contact us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right.

         

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

fullsizeoutput_3592.jpeg

Blog

Filtering by Category: french

Cream Puffs

Patricia Reitz

Cream puffs are the perfect crowd-pleasing treat because absolutely everybody loves them. The pastry shells can be baked and frozen up to a month ahead of time, and the filling can be made and refrigerated a day or two ahead. When you’re ready to serve them, just whip up a batch of whipped cream, fold it into the pastry cream, and spoon or pipe it into the empty pastry shells. Finish with a quick sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar and get ready to be the hit of the party.

DSC_2595.JPG

We'll start by making the pastry which is technically called pate a choux (sounds like pot-ah-shoo).

In a 4-quart nonstick saucepan, heat water, milk, butter, salt, and sugar until it boils.

DSC_2597.JPG

While you're waiting for the mixture to boil, have the flour and eggs ready to go.

DSC_2598.JPG

Okay, the milk mixture is just starting to boil - time to add the flour.

Add all the flour at once...

DSC_2628.JPG

And stir vigorously until all the liquid is absorbed.

how to make cream puffs from scratch. cream puff recipe.

When all the liquid is absorbed, continue stirring constantly...

homemade pate a choux. homemade cream puff recipe.

Until a smooth paste forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan.  We're not quite there yet, but almost.

Just a few more moments and we're done.  Remove the pan from the heat and transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer.

how to make homemade cream puffs.

Add the eggs, mixing one at a time, until no traces of raw egg remains. If you don’t have a stand mixer, you can stir the eggs in by hand - it’ll take some time, but you can do it.

Transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (like this one).  I like to use disposable bags (like these).  Using a star tip helps the pastry dough expand evenly in the oven.

I piped long skinny shapes for eclairs as well as round mounds for cream puffs, but didn’t get photos of the cream puff mounds - oops. You’ll figure it out though.

DSC_2858.JPG

When the mounds are done baking, allow them to cool slightly, turn each puff upside down, poke a hole in the bottom with a paring knife or skewer, and allow excess steam to escape. Allow them to cool completely before cutting the pastry shells in half and proceeding with the recipe.

Note: if you plan to freeze the puffs for use later, flash freeze the cooled, uncut pastry shells for about an hour, then transfer to an airtight freezer-safe container for up to a month. Thaw overnight, in the refrigerator, inside the airtight container.

cream puff recipe

To assemble, cut the pastry shell puffs in half with a serrated knife and fill with a mixture made of 50% pastry cream and 50% sweetened whipped cream. You can spoon the mixture in, or you can use a pastry bag fitted with a pasty tip as shown.

how to make cream puffs from scratch. pastry puffs, pate a choux filled with creme patisserie, how to make cream puffs. cream puff recipe.

Once filled, sprinkle with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar and serve immediately. Enjoy!

Items I used to make this recipe:


Cream Puffs

makes about 20

Ingredients

Pastry Shells:

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon table salt

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 5 large eggs

  • confectioner's sugar for dusting

Filling (equal parts of each):

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450F and place rack in center position.

  2. In a 4-quart nonstick saucepan, heat the milk, water, butter, salt, and sugar until it boils.

  3. Immediately add the flour and stir vigorously until all the liquid is absorbed by the flour and a paste forms; continue stirring constantly until the paste dries out and forms a ball that cleans the sides of the pan.

  4. Transfer the paste to the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor and allow it to cool for a couple of minutes. 

  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated.

  6. Transfer paste to a large disposable pastry bag that has been fitted with a large star tip (I used Ateco #826).

  7. Pipe the paste into 3-inch round by 1-inch tall mounds on a silpat lined sheet pan; dust with confectioner's sugar.

  8. Bake in 450F oven for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes more.  

  9. Remove from oven and allow to rest until they're cool enough to handle, then poke a couple of vent holes in the bottom and allow to cool completely.

  10. When completely cool, fill with a mixture of 1 part pastry cream and 1 part sweetened whipped cream.

Chocolate Raspberry Tarts

Patricia Reitz

One of my favorite ways to feature fresh, juicy raspberries is to use them to top decadent individually-sized chocolate tarts.  Such an impressive presentation, but so very easy to pull off.  Let me show you how easy they are to make.

DSC_3139.JPG

First, start with a batch of pate sucree (sweet dough) that's been chilling for about 30 minutes.  Press the pate sucree into mini tart pans (these are the ones I have).  I love individually sized desserts, and these are small enough to enjoy all by yourself, but they're not too small to share with someone special.

Now it's time to "bake them blind", which may sound really weird to someone not familiar with the technique, but basically it's partially baking the pie crust.  We do this by lining the tart crust with crumpled parchment paper (crumpling helps it easily fit the contours of the tart), then fill it with a variety of things that will 1) conduct heat, which will allow the crust to bake, and 2) keep the walls of the tart from slumping during the baking process.  

