Pain au Chocolat

October 19, 2010

in French,Pastries,Recipes

Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Chocolate Samples

It’s funny when I photographed these Ghirardelli Luxe Milk Chocolate samples I received as part of the Foodbuzz Tastmaker Program, I placed them in the order I thought I would like the most.

It turns out, I know myself pretty darn well. Go figure… I’ve only known myself for thirty somewhat years. Anyway my guess was spot on, the hazelnut was my absolute favorite followed by the milk chocolate and almond.

I’m not too proud to admit I decided to do my chocolate tasting this past Sunday morning while everyone else was sleeping. Actually, I was more like bullied into it by the black up of coffee I was having.

Well, thanks to my weakness for chocolate and those three bites, I was inspired guilted into sharing some chocolate joy with the boys by making them a special breakfast treat.



Pick your Poison Pizza

Thank you all so much for voting me onto the next round of Project Food Blog, we’ve made it half-way can you believe that?

Before you I present my post for challenge #5, you may be wondering what this challenge titled “Recipe Remix” is all about?

Well, for starters the “Recipe” selected for us was Pizza, and the “Remix” could pretty much be anything. Using molecular gastronomy, sharing your best kept secrets, or totally re-inventing it.

Our pizza criteria was the following: A solid base, a sauce, and at least one topping.

Seems simple enough, right? No, not really… I had the hardest time trying to decide what to make for you. I don’t really have any super secrets to create an amazing pizza. I haven’t had the opportunity to dive into molecular gastronomy just yet, but working my way towards it for sure. And, given the theme of my blog, you know it wasn’t going to be savory. So, dessert pizza it is…

Then, after much thought and deliberation I decided that one dessert pizza just wouldn’t be enough, so I made you two. :)

Who doesn’t love choices right? So, go ahead… pick your poison!



The funky title of this particular pie was something I just threw together. The inspiration however, originated from an old label of Nestle’s sweetened condensed milk I found nestled in a stack of clippings, handwritten, and typed recipes my mother recently gifted me during my last visit to Mexico.

The Inspiration
I translated the original recipe from Spanish to English and altered a few of the ingredients. I switched cream cheese for mascarpone, which is what I happened to have on hand at the time; and I replaced preserved peaches with fresh peaches since they coincidentally happen to be in season.

Mascarpeacheesy Pie
Mascarpeacheesy Pie

crustenough for 2 – 9″ pies
1 1/2 sticks (6 oz) unsalted butter
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
2 egg yolks
3 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder

Beat butter in a mixer until light and fluffy. Add the condensed milk and mix until incorporated. Add egg yolks one at a time, mixing to incorporate after each addition.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour and baking powder. Add flour in thirds into the creamed butter and beat just until combined.

Pie Crust
Remove dough from the mixer divide in half, roll, and cover pie tin(s).

Blind bake pie shell @ 350 for 15 minutes

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
zest of 2 limes
1/4 cup lime juice
8 oz mascarpone cheese
3 eggs
2 large peaches, sliced

In a medium bowl combine all ingredients except the sliced peaches. Mix with a hand mixer for 2- 3 minutes or until combined.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Mascarpeacheesy Pie

Ladle half of the filling into the blind-baked pie crust. Place one layer of sliced peaches over the filling. Cover with the remainder of the filling.

Mascarpeacheesy Pie
Top pie with the remaining sliced peaches.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes or until center is set.

Mascarpeacheesy Pie

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This month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to us by Cat from Little Miss Cupcake.

I can’t tell you how excited and freaked out, I was when I logged into the The Daring Kitchen website to see what the Daring Bakers’ challenge was going to be for the month of May and found out it was going to be Croquembouche.

Some people find macarons intimidating… well, I found this challenge completely and utterly intimidating.

For starters up to this point I had never made Pâte à choux (Choux pastry) and the thought of having to make close to 100 profiteroles in order to create a decent size Croquembouche sent shivers down my spine.

Nonetheless, deep down inside (way deep…) I’ve always wanted to make one, and now thanks to Cat… the perfect opoortunity presented it self.

Up to this point you might be asking yourself why in the world would the title of this post be Pièce Tombée (fallen piece) if the top most pictures look like it’s well put together?

So, I will try to explain my adventures in Croquembouche making using the Cliff Notes version.

  • Started making cream puffs about a week and a half ago
  • Stored them in freezer
  • Made coffee flavored pastry cream
  • Thawed puffs and filled them with pastry cream
  • Made Caramel Glaze and started putting together the Croquembouche
  • Took a couple of pictures Wednesday night ( the two you saw above)
  • Had plans to drizzle Croquembouche with a dark chocolate glaze and take final pictures for post the following morning
  • Thursday morning ran into pantry looking for chocolate, and realized I had none
  • The night before I went to the store and was going to pick some up; decided I shouldn’t because I was certain I had plenty at home
  • Dissapointed in my lack of memory I got ready, left for work and decided I would continue working on it once I got home
  • Once I got home, I was informed by my husband that when he got home he found a bunch of “those things from the dessert I was working on” on the floor

So there you have it… THE END.

PS: This isn’t the last of battle Croquembouche, you can bet there will be a rematch!

Just in case you want to attempt this little battle yourself below are a few recipes that you might find useful.

Oh, and if you are in need of a little Culinary challenge be sure and visit The Daring Kitchen for great cooking and/or baking adventures.

