Monday, February 11, 2008

Black Sesame Cream Puffs

Black sesame seeds and paste are cheap and prevalent here in Japan. The benefits of black sesame are numerous and include increased longevity, antioxidant power, rich in protein, iron, and magnesium, and beautifying to hair and nails. After reading that, you know I hopped on the black-sesame train and bought the seeds and paste. So, in an effort to use my black-sesame products (and possibly justify eating dessert), I made some black sesame cream puffs.
The black sesame paste makes the cream slightly nutty flavored.


Here is the recipe:
Recipe courtesy of Los Angeles Times, adapted from a recipe by Keiko Nojima of Patisserie Chantilly, Lomita, CA

Serves eight

Pate a choux:
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoons sugar
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup flour
4 eggs, divided
1 teaspoon black sesame seeds
1 teaspoon white sesame seeds

Black sesame crème:
3/4 cup sugar
6 egg yolks
2-1/2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
2 cups milk, scalding
1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut up
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds
2 tablespoons black sesame paste
4 teaspoons honey
2 teaspoons soy flour

For the pate a choux: Bring milk, 2/3 cup water and sugar to a boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add butter and allow to melt. Remove from heat. Add flour all at once and stir until mixture is completely blended and forms a ball. Return saucepan to the heat and cook, stirring until the mixture does not separate and the pan has a thin film on the bottom, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and beat in 3 eggs, one at a time, until blended. (Post tip: Avoid overheating the eggs by beating them all together and then adding a spoonful of the warm mixture, one at a time, to eggs in food processor or mixer.)

To make the puffs, spoon or pipe about 1/4 cup of choux for each puff onto two greased baking sheets. Beat the remaining egg and brush it over the puffs. Combine black and white sesame seeds and sprinkle over top of each puff. Wipe off spilled egg from baking sheet.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake for an additional 15 to 20 minutes until the puffs are doubled in size and golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a rack. Make a small slit on the side of each puff to allow steam to escape.

For the pastry crème: Beat together sugar and egg yolks until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Stir together flour and cornstarch and beat into egg mixture. Slowly beat in hot milk.

Pour the mixture into a saucepan and heat over medium-high heat, stirring, until boiling and thickened. Boil 1 to 2 minutes; stir constantly.

Remove from heat. Add butter, stirring until it’s melted. Stir in vanilla. Pour into a bowl and cover. Let cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until ready to serve.

Creme puff assembly: In a chilled bowl, beat the whipping cream and sugar until the mixture forms soft peaks. Remove the chilled creme from the refrigerator. Fold in whipped cream, sesame seeds and sesame paste.

Cut the tops off the cooled cream puffs and pipe half the creme sesame mixture into the bottoms of the puffs. Drizzle each with honey, then pipe in remaining creme. Put the tops on the puffs, sprinkle each with soy flour and serve.




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