Weekend Recipe: Strawberry-Chocolate Cream Puffs

This recipe from Cook's Country isn't what anyone would call simple, but if you've got a sweet tooth, the rewards are plentiful. You'll want a candy thermometer and, if possible, an oven thermometer, as this is the type of confection that gets highly technical. But so impressive!

Photo courtesy Cook's Country
Photo courtesy Cook's Country

Strawberry-Chocolate Cream Puffs
Serves 8
Chocolate Puffs
2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa

Strawberry Filling
8 ounces frozen strawberries, thawed
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
6 tablespoons (1 1/2 ounces) confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 ounces cream cheese, cut into 1-inch pieces and softened

Chocolate Glaze
1 cup (4 ounces) confectioners' sugar, sifted
3 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk eggs, egg white, and vanilla together in bowl. Bring water, butter, sugar, and salt to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When butter is melted, remove pan from heat. Using rubber spatula, stir in flour until smooth. Return saucepan to low heat and cook, constantly stirring and smearing mixture against bottom of saucepan, until mixture is slightly shiny and registers 170 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 2 to 3 minutes.

Transfer flour mixture to food processor and process until slightly cool, about 30 seconds. Remove feed tube insert from food processor. With food processor running, slowly add egg mixture through feed tube until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl and process until smooth, thick paste forms, about 30 seconds. Sprinkle cocoa over paste and process until combined, about 15 seconds, scraping down bowl as needed.

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Cut ½ inch from corner of large zipper-lock bag. Transfer cocoa paste to bag and pipe eight 2-inch-wide and 1¼-inch-high mounds 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Dip small spoon in water and smooth exterior of mounds.

Bake puffs for 15 minutes (do not open oven door) and then reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake until firm, 20 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and turn off oven. Using tip of paring knife, carefully cut ½-inch slit into side of each puff. Return puffs to oven, prop door open with wooden spoon, and let puffs dry for 30 minutes. Transfer puffs to wire rack to cool completely, about 30 minutes. (Puffs can be stored at room temperature for up to 1 day or frozen in single layer in airtight container for up to 1 month.)

FOR THE STRAWBERRY FILLING: Meanwhile, cook strawberries in medium saucepan over medium-low heat, mashing occasionally with potato masher, until thickened and reduced to ½ cup, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

Using stand mixer fitted with whisk, whip cream, sugar, and vanilla on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form, 1 to 3 minutes. Add cream cheese and whip until stiff peaks form, about 30 seconds. Gently fold chilled strawberries into whipped cream, return mixture to large bowl, and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. (Filling can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.)

FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE: Set wire rack in rimmed baking sheet. Using serrated knife, cut puffs crosswise into 2 pieces, ½ inch from bottom. Top puff bottoms with strawberry whipped cream and replace tops; transfer to rack. Combine sugar and cocoa in bowl. Whisk in water and vanilla until smooth. Spoon 1 tablespoon glaze over each puff and let sit for 15 minutes until set. Serve.

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