Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mango Cream Puffs

This recipe is in a different league from the pastry cream I made last week. The mango pulp gives it a strong mango flavor, which is accented by the cardamom and saffron. It also made much softer custard than the pastry cream I made last week. One thing that’s great about this stuff is that it’s so versatile. I’ve chosen to use it here in almond cream puffs, but you could just as easily use the custard to fill a tart, make éclairs, or do what I did in the bonus recipe at the end of this post.

Mango Pastry Cream (Crème Patisserie)

Makes a lot, but it has many uses

2 ½ cups Alphonso Mango Pulp*
6 large egg yolks
1 ½ cups of sugar divided
12 Tbs corn starch (yes 12)
1 ½ Tbs Cardamom pods, lightly crushed
.25 grams saffron powder
5 Cups milk
1 Tbs vanilla paste

1. Start by reducing the mango pulp. Put it in a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan and bring it to a simmer. Reduce until it thickens and becomes darker in color. After reduction you should have about 2 cups. Set aside. Note that while this is reducing, the stuff simmers sort of like a mud pit and throws mango pulp everywhere. Either keep a lid on your pot or be prepared to clean mango glue off your oven.

2. Mix the eggs with ¾ of a cup of sugar. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Add the corn starch 1 Tbs at a time. I added it all at once with the sugar, and ended up with egg jelly. This was remedied with an electric mixer, but if you do it 1 Tbs at a time, you might avoid the problem all together. Once everything is mixed, set it aside.

3. Place the cardamom pods in the bottom of a medium, heavy bottomed sauce pan, over medium-high heat, and cook until the pods just begin to brown. Add the milk, the remaining sugar, the saffron, and the vanilla paste. Bring the mixture to a boil, mixing and scraping the bottom of the pot constantly (otherwise the vanilla beans will all get stuck).

4. As soon as the milk mixture begins to boil remove it from the heat. As soon as it has stopped boiling, pour about ¼ of the milk into the eggs, whisking constantly. Then pour the rest of the milk mixture and the eggs into a new pot (this keeps it from thickening too fast). Put the mixture on a burner set to medium heat.

5. Whish the mixture constantly. It will quickly thicken. Keep mixing until the mix begins to bubble. Remove from heat.

6. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh sieve and discard all of the solids. Working quickly fold in the reduced mango pulp. Once thoroughly mixed, place plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the custard, and put in the fridge to set for several hours.

*Alphonso Mango Pulp can be found sold in cans at Indian Grocery Stores. It can also be bought here. I used the brand Ratna, which I've heard is supposed to be the best, but I have no corroboration of that.

Almond Pate au Choux

Makes ~45

1 cup water
6 Tbs unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
1 Tbs sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 tsp almond extract
4 or 5 eggs
Slivered Almonds (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Put butter, sugar, water and salt in a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Bring the mixture to a full boil.

2. Add the flour to the mixture. Immediately remove from heat and mix. Put back on heat and continue mixing until the dough pulls into a ball. And begins to steam.

3. Put the ball in a bowl and let cool for a few minutes. Once the ball of dough has begun to cool, add the eggs one at a time, beating in thoroughly with an electric mixer. The mixture should have the consistency of a thick mayonnaise. If the mixture is too dry, add the fifth egg (I didn’t need to, this is just what other recipes suggested)

4. Using a large, circular piping tip, pipe the dough onto parchment lined baking sheet. Pipe out mounds that are between 1 and 2 Tbs in size, and put them about 2 inches apart on the sheets. Top each bit of dough with a few slivered almonds

5. Bake for 10 minutes at 425. Then rotate the baking sheets and swap the ones on the upper rack for those on the lower rack, reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Cut a puff open, it should be hollow and dry inside.

6. These are best served when still puffed and fresh. However, they can be stored in an airtight container, and can be re-crisped by putting them back in the oven at 350 for about 5 minutes.


1 mango*

1. Cut up the mango into thin strips. To do this I peeled the mango with a peeler, then used a cheese slicer / spatula to make thin strips of mango. For the most part it worked surprisingly well.

2. Cut a cream puff in half, put a spoonful of mango custard into the puff, and top with a slice of fresh mango, then put the top of the puff back on.

*Update: I went back to my Kroger, I think it was an Ataulfo mango, still not 100% sure though. I used an unusual kind of mango I found at my Kroger. The sticker on the mango says “Estrellita” but that doesn’t actually appear to be a type of mango. Whatever kind of mango it was, it had an unusual tartness that was vaguely citrusy, sort of like passion fruit. The skin of the mango was yellow with green, unlike the red and green of mangos I’m used to seeing. The tartness contrasted really well with the sweetness of the mango custard, and I highly recommend it. If anyone knows what kind of mango it might have been, I would appreciate the input.

This recipe is a bonus. I made a whole lot of the mango pastry cream because I knew I could do lot of things with it. I didn’t want to use up a lot of my custard, since I was serving most of it to friends, but this soufflé was a quick way to do something interesting with it. I like my soufflés to be mousse-y in the middle, and so that’s what this makes. If you want something with a more cake feel, you might try adding a little flour to the mix, but I can’t vouch for that. I also never get perfect rise out of my soufflés, fortunately it doesn’t matter, because they taste just as good any way.

Mango Soufflé

Makes 1 soufflé

½ cup mango pastry cream
1 egg white
2 tsp sugar, divided
Butter for lining ramekin.

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter the inside of a one cup ramekin. Pour in one tsp of sugar and swirl so the sugar coats the inside of the ramekin. Dump the excess.

2. Using an electric mixer on high begin beating the egg white. Once it gets foamy, add the remaining tsp of sugar. Continue beating until the egg whites reach stiff peaks

3. Whisk ¼ of the egg white into the custard until it is smooth. Fold the remaining egg white into the custard until just combined and there are no more streaks.

4. Level the top of the soufflé. Run the tip of a knife along the edge of the soufflé to aid rising. (Supposedly at this point a soufflé can be covered in plastic wrap and put in the fridge for up to a day, I’ve never tried though). Place ramekin on a cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

5. Eat as soon as it comes out of the oven.

No comments: