours maximum.
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