Croquembouche

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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.

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Double Chocolate Brownies as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

An often requested recipe from George Hirsch Lifestyle, it is ideal for every occasion. Enjoy as is or upgrade by topping with your favorite ice cream. The brownie derives its character from a deep rich cocoa base for the chocolate flavor.

Enjoy other favorites,   Oven Fried Garlic Chicken   +   Cheddar Jack-n-Mac

Double Chocolate Brownies

Makes 12-18 Brownies

chefgeorgehirsch.comGeorge Hirsch Lifestyle 

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound (2 sticks) sweet butter, softened at room temperature

2 cups granulated sugar

4 eggs, beaten

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups chopped pecans or walnuts

1 1/2 cups semisweet chopped chocolate pieces; or chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease and flour an 8 x 12 x 2 inch-baking pan.

In a small bowl, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt well. Set aside.

Cream butter in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add granulated sugar, cream on high speed for 2 minutes, until light and fluffy. 

On a low speed add vanilla and eggs, one at a time, stopping machine to scrape down the bowl well after each addition. On a low speed add flour and cocoa powder to the butter mixture and mix just until flour is absorbed. Do not over mix. 

By hand, fold the pecans and chocolate in with a rubber spatula.

Optional: if using coconut; mix 3/4 of coconut with pecans and chocolate. 

Using a spatula, spread the batter into baking pan making sure the batter is spread evenly and smooth. 

Bake for 25-30 minutes. Caution to not over bake. Brownies are baked when pressed cakes springs back when pressed lightly with your finger or a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 2 hours and cut the brownies into rectangle or square pieces.

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Celebrate Pie

For Friends of GHL, Celebrate Magazine is offering a 25% discount on annual subscription!

Celebrate Magazine November/December Holiday Issue

My new issue of Celebrate Magazine has just arrived and it’s filled with inspiration for entertaining and decorating this holiday season. Now is the time to get serious about Thanksgiving and brush up on your pie 101. With four pages of step by step with recipes and quick tips you’ll be a pie master in no time! 

Best of all Celebrate Magazine is offering a 25% discount to all friends of GHL! Since Celebrate is gifting 25% to you, give a gift subscription to family and friends this holiday. Those who love to enertain and be inspired in the kitchen & home will remember you each time a new issue arrives!   

For a limited time only: use Coupon Code CLBSAVE25

Spread the cheer, it’s going to be a great holiday!

entertain, decorate, Celebrate Pie as seen on George Hirsch Lifestyle

My friends at Hoffman Media have published the November/December issue of Celebrate, a must read for any gathering with family and friends during this holiday season. I'm proud to share my four page feature on Perfecting Pies. I don't want to be a spoiler so I'll let you get your own copy on news stands next week. Or, you may order your own Free Trial Subscription and receive timely seasonal inspiration when watching George Hirsch Lifestyle on PBS, public television and Create TV. 

And, why four pages on pie? I'm passionate about teaching the correct techniques in cooking and baking--especially baking pie. Just ask my TV crew who received a first hand lesson during a one hour taping with no stops. I could have went longer, but my TV show is only a half hour!   

Watch me bake pie on GHL, Thursday, October 23rd on Create TV 7:30AM and 1:30PM. You may want to record and watch again when you get your copy of Celebrate Magazine's Holiday issue!

read George's feature in Nov/Dec issue of Celebrate Magazine, watch GHL on Create TV

I got my copy. If I can do it, You can do it!

 

 

The Bread Crumb

Meeting Manuela Goeb at her Bakery and Pastry Shop in Kenmare was one of the highlights filming for my TV series in Ireland. The food she produces is with a living well approach, using only all natural ingredients and made in the same authentic German bakery traditions she was raised with in Franconia. Keep in mind, the finest Kerry Butter is one of the key ingredients in her baked goods.

We had so much in common; with my early days as a chef being trained by some of the finest German bakers. Manuela knows her dough. I look forward to seeing Manuela again and enjoying her delicious sour dough bread. If traveling to Ireland and you make your way to Kenmare, be sure to tell Manuela hello for me.

The Bread Crumb, New Road
O'Shea's House
Kenmare
Co. Kerry Ireland

images, Hirsch Media