Pate a Choux (Yield: About 28)

¾ cup (175 ml.) water
6 Tbsp. (85 g.) unsalted butter
¼ Tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 cup (125 g.) all-purpose flour
4 large eggs

For Egg Wash: 1 egg and pinch of salt

Pre-heat oven to 425◦F/220◦C degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Preparing batter:
Combine water, butter, salt and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir occasionally. At boil, remove from heat and sift in the flour, stirring to combine completely.

Return to heat and cook, stirring constantly until the batter dries slightly and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Butter & Water
Pate Choux
Pate Choux
Transfer to a bowl and stir with a wooden spoon 1 minute to cool slightly. Add 1 egg. The batter will appear loose and shiny.

Pate Choux
Pate Choux
As you stir, the batter will become dry-looking like lightly buttered mashed potatoes. It is at this point that you will add in the next egg. Repeat until you have incorporated all the eggs.

Pate Choux

Pate Choux

Pate Choux

Transfer batter to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip (I piped directly from the bag opening without a tip). Pipe choux about 1 inch-part in the baking sheets. Choux should be about 1 inch high about 1 inch wide.
Using a clean finger dipped in hot water, gently press down on any tips that have formed on the top of choux when piping. You want them to retain their ball shape, but be smoothly curved on top.


Bake the choux at 425◦F/220◦C degrees until well-puffed and turning lightly golden in color, about 10 minutes.Lower the temperature to 350◦F/180◦C degrees and continue baking until well-colored and dry, about 20 minutes more. Remove to a rack and cool.

Coffee Crème Patissiere (Half Batch)
1 cup (225 ml.) whole milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
6 Tbsp. (100 g.) sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg yolks
2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter
1 Tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 Tsp. instant espresso powder disolved in 1 1/2 Tsp. boiling water

Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup of milk. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan; bring to boil; remove from heat.

Beat the whole egg, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.

Return the remaining milk to boil. Pour in the hot egg mixture in a stream, continuing whisking.

Continue whisking (this is important – you do not want the eggs to solidify/cook) until the cream thickens and comes to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the butter and vanilla and disolved instant espresso powder.

Pour cream into a stainless steel/ceramic bowl. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately and until ready to use.

Coffee Pastry Cream

Hard Caramel Glaze
1 cup (225 g.) sugar
½ teaspoon lemon juice

Combine sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan with a metal kitchen spoon stirring until the sugar resembles wet sand. Place on medium heat; heat without stirring until sugar starts to melt around the sides of the pan and the center begins to smoke. Begin to stir sugar. Continue heating, stirring occasionally until the sugar is a clear, amber color. Remove from heat immediately; place bottom of pan in ice water to stop the cooking. Use immediately.

Caramel Glaze

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Post image for Chocolate Truffle Tarts

So I froze the remaining half of the Chocolate Pate Sablee dough I made for my Blood Orange-Blueberry Tian a couple of weeks ago and decided it was time to put it to use, don’t know why I even bothered putting it the freezer.

The first thing than came to mind was a chocolate tart. I decided to go with a mouthwatering recipe from Desserts by the Yard by Sherry Yard.

Did you know that Sherry stopped by and donated as well as purchased quite a few goodies for the LA Food Bloggers Bake Sale last weekend!

It was unfortunate that I didn’t get to meet her that day, she stopped by early in the morning and I was scheduled to help out later in the day.

Sherry Yard
Rachael of La Fuji Mama did a great recap on the event, and she was also kind enough to share this photo with me. Thanks Rachael!

Did you see it, did you see it… My brown business card is sticking out of her box filled with goodies? Rachael also told me she wanted to know if I was there because she was impressed with my macarons. Sigh…

This calls for a chocolate fix.

Chocolate Truffle Tart

Chocolate Truffle Tarts
  • ½ chocolate pate sable recipe, refrigerated for at least 4 hours, or overnight
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 8 ounces (2-sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ¾ cups granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • whipped cream, optional topping
  • bittersweet chocolate chips, optional topping
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and lightly spray your tart pans with cooking spray.
  2. On a lightly floured/cocoa powdered work surface. Roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness and line the pans with the dough. Prick the bottom of the pastry shell a few times with a fork. Line the shell with parchment paper and fill with dried beans, un-cooked rice, or pie weights and gently press against the shell to ensure all corners are filled and bake for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the weights and transfer them to a heat proof container.
  3. Gently pull the parchment paper off the tarts and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the pastry shows no sign of moisture; it will be a dull dark brown. If the parchment paper sticks, return the covered pastry shell to the oven for another 3 minutes or until to you can easily pull the liner off. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack.
  4. Using the double broiler method melt the chocolate and butter. Once melted turn the burner off and leave the bowl over the pan so that the mixture remains hot.
  5. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, combine the eggs and sugar and beat on medium speed until just lemony yellow and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes.
  6. Whisk the flour into the chocolate mixture. Turn the mixer to low speed and add the hot chocolate mixture to the eggs all at once. Scrape down the bowl and continue to mix for 30 seconds, until well combined. Fill the cooled tart shells all the way to the top.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes for 4" tarts, or up to 20 minutes for a 9" tart shell. Until the cake is just set and slightly oozing in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
  8. Melt bittersweet chocolate chips and heavy cream in the microwave in 30 second intervals at 50% power, and with a spatula spread over chilled tarts. Top with whipped cream and/or chocolate chips.
Makes 1 - 9" tart pan and 3 - 4" tart pans


Chocolate Pate Sablee Tart ShellChocolate Pate Sablee Tart ShellChocolate Truffle TartChocolate Truffle Tart ready for the ovenChocolate Truffle Tart