ispahan cream puff

ispahan cream puff
ispahan cream puff
ispahan cream puff
ispahan cream puff

I’ve always loved election nights as a kid. My family and I would watch the whole thing, starting from the first counts as polls closed on the East coast to a final declaration late in the evening. I would cheer on the underdog Green Party because, as a seven-year old, their platform was by far the easiest to grasp. It wasn’t so much the election itself, which at the time was blissfully meaningless to me, but that I loved any chance for an occasion.

These days my election-mania is tempered by plenty of stress. Alongside a climate crisis and a long-overdue commitment to reconciliation, if anything, the pandemic has solidified the immediacy and impact of government in our lives (though it’s mostly the provincial government in terms of public health). But yes, I am still excited at the prospect of watching the numbers slowly climb and listening to endless commentary on the leaders, campaigns and battleground ridings. Any chance for an occasion, I guess.

ispahan cream puff
ispahan cream puff

These cream puffs are based on Pierre Herme’s formidable flavour combination, ispahan – raspberry, rose and lychee. I filled choux au craquelin with lychee mousse, topped them with raspberry rosewater ganache and a ring of fresh raspberries. It really is a remarkably good combination – the floral aspects of lychee play off the rosewater, and all the sweetness balanced by the tartness of raspberry. (There is an ispahan roll cake on the blog too, by the way!)

I will warn you though: these cream puffs are definitely a bit more on the sweet side given that I used syrupy canned lychees in the mousse and a white chocolate whipped ganache!

ispahan cream puff

ispahan cream puff

  • Servings: about 10 puffs
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choux pastry

craquelin

  • 56g brown sugar
  • 50g whole wheat flour
  • 36g soft butter

choux pastry

  • 43g butter
  • 90g milk
  • pinch kosher salt
  • sprinkle of granulated sugar
  • 45g whole wheat flour
  • 1 ½ eggs (may not use all)

For the craquelin, mix all ingredients together until it forms a cohesive dough. Place the dough between two sheets of parchment and roll out to a thickness of 1-2mm. Slide onto a pan and freeze until firm.

For the choux pastry, preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper – on the backside, trace twelve 4.5cm circles.

Place the butter, milk, sugar and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the flour and quickly mix in with a wooden spoon. Lower the heat and continue to cook the mixture until it forms a ball. Remove the pastry from the heat and let cool a bit before adding the egg.

Beat the eggs in a small bowl. Add a bit at a time to the pastry. Assess the consistency of the dough after each addition of egg and stop once you’ve achieved the right consistency. I find it easiest to begin beating in the eggs with a wire whisk and then transition back to stirring with a wooden spoon once the batter loosens. The dough should be shiny, but not fluid (if its something a bit new to you, look up a video or a more detailed tutorial for the right consistency – such as looking for the “triangle” of dough!). Importantly, you don’t need to use all the egg – or you may need a bit more or less! 

Transfer the pastry to a piping bag fitted with a medium (~1cm) round tip (I use Wilton 2A). Pipe mounds of pastry onto the 4.5cm circles. To make the size consistent, I position the piping bag a little ways above the pan (1-2cm or so – it will be quite natural!) and pipe until the mound of dough nearly fills out the circular guide drawn on the parchment. I avoid lifting the piping bag further up as I pipe – if you do that, you end up with a larger and taller mound of pastry and the size will not be as consistent.

Take the craquelin out of the freezer and cut 5cm circles from the dough. Top each puff with a round of the craquelin.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400F, then decrease temperature to 375F and bake about 30 minutes more or until well browned. You can rotate the puffs after they’ve been in the oven for 20-25 minutes or so, once there are no worries of them deflating. As soon as you can handle the puffs, cut a small slit on the bottom of each puff to let the steam release and let cool on on a wire rack.

rose raspberry whipped ganache

  • 50g white chocolate, chopped
  • small pinch kosher salt
  • 85g heavy cream
  • 15g strained raspberry puree (from about 40g raspberries)
  • 1/4 tsp rosewater, or to taste (may vary depending on the strength of your rosewater)

Place the chopped chocolate and salt in a heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over the white chocolate. Allow to sit for a couple minutes for the chocolate to begin melting, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the raspberry puree and rosewater.

Cover and chill completely. Whip up the ganache when you’re ready to assemble the cream puffs (see assembly section below). 

lychee rose mousse

  • 120g strained lychee puree
  • 1 1/4 tsp powdered gelatin bloomed in 1 1/2 tbsp water
  • 1/2 tsp rosewater, or to taste (may vary depending on the strength of your rosewater)
  • 120g heavy cream

Heat the lychee puree (via stovetop or microwave) until warm to the touch. Microwave the bloomed gelatin until melted (about 10 seconds should suffice) and whisk into the puree. Set aside to cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally (make sure it doesn’t cool enough to set though!).

Once cooled, stir the rosewater into the puree.

In a separate bowl, whip the cream. Add a of the whipped cream into the lychee puree and whisk in until smooth – this will lighten the puree slightly before adding the rest of the cream. Now add the remaining cream and gently fold in. As the lychee puree is quite liquidy, this a bit more challenging; I find it easiest begin by using a whisk. Draw the whisk from the bottom of the bowl up towards you, passing it through lumps of whipped cream. Repeat until the mixture is fairly cohesive, and that point you can do a final few gentle strokes with a rubber spatula. (This technique was inspired by this souffle cheesecake video – watch from 4:54-6:05 for a demonstration!)

Use the mousse right away, before it sets!  

assembly

  • about 25 raspberries (2.5 per puff), cut in half – the number needed may vary depending on the size of your raspberries and circumference of cream puffs

Slice the top off of each cream puff.

Fill the puffs with the freshly made lychee mousse by spooning it into each puff (you can also use a piping bag if you prefer, but as the mousse is quite liquidy before it sets, it’s easier to use a spoon). To make sure the entire puff is filled, tap the puffs on the work surface to settle the mousse. If the level drops, spoon more mousse into the puff and repeat the tapping and filling as needed until each puff is filled.

Place the puffs in the fridge for 1 hour to allow the mousse to set.

Once set, whip the rose raspberry ganache until thick and stiff. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip (I used one about 1.7cm in diametre). Pipe a dollop of the whipped ganache on top of each puff. Arrange raspberry halves around the ganache. Finally, replace the top of each cream puff. If the edges of the cream puff lids are a bit rough, you can trim them to even out the edges and make the lids more circular. Serve right away!

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