You can purchase metal or ceramic pie weights made specifically for the purpose of blind baking, but there are several substitutions you can use - dried beans, uncooked rice, or even granulated sugar.  Dried beans that have been used for this purpose can no longer be cooked for consumption, but they can be reused again and again so I let them cool completely, then store them in a jar in the pantry for next time.  Rice and sugar will toast slightly, but can be used for other recipes - they'll get slightly toasted in the oven, which imparts a lovely flavor.

DSC_3144.JPG

See how the crumpled parchment is able to hug the contours of the tart?  Much easier than trying to do the same thing with a piece of flat parchment, believe me!

DSC_3148.JPG

Fill with beans (or rice, sugar, pie weights, etc).  Chill well while the oven preheats.  Chilling the pate sucree before baking helps to keep it from shrinking during the baking process.

DSC_3151 (2).JPG

After 10-15 minutes, the sides of the tart will be set and you can remove the parchment and its contents.  You can see how the sides have lost their shine, but the bottom of the tarts need more time in the oven so return them for another 10 minutes or so.

DSC_3156.JPG

You'll know they're done when they look dry and are firm to the touch.  Set aside to cool while you make the ganache filling.  

DSC_4203.JPG

To make the ganache, heat cream until just before it begins to boil.

Pour over your chopped chocolate and let it sit, undisturbed, for a few minutes.  Then whisk together until smooth.

DSC_3162.JPG

Pour the ganache into the baked tart shells.

DSC_3163.JPG

Chill for at least 15 minutes before adding the raspberries so they don't sink into the chocolate. 

When you're ready to serve, sprinkle the berries with a little confectioner's sugar and remove the sides of the tart pan.

DSC_3189.JPG

Place the tart on something elevated, yet small enough for the sides of the tart pan to fit over.  Here I'm using an egg cup.  Using gentle pressure, push the sides of the pan down.  

Enjoy!

Items used to make this recipe:


Individual Chocolate Raspberry Tarts

makes 6 mini tarts (or one 9-inch tart)

Ingredients

Pate Sucree Crust:

Filling:

Garnish:

  • 3 pints fresh raspberries

  • confectioners sugar

  • mint sprigs

Directions

To Make Pate Sucree:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a BeaterBlade or flat paddle attachment, combine the ingredients until fully combined and no traces of dry ingredients remain.

  2. Wrap will with plastic and chill for 30-60 minutes.

  3. Divide dough equally between 6 individual tart pans with removable bottoms and press evenly across bottom and up sides; chill for at least 15 minutes (or up to several days if wrapped well with plastic).

  4. Preheat oven to 325F and line chilled tart shells with parchment paper filled with beans, rice, sugar, or pie weights.

  5. Place filled tart shells on silpat-lined sheet pan and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the sides of the tarts are set; remove parchment and return empty shells to oven to continue baking for another 10 minutes or until the bottom crust is set.

  6. Allow tart shells to cool until while you make the filling.

To Make the Filling:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl; set aside.

  2. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, heat cream and butter until just before it reaches the boiling point (small bubbles will form around the edges).

  3. Remove cream/butter mixture from the heat and pour over chocolate.

  4. Let the chocolate and cream steep together for 2-3 minutes.

  5. Add the espresso powder and pure vanilla extract; whisk gently until smooth and shiny.

  6. Divide filling between tart shells, leaving 1/4-inch space at the top of each shell; chill for at least 15 minutes before adding berries.

To Serve:

  1. Top with fresh raspberries and sprinkle with confectioners sugar.

  2. Carefully remove sides of tart pan as shown above, and garnish with fresh mint.

Sous Vide Filet Mignon

Patricia Reitz

Sous Vide (pronounced SOO-VEED) is a French technique for cooking food under water using one of these circulators, at a very precise temperature, without fear of overcooking, resulting in foods that are cooked perfectly every single time - something which can be very difficult to achieve with traditional cooking methods, especially when cooking expensive steaks like the ones I'll be showing you today.  We're talking the kind of perfection you find at a fancy French restaurant (which happens to be where the sous vide technique was perfected), only way cheaper and you can do it yourself any time you feel like it.  Here's how. 

how to sous vide filet mignon. How to sous vide steak. How to cook filet mignon sous vide. sous vide steak recipe. sous vide beef tenderloin recipe. how to cook a filet mignon at home. restaurant quality steaks at home. how to cook steak like a restaurant. how to cook restaurant steaks at home. how to sous vide steak like a restaurant. how to sous vide Filet De Boeuf. how to sous vide fillet mignon. how to sous vide beef tenderloin. how to sous vide pismo. how to sous vide tournado steaks. how to sous vide tournados. how to sous vide medallion steaks.

