George’s Pastry Cream
Recipe by Chef George Hirsch | from KNOW YOUR FIRE Cookbook, 1997 by George Hirsch
Makes 2 pints
Pastry cream or crême patisserie is all flour-based custard used as a filling for cream puffs and eclairs. After it’s cooked, place a sheet of plastic wrap on the surface or sprinkle with granulated sugar to prevent a “skin” from forming and refrigerate immediately.
1 1/2 pints milk
2 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
Combine milk, butter and vanilla in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
In a separate bowl combine the eggs, egg yolks, sugar, flour and orange zest and whisk until smooth.
Whisk about a cup of hot milk mixture into the egg mixture to warm it and the pour it all back into the saucepan, whisking constantly. Continue to cook mixture, whisking continuously, until the cream coats a spoon, which it will do at about 190F. (If you cook it to boiling, 212F, the pastry cream will be watery and lumpy.)
Pour the cream into a bowl and place it in a larger bowl of ice water to cool it as quickly as possible. Pastry cream can be refrigerated for 2 days.
How To Fill Cream Puffs:
Wait until the puffs are cool and cut off the top third with a sharp knife. Fill the hollow bottom with a savory such as chicken or crab meat salad or sweet such as pastry cream or ice cream Replace the top and serve. If the filling is a sweet one, dust the cream puffs with confectioners’ sugar or pour chocolate sauce over the top.
When choosing chocolate, look for a shiny finish, which is a sign that the chocolate was heated at the right temperature for the right amount of time. Also, look for a crispy snap when chocolate is broken into pieces. Choose a good chocolate source for sauce like Lindt, Callebaut, or Scharffen Berger. In a pinch, chocolate chips will do. This very decadent sauce is ideal served with fresh strawberries. Note: this chocolate sauce recipe is not ideal for coating dipped strawberries. That’s another post.
The Best Chocolate Sauce Recipe
by Chef George Hirsch
Makes about two cups
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 Tablespoons pure cane granulated sugar
3/4 cup cream
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Optional: 1 Tablespoon Brandy or Grand Marnier Place chopped chocolate in a bowl and set aside.
Place cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a small pot. Heat to a boil stirring constantly. As soon as it reaches a boil pour directly over chocolate and stir until all chocolate has melted. Add vanilla and brandy.
Use immediately or cool, cover and refrigerate for up to two weeks. To reheat, heat the amount you need over a double boiler and stir until just melted.