Back in January I declared that this year I'd master religieuses, the adorable and delectable French pastries. Religieuses are cream puffs made of choux pastry, filled with chiboust or diplomat cream in various flavors, and iced with poured fondant. I first tasted one about seven years ago when Jack took me to Paris for a long weekend (yes, he is just that wonderful!) and I've been a bit obsessed with them ever since.
I've broken the process into baby steps, starting with gougeres (the choux pastry) and now working on the filling. It seemed logical to make some cream puffs, as an intermediate step in the process.
For the choux I used the same gougeres recipe, minus the gruyere and with a reduced amount of salt. For the topping I dipped the filled puffs into warm ganache (8 ounces chopped bittersweet chocolate and 3/4 cups of heavy cream), as I have not yet tackled making fondant.
The filling was my main goal for this exercise, and I used a chiboust recipe from Aran, of the beautiful Cannelle et Vanille (if you haven't checked out Aran's blog yet, you're missing some real eye candy. Only three months old, it's absolutely full of mouthwatering photos and recipes). I was interested in Aran's chiboust recipe because it doesn't call for gelatin, like so many others do.
The cream puffs were a hit and I sent half a dozen with my daughter to school on Monday and quite enjoyed imagining the reaction when she shared them around her lunch table. I still need to work on the filling, though. The chiboust was lovely, but perhaps too light for what I want to do, running out of the cream puffs in delicious rivlets when we tried to eat them. I have a feeling I'm going to have to use gelatin, but I'll definitely be keeping Aran's recipe for other uses. I also need to stop being lazy and smooth out the choux before baking it, so that I get nice round puffs instead of bumpy puffs!