Start with 12-inch thick filet mignon steaks, a couple cloves of sliced garlic, and some butter.  

Note:  I purchased a 4-pound whole beef tenderloin at Costco, which was enough to feed my husband and me for 3 meals (plus a little snacking between meals), and it cost less than what we would have spent going out for dinner at a nice steakhouse just once.  And I didn't have to worry about over cooking them at all - I knew they were going to be perfect!  

Back to the steaks, tie them around the equator with kitchen twine to help the super tender meat keep a nice shape.  Be careful when doing this - the meat is so tender that you can actually damage it if you pull the twine too tight.

DSC_2226.JPG

Sprinkle liberally with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

how to sous vide filet mignon. How to sous vide steak. How to cook filet mignon sous vide. sous vide steak recipe. sous vide beef tenderloin recipe. how to cook a filet mignon at home. restaurant quality steaks at home. how to cook steak like a restaurant. how to cook restaurant steaks at home. how to sous vide steak like a restaurant. how to sous vide Filet De Boeuf. how to sous vide fillet mignon. how to sous vide beef tenderloin. how to sous vide pismo. how to sous vide tournado steaks. how to sous vide tournados. how to sous vide medallion steaks.

Place the prepared filet mignon steaks in a sealable bag with sliced garlic and a pat of butter (amounts listed in the recipe below).  Seal the bag, removing as much air as possible.

Sous Vide literally translated mean 'under vacuum', and a lot of things cooked via this method are placed in vacuum sealed bags, but the term can be a little misleading because you don't actually have to vacuum seal foods in order to cook sous vide.  Any food-safe bag that can be sealed, and can withstand the desired temperature water you plan to submerge it in, can be used so long as you remove as much air as possible.  Removing the air is important for two reasons.  1) so the bag will stay submerged (air would make it float), and 2) to reduce the oxygen in the bag which prohibits oxidation and the growth of many kinds of bacteria. 

Place the container of choice on a heat-proof surface.  I used a stockpot, but you can use just about any vessel that will tolerate the temperature water you'll be using.  Place the sous vide circulator in a vessel - it should be large enough to hold the circulator and enough water to fully submerge the sealed bag with room for the water to move around.  There's a minimum and maximum level indicator on the side of the circulator so fill the vessel with enough water to fall between those two levels. 

DSC_2246 (3).JPG

Set the cooking time and temperature you choose.  My model is set manually, but you can also get models that can be programmed using an app on your smartphone.

I cooked my filet mignon steaks at 138F (medium-rare) for 2 hours, but I could have held them at that temperature for up to 8 hours without worrying about them overcooking.  That left me with plenty of time to set the table, arrange the flowers, and make the sides.  No stress!

A word of caution - the cooking vessel will be filled with very hot water for an extended period of time so be sure to place it on a heat-proof surface and in a safe location away from pets or children.


Beef Doneness Chart

  • 125-130F (52-55C) = Rare

  • 130-140F (55-60C) = Medium Rare

  • 140-150F (60-65C) = Medium

  • 150-155F (65-69C) = Medium Well

 

DSC_2234.JPG

Place the sealed bag in the vessel.

DSC_2247.JPG

You may not need to do this, clipping the bag to the side of the cooking vessel will keep the bag from blocking the circulator's water flow.

So what do you do if you need one medium-rare steak and one medium-well steak?  Simple - place each steak in its own sealed bag.  Cook the first steak at the higher temperature for 2 hours, then reprogram the circulator to the lower temp.  When the water reaches the lower temperature, add the 2nd steak.  After 2 hours, remove both steaks at the same time.  The first steak won't be negatively affected by hanging out in the lower temperature water while the second steak was cooking.  Love that!

DSC_2250.JPG

Ok, remove the bag from the hot water when the cooking time is up.  You can see the steaks don't really look like they're ready to eat, but we're going to fix that.

CastIronSkillet.jpg

Heat a skillet until it's screaming hot.  I like to use cast iron for this.  Add a drizzle of oil and a good pat of butter.

DSC_2251.JPG

Remove the steaks from the bag.  Pat them dry and remove any bits of garlic.  Reserve the garlic slices and any juices that have collected in the bag.  Add the steaks to the screaming hot skillet and let them sear on each side for 30-60 seconds per side.

how to sous vide filet mignon. How to sous vide steak. How to cook filet mignon sous vide. sous vide steak recipe. sous vide beef tenderloin recipe. how to cook a filet mignon at home. restaurant quality steaks at home. how to cook steak like a restaurant. how to cook restaurant steaks at home. how to sous vide steak like a restaurant. how to sous vide Filet De Boeuf. how to sous vide fillet mignon. how to sous vide beef tenderloin. how to sous vide pismo. how to sous vide tournado steaks. how to sous vide tournados. how to sous vide medallion steaks.

Oh my - I wish you could smell my house right now!

