Creamy Chocolate Puffs
This recipe puts a wholesome twist on the classical cream puffs. Cream puffs can be enjoyed with variety of fillings - vanilla, caramel, ice cream, etc. If you are a chocolate lover, you will adore the chocolate filling that I share in this post. Additionally to being extremely satisfying, the chocolate creamy ganache is also vegan.
I have always been fascinated by the choux pastry to the point where I recently started preparing it at home. Choux pastry is extremely versatile - one can use it to make cream puffs, eclairs, profiteroles, etc. My grandmother's eclairs were the taste of my childhood, filled with soft vanilla cream and topped with melted chocolate. In this post, I revisit the choux pastry and propose a slightly modified version of it using more nutritious types of flour and replacing the butter with plant-based alternatives. All in the form of chocolate cream puffs!
For the choux pastry:
100 ml water
vegetable oil in one of the following configurations: - 40 g coconut oil - 20 g coconut oil + 20 g cacao butter
64 g whole-wheat flour or spelt flour**
2 whole eggs ***
3 g coconut sugar
2 g salt
For the vegan chocolate ganache:
100 g dark chocolate
200 ml coconut milk
1 g agar-agar powder
10 g stevia
In a saucepan, add the water, the oil(s), the sugar and the salt.
Place on the stove and let the oil(s) melt.
Bring to a roaring boil before removing from the stove.
Stir in the flour at once and mix well (with a wooden spatula!) until the flour is well incorporated and dough gets formed.
Put the pan back on the stove and keep stirring the dough for 1 to 2 minutes. This step is executed in order to remove as much water from the dough as possible.
Once dried out, transfer the dough into a bowl and spread it out on the sides of the bowl to allow it to cool down.
In the meantime, crack both eggs in a bowl and give them a gentle whisk.
Once the temperature of the dough reaches room temperature, start to add the whisked eggs little by little. This step is crucial for obtaining perfect puffs with the signature hole in the middle. At first, it may seem that the mixture is not coming together, but keep on mixing and slowly adding egg mixture. Once you add about an egg and a half, I suggest you do the following test in order to check if the batter has reached the right consistency: - Take a small amount of the batter between your thumb and index finger. Start separating both fingers and until the batter divides into two parts. If the part of the batter that stays on your thumb has a solid peak that does not move or slide down (leftmost picture from the gallery below), you need to continue adding egg mixture. In contrast, if that same part of the batter drops slowly and creates "a wave" (like in the rightmost picture), it means that you have reached the right consistency. Refer to the pictures below to better visualise the experiment.
Pipe the mixture into small circular shapes onto a baking sheet.
Bake at a preheated oven at 190 degrees C for 35-40 minutes.
Once baked, remove from the oven and poke them gently with a stick to release any steam from the inside of the puffs.
Vegan Chocolate Filling:
In a pan, add the coconut milk, the stevia and the agar-agar powder and stir until the agar-agar dissolves into the milk.
Place the pan on the stove and bring its content to a boil.
In the meantime, break the dark chocolate into small pieces.
Once it boils, remove the milk from the stove, allow it so cool down for 10 seconds and pour it on top of the pieces of dark chocolate.
Wait for 1-2 minutes before whisking well to obtain a homogeneous ganache.
Leave the chocolate mixture to cool down without any whisking. The ganache will start to set thanks to the agar-agar powder. Be patient and wait until it sets completely. You can put it in the fridge to accelerate the process.
Using a mixer, whip up the ganache to obtain a smooth and silky cream.
Poke a small hole on the bottom of each puff. Optionally, you can look for holes created during baking.
Pipe the chocolate cream into the puff through the hole and fill it all the way.
And you are done - enjoy them any time of the day!
This recipe makes approximately 20-22 medium-sized cream puffs.
* You can use either coconut oil or a mixture of coconut oil and cacao butter. The cacao butter will contribute to the chocolate flavor of the cream puffs.
** I have prepared the cream puffs using both whole-wheat flour and spelt flour. I obtained similar results with both flours and can recommend them both for the preparation of the choux pastry.
*** The eggs I use weigh between 96 and 100 g. This recipe asks for 2 eggs. However, bear in mind that the eggs vary in size and you may need slightly less or slightly more.