Chocolate Cream Puff Trio

Recently, I read about this contest to come up with a recipe using chocolate and at least one from a list of “adventure ingredients”. This is my second trial recipe – the first one needs a bit more finesse before I can post it. Among the adventure ingredients are black sesame seeds, matcha (green tea) powder, and coconut milk. These cream puffs use chocolate choux with one of three fillings: black sesame cream, green tea and coconut.

Chocolate Cream Puff Trio
Chocolate Choux
1/2 c whole milk
1/2 c water
6 tbs unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1/4 tsp salt
1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the cocoa powder and flour. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, mix together the milk, water, butter and salt. Bring to a full boil. When the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat, add all of the flour-cocoa mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until blended. This may require some powerful stirring. Return the pan to medium heat and continue to stir until the mixture forms a ball. Remove from the heat and let cool 3-4 mins, or to 140o on an instant-read thermometer.
2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk one of the eggs. Pour this into the cooled batter and beat with the spoon until it is incorporated. After the egg is added, the mixture will separate but it will come back to a smooth consistency after some beating. Repeat this process for the remaining 3 eggs. Let the paste cool for another 10 mins before piping it.
3. Preheat the oven to 425oF and line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper. Fit a pastry bag with a 5/16″ tip and fill with the paste. Pipe about 1 tbs of the paste onto a pan, forming a mound about 2″ in diameter Space the mounts at least 2″ apart so that they have room to puff.
4. Bake for 15 mins, then reduce heat to 375oF and continue to bake until the puffs turn golden brown, about 15 mins more.
5. Remove from the oven and immediately prick the side of each puff with a sharp knife. Return to the oven, leave the door open and let the pastries dry for 10-15 mins. Move to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before filling.

Creme Patisserie
1/3 c black sesame seeds [Sesame Filling only]
1/3 c unsweetened coconut [Coconut Filling only]
1 c unsweetened coconut milk [Coconut Filling only - and use 1/2 c whole milk only]
4 tsp matcha powder [Green Tea Filling only]
1 1/2 c whole milk
4 large egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
2 tbs cornstarch
2 tbs unsalted butter

1. [SF: Preheat the oven to 375oF. Spread the sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast 7-8 mins.] In a medium saucepan, heat the milk [CF: and coconut milk] with the [SF: toasted sesame seeds][GTF: matcha powder] until just before it boils. Remove from heat [SF: and strain out the sesame seeds].
2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, cornstarch and sugar until smooth. Slowly whisk the hot milk into this mixture until well-blended, then return the entire mixture back to the sauce pan.
3. Cook over medium-low heat, whisking constantly to prevent curdling or uneven cooking, until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, about 3 mins. Continue to whisk and cook for about another minute. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean bowl and stir in the butter until it is melted and smooth, [SF: then stir in the sesame seeds from earlier][CF: add in the unsweetened coconut].
4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming and refrigerate until well chilled.
5. Fit a pasty bag with a small tip (but large enough to allow the sesame seeds through) and fill the back with the chilled creme patissiere. Make a small incision in a puff and fill with the cream. Repeat until all puffs are complete.

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