DSC_2257.JPG

Once the steaks have seared, place them on a plate to rest.  You can make a quick pan sauce by adding the reserved garlic and juices from the sous vide bag to the hot skillet.  Stir and scrape up any seared bits from the pan and let the mixture bubble away and reduce for a minute or two, then turn off the heat and swirl in a pat butter.  

how to sous vide filet mignon. How to sous vide steak. How to cook filet mignon sous vide. sous vide steak recipe. sous vide beef tenderloin recipe. how to cook a filet mignon at home. restaurant quality steaks at home. how to cook steak like a restaurant. how to cook restaurant steaks at home. how to sous vide steak like a restaurant. how to sous vide Filet De Boeuf. how to sous vide fillet mignon. how to sous vide beef tenderloin. how to sous vide pismo. how to sous vide tournado steaks. how to sous vide tournados. how to sous vide medallion steaks.

Seriously, just look at that, will you?  It's not gray around the edges and raw in the center.  It's cooked to absolute perfection - the entire thing - from one side to the other - perfect.  You'd never ever be able to achieve that in a skillet or on the grill.  Heck, I've worked with professional chefs who can't cook a steak that well. 

And the flavor?  Forghettaboutit - absolutely perfect in every single way you can imagine.  Super tender, juicy, buttery, garlicky, and absolutely luscious... in a word, phenomenal.  

DSC_2289 (3).JPG

I kind of wish I could share this with you, but that would mean less for me so let's just say I hope you'll get a sous vide circulator and give it a try.  I promise, you won't be disappointed. 

And be sure to check back because I'll be posting a lot of sous vide recipes in the future -savory and sweet things.  I can't wait!  

Items used to make this recipe:


Sous Vide Filet MIgnon

makes 4 filet mignon steaks

Ingredients

  • 4 (8-ounce) filet mignon steaks, tied

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Prepare filets by tying each around the equator with kitchen twine, being careful to not wrap it too tightly which could rip through the tender meat.

  2. Evenly sprinkle the kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper on both sides of the filets.

  3. Place filets, 1 tablespoon of butter, and sliced garlic in a sous vide or heavy duty zipper bag, being sure to remove as much air as possible before sealing.

  4. Place sous vide circulator in a vessel and fill with water according to manufacturer's directions; set temperature and cooking time (I set mine for 138F for 2 hours - use temperature guide decide how you'd like your filets cooked).

  5. Place sealed bag in water, being sure bag is fully submerged and clip bag to side of container to keep it from blocking the circulator pump.

  6. When the sous vide time is done, remove sealed bag from water.

  7. Preheat cast iron skillet over high heat until very hot.

  8. Add remaining 2 tablespoons unsalted butter to the skillet and sear filets for 30-60 seconds on each side; remove to a platter.

  9. Immediately pour the juices from the sous vide bag into the hot skillet and whisk for about 1 minute; add the remaining butter and whisk until melted, then pour over steaks and enjoy!

Cherry Clafoutis

Patricia Reitz

I spotted some lovely dark sweet cherries at the farmer's market and immediately thought about rushing home to make cool, creamy clafoutis - a classic French custard dotted with ripe fruit.  Cherries are traditionally used, but you can use other fruits, like this blueberry version I posted a few years back.  

Happy summer!    

how to make cherry clafoutis, cherry clafouti, recipe with how-to photos - ButterYum

Start by removing the pits from 2 cups of cherries (or maybe a little more if you really like cherries).  These cherries were particularly delicious so I definitely wanted to add a few extra to each serving.

LOVE my cherry pitter.  I only use it once or twice a year, but it's one of those kitchen tools that turns an arduous task into a fun one.   

how to make cherry clafoutis, cherry clafouti, recipe with how-to photos - ButterYum

Next, butter mini tart pans and place them on a half sheet pan just in case there are any spills to catch.  Don't forget to butter those dishes or you'll have to chisel custard-cement out of your dishes.  Been there.

These are actually individual creme brulee dishes that measure 4.5-inches in diameter.  I love them for individual desserts, but I actually don't like to use them for creme brulee (find out why here).  If you don't have individual dishes, just make this recipe family-style using a 9-inch quiche pan, casserole, or pie plate.  

how to make cherry clafoutis, cherry clafouti, recipe with how-to photos - ButterYum

Back to the recipe, divide the pitted cherries evenly among the dishes.

how to make cherry clafoutis, cherry clafouti, recipe with how-to photos - ButterYum

Make the custard by combining the remaining ingredients in a blender until smooth.  So easy! 

how to make cherry clafoutis, cherry clafouti, recipe with how-to photos - ButterYum

Pour the custard evenly over the cherries.  See all those air bubbles?  They won't affect the flavor of the custard, but I don't like the way they look so I have a trick to share with you...

