Friday, October 22, 2010

Whipped Cream and Rum-Infused Pastry Cream

Today, I've asked the Hubs to guest blog the section on Rum-Infused Pastry Cream since he was the creator behind this deliciously flavorful pastry cream (and I was busy eating cheesy Choux pastries). ;)

But first, let me go through the basics of Whipped Cream. It is so incredibly easy and tastes so much better than your store-bought cans of Redi Whip.  If you haven't tried making your own whipped cream, you must try this because I promise you will never go back to canned versions.  

1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cream of tartar
1/8-1/4 cup of sugar (your preference) 

1. You can beat this by hand, which we (or mostly The Hubs) have done before. However, I always become breathless and exhausted before the whipped cream reaches even soft peaks so I used our Kitchen Aid stand mixer (100 times easier). 

What to expect if mixing by hand: Make sure you whip the cream hard enough to hear the "plopping" of the cream as it mixes with air. Remember, this is not just stirring. The progression of the texture should go from foamy, to thickened, soft peaks, hard peaks, and eventually (if you persist) to chunky!

You can test the peaks by lifting your whisk and you'll see the cream form a little mountain on top of the whisk: soft (weak, droopy mountain) and hard (tall, stiff, shape-holding mountain). Should have taken pictures, but you should get the picture.

Chunky consistency is great for topping on fruit while the hard peaks are great for topping on pies, cakes, and tortes, etc.

2. Pour whipping cream into your mixer/bowl. Begin whipping the cream at medium speed and begin by adding the salt and cream of tartar. 

3. Slowly, begin adding the sugar as the whipped cream is beaten. You want to do this early on in the process before the cream begins to thicken and feel free to stop the whipping and taste the sweetness to make sure the flavor is right. 

We used this whipped cream for our Choux Pastries and used our handy Ziplock pastry bags to fill the puffs. 

Happy Whipping! 

Rum-Infused Pastry Cream
Everything is better with pastry cream!  This is a recipe for a very traditional creme patissiere that you can use to fill eclairs, puffs, fruit tarts or just to squirt in your mouth.  There are a few different types of egg/custard based pastry creams and this is one of the richer, more dense types.  You can lighten it up, as I did, with whipped egg-whites and turn creme patissiere to the more fancy creme saint-honore.  This recipe makes enough to fill 2 large tarts or about 45 puffs.

1 cup of sugar
5 egg yolks
1/2 cup flour
2 cups boiling milk
1 tablesppon butter
vanilla extract

Optional (additional) flavors:
Rum, cognac, orange liqueur, coffee liqueur, instant coffee, coconut vodka, semisweet chocolate

1. Mix the egg yolks and sugar and continue beating for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is pale and ribbon-like.

2. Beat in the flour.

3. Prepare the milk to a boil and add the milk to the mixture very, very slowly.  If you rush this, you will get scrambled eggs!

4. Pour the entire mixture into a saucepan and stir the entire pot with a wire whip and be sure to scrape off any bits from the bottom.  Take care to keep the bottom moving quickly otherwise that will be the first layer to cook and scramble.

5. Heat the mixture until a minimal boil and let no more than a few bubbles rise to the top.  Drop the heat to low and continue to stir aggressively.  The mixture should thicken slowly.

6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter to create a sheen.  Then, add the flavorings.  The most simple version calls for 1 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract.  The PG-13 version calls for about 2-3 tablespoons of rum in addition to a splash of vanilla.  Chocolate pastry cream can be made with adding 3 oz of melted chocolate with some rum, coffee or vanilla to round out the extra richness of chocolate.

7. If the mixture is too thick, beat 3-4 egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.  Fold in the egg whites into the custard.  You may need to sacrifice 1/4 to 1/3 of the egg whites to lighten the pasty cream before the rest of the whites are folded and fluffed into the mixture.

8. Chill the mixture for at least 3-4 hours.  It will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.  Add the cream to your favorite dessert! 

1 comment:

  1. These look so delicious. I'm scared to mess up making them, though. I'll just admire yours for now.

    PS Our KitchenAid mixers are twins.