Croquembouche

Join me + Tune-in George Hirsch Lifestyle CreateTV Sat Dec 29th 6AM/6PM + Sun Dec 30th 12:30PM

 Traditional Croquembouche with Spun Sugar

Traditional Croquembouche with Spun Sugar

Pâte à Choux, Cream Puff Pastry

Makes 2 to 3 dozen depending on size

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 cup of water

4 Tablespoons vegetable oil

3 Tablespoons butter

2 Tablespoons milk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

4 eggs

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Combine the water, vegetable oil, butter, milk and salt in a medium saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Add the flour all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Cook the mixture over low heat until it dries slightly and leaves the sides of the pan, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each one is fully absorbed before adding the next one.

Cover a baking sheet, preferably one without sides, with parchment paper.

Place the paste in a pastry bag with a round tip with a 1/2 inch opening. To make cream puffs, hold the pastry bag at a 45 degree angle touching a paper lined pan. Squeeze the bag. Continue forming the puffs 1 to 2 inches apart. To make eclairs, squeeze the bag as you pull it toward you, making 3 inch long fingers.

Place the choux in the oven, and after 5 minutes, lower the temperature to 375 degrees F. Depending on size, they will require 10 to 15 minutes total cooking time.

NOTE: If the oven door is opened before they’re almost finished baking, they will collapse, so don;t peek until 10 minutes have passed. To test for doneness, tap one on the bottom. It should sound hollow. Remove and cool on a rack.

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

2 eggs

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.

 Croquuembouche drizzled with Chocolate Sauce

Croquuembouche drizzled with Chocolate Sauce

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.

Quantity:
Add to Cart

Making a Yuletide Flip 

Join me + Tune-in George Hirsch Lifestyle CreateTV Sat Dec 29th 6AM/6PM + Sun Dec 30th 12:30PM

Whether you spike or not it's known as ait de poule from the French which literally means hen milk; or egg flip by the British. With low taxed rum easily available from the caribbean it was a way for the British to inexpensively extend their dairy. Here in North America it's eggnog. The popular yuletide beverage received it's popularity with the colonies in the 18th century due to the large amount of dairy available in the new world. As corn and rye became a staple in the colonies, whiskey and bourbon became the common dairy stretcher to the traditional British egg flip. So you could say Americans gave rum the flip so to speak as whiskey and bourbon found it's way into glasses in North America. 

There is good reason why rich and delicious eggnog is limited to being served-up only during the holiday season. Is it possibly the caloric intake, or is it just reason to reserve it to be one of those nostalgic beverages you look forward to toasting with each and every year? May be a bit of both. 

One thing is for sure, if I am toasting with it, it might as well be spiked! Cheers!

holiday-beverage.jpg

Hirsch's Traditional Eggnog 

Recipe by Chef George Hirsch | Makes 4 Servings

6 egg yolks, save the whites *see below

2 cups milk

2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup bourbon, or rum 

1/4 brandy

1/2 cup pure cane sugar, or Turbinado

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon fresh grated orange rind

Using a mixer with a whip attachment on medium speed; whip the egg yolks until light in color, about 4-5 minutes. Add sugar and mix until completely dissolved. Set aside.

In double boiler, combine the milk, heavy cream, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, orange rind and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and combine, while tempering the hot milk-cream mixture into the egg-sugar mixture.

Return all ingredients to double boiler and heat constantly stirring with a spatula until the mixture reaches 160 degrees (well below simmer), eggnog begins to resemble custard.

Remove from the heat, stir in the bourbon, and brandy. Pour into a bowl, cool and refrigerate for at least two-four hours. Best if refrigerated overnight.

Serve in cups with a shaved chocolate, or unsweetened cocoa powder dusted on top.

Optional Toppings: with a dollop of *meringue (made from all the left over egg whites), or ice cream, or whipped cream.

Directions to make Meringue...

13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
19.95
Quantity:
Add to Cart

On the First Day of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent me a Partridge in a Pear Tree.

pears.JPG

Making homemade desserts can be intimidating if you are not a trained pastry chef. Solution, my Apple Pear Tartelette. When the apples and pears are ripe it’s time to pick & prepare. This tart is also a great last minute “I’m entertaining tonight dessert.” And, once you’ve made this a couple times you’ll want to strut your pastry 101 skills and whip it up in front of your guests. Enjoy!