Break out your kitchen torch!  I love any excuse to pull out the kitchen torch.  So much fun!!!

how to make cherry clafoutis, cherry clafouti, recipe with how-to photos - ButterYum

Time to bake.  The clafoutis will puff up in the oven, but it will shrink down again as it cools.  I didn't have any spillover, but the sheet pan is there just in case.... and it makes removing 6 molten-hot dishes of custard from the oven much easier.  Just saying. 

how to make cherry clafoutis, cherry clafouti, recipe with how-to photos - ButterYum

Mmmm... I wish you could smell the intoxicating aroma wafting through my kitchen right now.   I want!!... but first I have to wait for these babies to cool.  Ugh... Torture!

Traditionally, clafoutis is served at room temperature or chilled.  It's hard for me to wait for one to chill completely before enjoying, but I must confess that I do prefer them cold out of the fridge, especially for breakfast.  

Dust with a little confectioner's sugar before serving if you like, but I don't find it necessary.  Hope you'll give this one a try.  Enjoy!  

Items used to make this recipe:


CHERRY CLAFOUTIS

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh sweet cherries, washed, pitted, and stems removed

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup whole milk (or half and half)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • pinch of fine salt

  • optional: confectioner's sugar for dusting

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Butter six 4.5-inch round creme brulee dishes; place on a rimmed sheet pan.

  3. Divide cherries evenly among dishes.

  4. Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor until completely combined.

  5. Pour batter evenly over the cherries.

  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the custard begins to turn golden brown around the edges.

  7. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

  8. Garnish of whipped cream, creme fraiche, and/or a dusting of confectioner's sugar. Makes 6 servings.

Eclairs

Patricia Reitz

I can honestly say, eclairs rank very high on my list of favorite desserts.  When I was young, I'd buy them from a bakery, but I now I know how to bake them from scratch at home.  Let me walk you through the process.   

We'll start by making the pastry which is technically called pate a choux (sounds like pot-ah-shoo).

In a 4-quart nonstick saucepan, heat water, milk, butter, salt, and sugar until it boils.

While you're waiting for the mixture to boil, have the flour and eggs ready to go.

Okay, the milk mixture is just starting to boil - time to add the flour.

Add all the flour at once...

And stir vigorously until all the liquid is absorbed.

When all the liquid is absorbed, continue stirring constantly...

how to make pate a choux, choux paste, eclairs - lots of how-to photos.

Until a smooth paste forms and pulls away from the sides of the pan.  We're not quite there yet, but almost.

how to make pate a choux, choux paste, eclairs - with lots of how-to photos.

Just a few more moments and we're done.  Remove the pan from the heat.

step-by-step photos and recipe for how to make pate a choux, choux paste, eclairs

Transfer the paste to the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor.

how to make eclairs from scratch. how to make pate a choux from scratch. how to make choux paste from scratch. RECIPE AND HOW-TO PHOTOS

Add the eggs, mixing one at a time, until no traces of raw egg remains.

Transfer the mixture to a large pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (like this one).  I like to use disposable bags (like these).  Using a star tip helps the pastry dough expand evenly in the oven.

how to make eclairs from scratch. how to make pate a choux from scratch. how to make choux paste from scratch. RECIPE AND HOW-TO PHOTOS

Pipe the eclairs on a silpat lined sheet pan.

how to make eclairs from scratch. how to make pate a choux from scratch. how to make choux paste from scratch. RECIPE AND HOW-TO PHOTOS

Sprinkle with confectioner's sugar and bake.

how to make eclairs from scratch. how to make pate a choux from scratch. how to make choux paste from scratch. RECIPE AND HOW-TO PHOTOS

They'll puff up during baking, which creates a hollow space in the center.  

how to make eclairs from scratch. how to make pate a choux from scratch. how to make choux paste from scratch. RECIPE AND HOW-TO PHOTOS

That hollow space is just begging to be filled with creamy vanilla pastry cream (recipe here).

how to make eclairs from scratch. how to make pate a choux from scratch. how to make choux paste from scratch. RECIPE AND HOW-TO PHOTOS

But before we can fill the pastry shells, we need to turn them upside down and poke a few holes in the bottoms.  I used a chopstick to poke the holes.  The holes will allow excess steam to escape as the shells cool, and they'll be where we pipe the pastry cream filling inside.

how to make eclairs from scratch. how to make pate a choux from scratch. how to make choux paste from scratch. RECIPE AND HOW-TO PHOTOS

Place the pastry cream in a large pastry bag fitted with a bismark tip.  Squeeze the filling into room temperature shells - fill them up completely.

Use an offset spatula to scrape away any excess pastry cream.

To make the ganache, heat cream and chocolate together, whisking to combine.  Dip the tops of each eclair into the ganache and allow to set. 

Serve them as is, or place them in paper wrappers.  Just grab a standard cupcake wrapper and flatten it out a bit.

