Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pâté á choux--Not as hard as it sounds

When I first heard about April's "Go Ahead, Honey, It's Gluten Free" challenge, I knew I had to be a part of it this month. Z's Cup of Tea is hosting. For the month of April, the challenge is to make some kind of food from a favorite children's book--whether from when you were growing up, or one that you may have discovered more recently.

At first I had a hard time deciding what to make...Plum Puffs from Anne of Green Gables, or Mulberry Fools or Mincemeat pies from The Chronicles of Narnia? Then one day it hit me: I've been dying to try my hand at making cream puffs, just because they seemed really elegant and sophisticated, and just plain fun to make! Then the idea: Amelia Bedelia....The absent-minded maid who does exactly as she's told--and often gets in a pickle for it--but she always manages to save herself through her skills in the kitchen. "Oh, my cream puffs!"...If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you should go read this book with your favorite little kid...or, better yet, read any of the series. I loooooved Amelia Bedelia books growing up. They always made me laugh!("Roll...Hey, roll!"- from Amelia Bedelia Goes to School....Hee, hee...You just have to read it!)

So here's my offering for this month's challenge:
Amelia Bedelia's Chocolate Cream Puffs :)

Chocolate-Filled Cream Puffs
(Made dairy-free, grain-free, & paleo)
Also known as pâté á choux, cream puffs are simple yet elegant...most of the time that you will spend making these will be while waiting for them to cool before assembling. I wouldn't say these are exactly "good for you," but they do taste good! The puffs are fun and really easy to make, and the chocolate filling is made on the stove, similar to the way you make lemon curd. Tips for this recipe came from here and here (And for those of you who cook by ratios, the ratio for these is 2 parts liquid:1 part fat: 1 part flour: 2 parts eggs).

Making the pâté á choux (cream puff dough)
4 lg. eggs
8 oz. (1 c.) canned coconut milk (full fat, stirred very well)
4 oz. (1/2c.) grapeseed oil
1/2 t. salt
4 oz. (1 c.) tapioca flour/starch

Make sure to have all ingredients ready to go before starting. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
Crack eggs in small bowl.
In a medium saucepan, combine coconut milk, grapeseed oil, and salt. Heat on medium heat, stirring, until just under a boil. Then turn down to medium-low and add all of the tapioca flour in at once.
Stir mixture quickly, until the flour has absorbed most of the liquid. Keep stirring for 1-2 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
Dump the dough into a bowl, and blend for another minute or so, to cool the dough slightly. This can be done with a good mixer (with paddle attachment), or with a wooden spoon. With the spoon, it just takes a little more elbow grease ;)
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Continue beating the dough for 5 minutes, or until the dough is shiny and (mostly) smooth.
Spoon the dough into about 1 1/2" balls, about 1 inch apart on cookie sheets. I used 2 spoons to do this, but you can use a small ice cream scoop, or pipe them out of a plastic bag. Make sure to smooth down any "peaks" that form in the dough, as they would burn during baking.
Bake for 20 minutes at 425 degrees F. Then turn off the oven, and let the puffs sit in the oven for 20 more minutes. Pull out of the oven and cool puffs completely before filling.
Makes about 24 puffs, depending on size. You can make these 1-2 days ahead, or make the batter the day before, and then refrigerate batter till needed.

Making the Chocolate Creme
(Just a side note, I haven't tried this recipe yet with whole eggs here, but I know that it works with the lemon curd, so I would be curious to know if it would work just as well with this one. If anyone tries it and it works, let me know. Also, most recipes say to strain the chocolate filling with a fine-mesh sieve. I didn't here, and it was fine, but that would make the cream smoother if you want)
16 oz. (2 c.) canned coconut milk, stirred very well
1/4 t. salt
3 oz. (1/2c.+1T.) unsweetened cocoa powder
6 lg. egg yolks, room temp.
6 oz. (1 c.) coconut palm sugar
3 T. (0.8 oz) tapioca starch
1 1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. almond extract

Boil coconut milk and salt in large saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Set saucepan aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk egg yolks and sugar until well-blended. Add the tapioca starch, and gently whisk again until the starch dissolves.

Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture, and return the saucepan to medium heat. Bring mixture to boil, and continue to boil for 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly until mixture is smooth. If the eggs begin to curdle, continue to whisk the mixture until it smooths out again.
Here is where you can strain the mixture (I didn't, and it still turned out fine, but it would probably help it turn out smoother). Refrigerate about 2 hours, or until cream filling is cold. Stir well before filling cream puffs, in order to soften and smooth out the filling.

Assembling the Cream Puffs
Cut the puffs in half horizontally with a bread knife, and spoon a good scoop of chocolate filling onto the bottom half of each of the puffs. Top with the other half.
Serve immediately, or the cream puffs can be frozen, and served after allowing them to thaw slightly for a few minutes.

This post was also shared for Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays.


  1. Hi Heather, these chocolate cream puffs look great! I've made cream puffs a couple of times before, with a different recipe from Simply...Gluten-Free, though I've yet to achieve that "puff". I love Amelia Bedelia as well! One of my other favourites is when she makes chocolate chip cookies, with potato chips. Thanks so much for participating in this month's theme. The round-up is now live:

  2. Do you think it would work to put the batter in a mini muffin pan instead of piping them out? This recipe looks great!

    1. I'm not sure, but I would think that it would work the same...just watch that the batter doesn't stick to the edges and tear. I don't know if the size of the tins would hinder the baking process, but I'd say go ahead and give it a try! Let me know how they turn out :)

  3. Just, FYI, the name is pâte à choux, not pâté. A pâte is a dough, while a pâté is a meat dish. Pâte is one syllable [pat], while pâté is two syllables [pa te].

  4. Hi Heather...this recipe looks genius. Can I replace the eggs with Energ Egg replacer and still achieve the same results you got? I would like to make my puffs vegan.

    1. I'm not sure, I've never made them with egg substitutes. Since you're just beating the eggs (as opposed to whipping egg whites), I would say there's a good chance it would work. If you try it, let me know how they turn out!