Puff Pastry is my Enemy
December 30, 2010
Well, at least my waistline’s enemy. It’s just too darn easy to make beautiful and yummy treats out of the stuff!
But first, my apologies for my absence these past few weeks. I had hoped to find time to post a recipe or two, but the season’s production schedule and sales kept me busy. No complaints, but I’m glad for more free time to play in the kitchen, dig through those drawers, and find long forgotten toys!
Cream-Filled Puff Pastry Horns
Last winter, I bought a couple packages of “cream horn molds” from an outlet kitchen shop. Six metal tubes in each for $2.99. Stuck the things in a drawer and didn’t open them until last week when I decided it would be a lovely idea to experiment for our family’s dessert on Christmas.
Now, I don’t generally recommend experimenting for large family gatherings, but anything that turns out this wonderful on the first go around gets two thumbs up. With puff pastry, it’s just too hard to go wrong. No time to find these molds? There are a dozen ways to prepare your puff pastry without them; from making two equal-sized circles, cutting out the center of one, and layering it on top of each other; to folding up these triangles.
The hardest part to making these yummy desserts is deciding what to fill them with. I couldn’t decide, so I made three:
- zabaglione cream (tiramisu filling – mascarpone, eggs, sugar, vanilla), 1/2 batch with only half the eggwhites to make it more dense (1.5 whites to 3 yolks)
- 1/2 batch easy chocolate mousse with chopped, dried cherries
- 1/2 batch mocha chocolate mousse (just add espresso)
They’re all simple to make, but they do need to be made at least 4 hours before you use them so they’ll be firm enough to stay where they’re put. No time? Whip some cream, spoon it into a Ziplock bag, cut a corner off the bag, and squeeeeeeeze into the baked horns. Grate a little dark chocolate on top and you’re golden. Kick it up a notch by adding fresh berries or flavoring your whipped cream with almond or lemon or….
What You’ll Need
- one or more packages of puff pastry (2 sheets each)
- cream horn molds or other creative way of making a receptacle for the filling (see “triangles” link above)
- whipped cream for garnish and for filling the very base of the baked horn
- grated dark chocolate for topping
- pastry tubes or Ziplocks to disperse the fillings
The Puff Pastry Horns
- Thaw the dough for 40 minutes, unfold, and smooth with a rolling pin on a lightly floured board.
- Depending on how many molds you have, each sheet of puff pastry (two sheets per box) can be cut into eight or nine 1″ strips.
- Squeeze one end of the strip around the point of the mold and twirl the strip around the metal. Lay on a cookie sheet with the end of the strip facing down.
- Per the instructions on the back of the mold package, let the pastry rest for 1/2 hour between wrapping and baking. We waited on the first batch, didn’t on the second, and didn’t notice any difference. See that glass of red wine in back of the wrapped molds? Might of had something to do with it. (I highly recommend having one or two of those on hand during this process.)
- Bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
- Cool for a few minutes (just enough to not melt the fillings), and fill. The Ziplocks weren’t getting the dense chocolate mousse all the way to the bottom of the horn, so we dispensed just enough whipped cream in each one to fill up the point.
- The zabaglione cream was by far the favorite, but I think the chocolate mousse complimented it well. Whatever you decide on, spoon it into a pastry tube or ziplock (cut off a small corner), flill up the horns, grate some dark chocolate on top, and serve.
Between thawing, wrapping, baking, cooling and filling, it does take a bit of time to make these. Once the dough was thawed, we were filling and serving these to order within 40 minutes. During a large holiday meals, a break between the meal and dessert can be a welcome pause. If you want to serve them right after dinner, the horns can be made ahead of time, although the ones we ate that were still a bit warm were melt-in-your-mouth good. A minute or two under a broiler did the trick for leftover horns. We didn’t have any filled horns leftover, so I can’t tell you whether they’ll store well or not if once they’re filled.
My husband’s one complaint? Why hadn’t we ever made these before! They were such a success, I’m planning on making them for New Year’s Eve. Something tells me they’ll go very well with champagne.