Like this.

Eclairs recipe and how-to photos - ButterYum

Then place the eclairs on the wrapper and serve. 

Items used to make this recipe:


Eclairs

makes about 20 eclairs (3 to 4 inches long)

Ingredients

Pastry Shells:

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 cup whole milk

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 teaspoon table salt

  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

  • 1 cup all purpose flour

  • 5 large eggs

  • confectioner's sugar for dusting

Filling:

Ganache Topping:

  • 8 ounces dark chocolate (really good quality)

  • 8 ounces heavy cream

Directions

TO MAKE THE PASTRY SHELLS:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F and place rack in center position.

  2. In a 4-quart nonstick saucepan, heat the milk, water, butter, salt, and sugar until it boils.

  3. Immediately add the flour and stir vigorously until all the liquid is absorbed by the flour and a paste forms; continue stirring constantly until the paste dries out and forms a ball that cleans the sides of the pan.

  4. Transfer the paste to the bowl of a stand mixer or food processor and allow it to cool for a couple of minutes.

  5. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is fully incorporated.

  6. Transfer paste to a large disposable pastry bag that has been fitted with a large star tip (I used Ateco #826).

  7. Pipe the paste into 3 or 4-inch lengths on a silpat lined sheet pan; dust with confectioner's sugar.

  8. Bake in 450F oven for 5 minutes, then reduce heat to 350F and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes more.

  9. Remove from oven and allow to rest until they're cool enough to handle, then poke a couple of vent holes in the bottom and allow to cool completely.

  10. When completely cool, use a pastry bag fitted with a bismarck tip to fill pastry shells with vanilla pastry cream through the vent holes (my recipe can be found here); scrape away any excess pastry cream from the vent holes.

TO MAKE THE GANACHE TOPPING:

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl.

  2. In a small heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until it just begins to boil.

  3. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and rest for several minutes; whisk to combine fully and use immediately.

TO ASSEMBLE:

  1. Dip the top of each pastry cream filled shell in the ganache; turn right side up and place on a flattened out cupcake liner or on a serving platter.

adapted from pastry chef Bruno Albouze

Pastry Cream (Creme Patissiere)

Patricia Reitz

Vanilla Pastry Cream (Creme Patissiere) - ButterYum

Vanilla Pastry Cream (Creme Patissiere) - ButterYum

Vanilla Pastry Cream (aka creme patissiere, creme patisserie, or creme pat) is silky and delicious - no wonder it's a component of countless desserts. Fruit tarts (like this one), eclairs (I have a great step-by-step tutorial here), cream puffs, Portuguese custard tarts, trifle, profiteroles, mille-feuilles, Boston cream pie, and so many more.   

I've made a lot of pastry cream over the years and this recipe is definitely the easiest.  All the ingredients are placed in a saucepan and cooked together until they thicken.  Strain, chill, and use!  Here's how I make it.   

To begin, place sugar, cornstarch, and a pinch of salt in a heavy-bottomed 2-quart saucepan.

Whisk them together to break up any cornstarch clumps. 

Add milk.  I like to use whole milk.

Whisk to mix.

Add egg yolks.  Just check out the color of those yolks - it really pays to buy free-range eggs from a local farm.

Whisk to mix.

Add butter.  No need to soften, just throw it in cold. 

Next scrape the seeds from half of a vanilla bean pod.  Cut the pod lengthwise and scrape the seeds out.

how do you make pastry cream, crem pat, creme pat, creme patissiere, creme patisserie - recipe with how to photos

Add them to the saucepan.  Now it's time to start heating our mixture.

You can substitute pure vanilla extract if you don't have vanilla bean pods, but wait until the pastry cream is finished cooking before you add it (or it may taste bitter).

The easiest recipe for making pastry cream, creme patissiere, creme patisserie, crem pat - recipe and photos

Whisk constantly over medium-high heat until the mixture reaches the boiling point.

Continue to boil, whisking constantly, for a full minute.  

Mmm - see how the mixture has thickened?  Now turn off the heat. 

how to make pastry cream, creme patissiere, creme patisserie, crem pat - recipe and how to photos

Immediately pass the pastry cream through a sieve.  Actually, you don't have to do this step, but it'll remove any lumps.  

See?  There were some bits of cooked egg and some vanilla bean strands, but not anymore! 

How to make pastry cream - with photos - ButterYum

The last step is to cover the pastry cream with plastic wrap, directly on the surface of the cream, and chill completely before using. 

how to make vanilla sugar - ButterYum

Oh, and don't throw that vanilla bean pod away.  See all those old vanilla bean pods in the jar?  I've been saving them for years to make vanilla sugar.

How to make homemade vanilla sugar - ButterYum

Every time I use a pod, I put it in the jar...