George Hirsch Pear Tart

Warm Apple Pear Tartlette 
Makes six servings
chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle 
1/4 cup unsalted sweet butter
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons water + 2 Tablespoons white pure cane sugar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 medium size Granny Smith apples; peeled, cored and sliced + 2 medium size gala or a sweeter apple; peeled, cored and sliced + 2 Bartlett pears, peeled, cored and sliced
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
1 store bought frozen puff pastry shells, baked  

Preheat sauté pan to medium temperature. 
Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a simmer. Reduce temperature and let simmer two minutes. Cool and mix with sliced apples.
Optional: 
Add 2 Tablespoons cranberries or toasted walnuts to apple filling.
In center of baked puff pastry, top with warm apple and pear filling. Serve with freshly whipped cream or ice cream.

Quantity:
Add to Cart

Nougatkugeln

Aka the chocolate truffle, the bite-sized petit four is made from a creamy mixture of chocolate ganache, usually with butter and cream. However, this German version I've prepared below is with less fat in the recipe, but does not sacrifice the decadent chocolate flavor. As I've written prior, the quality of the truffle is primarily dependent on the quality of chocolate you start with. I can't stress this enough.

nougatkugeln.jpg

Nougatkugeln

Recipe by Chef George Hirsch | Makes about 35 truffles 

4 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup confectioners sugar

2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

*2 Tablespoons espresso or strong brewed coffee, or as needed

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup hazelnuts or almonds, lightly toasted & ground 

Optional filling: To make an all chocolate truffle: substitute 1 cup semisweet chocolate, ground medium-fine, for the hazelnuts.

Optional flavoring: Reduce espresso by 1 Tablespoon and substitute with 1 Tablespoon of Frangelico (halzelnut flavor liquor), or Grand Marnier (orange flavor liquor) 

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to avoid over heating. As chocolate begins to melt, remove the bowl from the heat.

In a separate bowl, combine the confectioners sugar and cocoa powder with a wire whisk. Mix in espresso, vanilla, and nuts. Mixture should be slightly thick, add additional espresso if truffle mixture needs to be slightly smoother. 

Cool mixture slightly; and with a small scoop or by hand form small balls by shaping into 1/2- to 3/4-inch diameter balls. Dip the balls into the melted chocolate.  

Garniture: Place your coatings for the truffles on a plate and roll truffle balls in one of the following:

Toasted crushed nuts

Powdered sugar

Cocoa powder

Tempered chocolate striped over truffles

Coconut

Shaved chocolate

Chill until firm. Nougatkugeln is best when served at room temperature. 

Quantity:
Add to Cart

Mini Cake Hors D’oeuvres

You can't go wrong with serving crab cakes as appetizers, it's a crowd pleaser for sure. It is also a good complement when meat is being served as a main course dish. I suggest making mini cakes so guests can easily nibble while making interesting pre-dinner conversation. 

cakes-crab.jpg

Savory Crab Cakes

Makes four-six entrée servings or 20-24 hors d’ oeuvre size

chefgeorgehirsch.com | George Hirsch Lifestyle

Step One

3/4 pound Maryland lump crabmeat

2 teaspoons each- thyme, basil, parsley

3 cloves garlic, chopped fine

1/4 cup mayonnaise

3 drops hot sauce

1 teaspoon soy sauce

1/4 cup fresh plum tomatoes, chopped

1 egg, beaten

5 drops lemon juice

1/2 cup Fresh ground bread crumbs

1/4 sweet onion, minced

1 rib celery, minced

1 green onion, minced

Step Two
1/4 pound Maryland lump or super lump crab meat
1 cup each- fine corn meal and fresh breads crumbs, mixed for breading of crab cakes
Olive oil for sautéing crab cakes
- Mix all ingredients in step one. 
- Gently mix in remaining crabmeat in Step Two, do not over mix.
- Pre heat a non-stick pan to medium heat.
- Form crab cakes into desired size serving pieces and place in breading mix. Lightly coat outside of crab cakes with bread crumb mixture forming into patties.
- Add olive oil to sauté pan and carefully place crab cakes in pan, cook 2-3 minutes on each side until golden brown turning once. 
- Serve crab cakes with lemon and cocktail, tartar or marinara sauce on side.



13 EPISODES on 4 HD-DVD Disk Set
19.95
Quantity:
Add to Cart