Yes, you can make your own vanilla sugar at home - ButterYum

And whenever the level of sugar in the jar gets low, I top it off with more.  The sugar will absorb the flavor of the vanilla.  I use it for baking and sweetening beverages.

how to make vanilla sugar at home - with photos

Give it a try!

Here are links to some of the items used to make this recipe:

Vanilla Pastry Cream (Creme Patissiere or Creme Patisserie)

makes 2 cups

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • pinch table salt
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean pod (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

Directions

  1. In a 2-quart heavy bottom saucepan over medium-high heat, cook all ingredients (except vanilla extract, if using), stirring constantly, until it begins to boil; continue whisking for a full minute.
  2. Remove from heat and strain through a sieve.
  3. Cover pastry cream with a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface; chill completely before using. 

adapted from Martha Stewart

Notes:

  • When using vanilla extract instead of vanilla beans, stir in to thickened pastry cream AFTER it is removed from the heat.
  • To make vanilla sugar, place used vanilla bean pod in jar and cover with sugar.  Use for baking or sweetening beverages. 

Easiest Chocolate Frosting Ever!

Patricia Reitz

This is easiest and best tasting chocolate frosting you'll ever have.  Plan ahead - must be made at least 8 hours ahead.

Chop chocolate into small pieces.

Heat heavy cream in a heavy-bottom saucepan until just before it reaches the boiling point.

Place chocolate into a heat-safe bowl and pour the hot cream on top. Steep, undisturbed, for 2 minutes.

After 2 minutes, stir or whisk the chocolate and cream together until all the chocolate is melted.

Add the vanilla extract and stir again to combine.

The mixture should be smooth and glossy.

Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel and set aside for at least 8 hours (can be up to 72 hours). DO NOT cover the bowl with plastic wrap as condensation will form and drip into the mixture, causing the chocolate to seize (turn grainy and lumpy).

After 8 hours have passed, the chocolate and cream will have set up to the perfect consistency for frosting. Can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days, chill or freeze leftovers.

Items used to make this recipe:


Easy Chocolate Frosting

makes about 3 1/2 cups 

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 14 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (high quality)

  • 16 ounces heavy cream

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a heat-safe bowl; set aside.

  2. In a medium heavy-bottom saucepan, heat cream until just before it reaches the boiling point (small bubbles will form around the edges).

  3. Remove cream from heat and pour over chocolate.

  4. Let the chocolate and cream steep together for 2 minutes, then whisk gently until the two become combine and become shiny, dark, and glossy.

  5. Add pure vanilla extract and stir to combine.

  6. Cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel (not plastic wrap); set aside in a cool spot for several hours before using.

Mini Blueberry Clafoutis

Patricia Reitz

Clafoutis (kla-foo-TEE) is defined as a rustic French dessert made by baking fruit, usually cherries, in a custard-like batter.  I didn't have any cherries in the house, but I had beautiful blueberries that came out of my CSA Box.  Blueberries happen to be my favorite berry to bake with and I didn't have enough for a pie so I decided to make mini blueberry clafoutis. They were absolutely delicious.   

Here they are, ready to go in the oven.

Clafoutis will puff up in the oven, but don't be alarmed when it falls while cooling - that's exactly what it's supposed to do.  Enjoy!  

Items used to make this recipe:


Mini Blueberry Clafoutis

makes 6 servings

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh bluberries, washed and stems removed

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1 cup whole milk (or half and half)

  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar

  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

  • pinch of fine salt

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.

  2. Butter six 4.5-inch round creme brulee dishes; place on a rimmed sheet pan.

  3. Divide blueberries evenly among dishes.

  4. Combine the remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor until completely combined.

  5. Pour batter evenly over the blueberries.

  6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the custard begins to turn golden brown around the edges.

  7. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

  8. Garnish of whipped cream, creme fraiche, and/or a sprinkling of powdered sugar. Makes 6 servings.

Red Velvet Chocolate Ganache Cake

Patricia Reitz

I was going through some old photos and came across this cake that I never got around to posting.  You can tell by the bright yellow flower that I made it during the warmer months, but I thought someone out there might be interested in making it this Christmas season so here's the recipe.

Red Velvet Chocolate Ganache Cake

makes one double layer 8 or 9-inch cake

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 347g granulated sugar (12 1/4 ounces)

  • 200g unsalted butter, softened (7 ounces, or 14 tablespoons)

  • 312g all-purpose flour (11 ounces)

  • 5g baking powder (1 teaspoon)

  • 5g salt (1 1/2 teaspoons)

  • 7g Dutch-processed cocoa, sifted (3 1/2 teaspoons)

  • 210g buttermilk (7 1/2 ounces)

  • 125g egg yolks (4 1/2 ounces)

  • 10g pure vanilla extract (2 teaspoons)

  • 60g red liquid food coloring (2 ounces or 4 tablespoons)

  • 5g white distilled vinegar (1 teaspoon)

  • 30g canola oil (2 tablespoons)

For the ganache:

  • 800g heavy cream (3 1/4 cups)

  • 800g bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (1 3/4 pounds)

  • pinch of salt

Directions

To make the ganache (do this at least 4-5 hours before assembling the cake):

  1. Place the chopped chocolate in a large glass or stainless steel bowl; set aside.

  2. In a medium heavy-bottomed sauce pan over med-high heat, heat the cream and salt until it the mixture starts to bubble around the edges of the pan.

  3. Immediately pour over the chopped chocolate and whisk or stir gently to incorporate the two ingredients together (avoid using a wooden spoon which can trap moisture and cause the chocolate to seize). I like to pass the mixture through a fine sieve to be sure no lumps remain, but you don't have to be that particular. If you plan to assemble the cake tomorrow, drape a clean kitchen towel (not plastic wrap or foil) over the bowl and allow it to sit undisturbed on the counter until needed (it will thicken to the perfect spreading consistency overnight). If you plan to assemble the cake on the same day, transfer the ganache to a shallow sheet pan which will speed up the cooling process, stirring every so often to aid crystallization.

To make the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and prepare two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans with flour/oil baking spray and line bottom of pans with parchment; wrap pans with insulated cake strips (not necessary, but will eliminate domed layers).

  2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sifted cocoa powder; whisk to combine and set aside.

  3. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, egg yolks, vanilla, food coloring, vinegar, and canola oil; set aside.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or Beater Blade, cream butter and sugar together until the color turns from yellow to cream.

  5. Turn the mixer off and add 1/3 of the flour mixture; mix on low until combined.

  6. Turn the mixer off and add 1/2 of the buttermilk mixture; mix on low until combined.

  7. Repeat by adding 1/3 of the flour mixture, the remaining 1/2 buttermilk mixture, and finally the remaining 1/3 flour mixture.

  8. Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes.

  9. Evenly distribute among the 2 prepared cake pans.

  10. Place in the center preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cake surface springs back when pressed and a toothpick poked in the center of the cake comes out clean (a few crumbs are okay).

  11. Remove from oven when done and cool for 5-10 minutes before unmolding onto a rack to cool completely.

  12. Fill and frost with prepared ganache. Serve chilled or at room temperature - we like it chilled.

For even cake layers:

  • Wrap your cake pans with damp insulated baking strips - no more domed cakes!!

To make the swirl design:

  • Place the cake on a turntable. While turning the cake, use the tip of a large offset spatula and start in the center, then pull towards the outside of the cake.

Classic Creme Brulee

Patricia Reitz

In our family we have a tradition of celebrating birthdays with a special meal - the guest of honor picks all their favorite foods, including dessert.  Now that our oldest is engaged, I thought it was appropriate to include our future daughter in law in this tradition.  When asked, she didn't hesitate listing the items she wanted for her special dinner.  Pork Tenderloin Medallions with Black Cherry and Raspberry Reduction, dinner rolls, and her childhood favorite green bean casserole.  Oh, and for dessert - Creme Brulee.  I love Creme Brulee so I was happy she asked for it.  Yes, it's rich and super high in calories, but it's so delicious I don't mind splurging every now and then.

Note:  If you're like me and prefer your creme brulee to be comprised of a crunchy caramelized top layer sitting on top of a COLD creamy custard, be sure to use deep ramekins (shallow ramekins allow the custard to warm too much during the torching process).  

Mmmmmmmmmmm... please excuse me while I devour every luscious bite. 

Items used to make this recipe:


Classic Creme Brulee

makes six 8-ounce servings

Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 cups heavy cream

  • 1 vanilla bean, split (*or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 6 egg yolks

  • Turbinado Sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F.

  2. In a medium sauce pan, heat the cream and vanilla bean* until the mix simmers.

  3. Remove pan from heat and let sit for 10 minutes.

  4. In a bowl whisk together the sugar and yolks until they are a pale yellow.

  5. Whisk cream into the egg mixture and pour into 6 custard dishes. *If using vanilla extract, whisk it into the egg and sugar mixture (don't heat it with the cream).

  6. Place 8-ounce ramekins or custard dishes in a large baking dish lined with a towel.

  7. Pour boiling water into baking dish so the level of water reaches half way up the ramekins.

  8. Bake for 30 minutes or until custard is firm but still wiggles.

  9. Chill for at least one hour.

  10. Top with an even layer of Turbinado sugar and use a kitchen torch to caramelize the sugar. Alternately, you can caramelize the sugar under a broiler, being careful to not allow the cold custard to warm too much.

Note:  

  • Pure vanilla extract may be used instead of splitting a vanilla bean, but the vanilla bean gives a much better flavor.