Chocolate puffs with mascarpone cream…is your mouth watering yet?
Every now and again I make a dessert that really stands out. One that is truly special, both in flavor and appearance. This recipe defied the standard mold of cookie, bar, pie, or cake. It is difficult to put into words how delicious these were. Imagine silky mascarpone cream sandwiched between chocolate puffs as light as the name alludes, but rich and satisfying at the same time. Very decadent.
Top them of with melted chocolate or chocolate ganache, based on your preference. Here’s what they looked like before the additional chocolate drizzle:
The original recipe is from the great baker Dorie Greenspan, someone about whom I had read over and over again on cooking blogs. Until now, I had never dared to replicate her recipes. I now realize I misunderstood the uniqueness of her recipes (and sometimes lengthy steps) for difficulty, as was almost the case with these chocolate puffs. But, due to the convenience of having leftover mascarpone, heavy cream, and chocolate ganache from a previous baking endeavor a few days prior, I decided to go for it. Just for the record, they are worth making a special trip to the store for those ingredients. Don’t be intimidated by the number of steps. Just follow the directions, enjoy them, and share them with someone you love. Valentine’s day is coming up, you know!
Chocolate Puffs with Mascarpone Cream
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (I used dark)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (or whole milk)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
- 1/2 cup whipping cream
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- My not-so-optional addition: 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Also optional (but not really): melted chocolate or ganache for drizzling over top of the filled cream puffs.
- Let eggs stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Position oven racks to divide oven into thirds; preheat to 425F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside. (I did not do this and it still turned out fine)
- For cream puffs, in a medium bowl sift together flour and cocoa powder. In a medium saucepan combine water, milk, butter, sugar, and salt; bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Add flour and cocoa mixture all at once; lower heat slightly. Using a wooden spoon or sturdy heatproof spatula, stir vigorously. The mixture will come together in a ball and there will be a film on the bottom of the pan, but do not stop stirring; give it another minute of energetic beating. Transfer hot dough to a mixing bowl; let rest for 2 minutes.
- Using a whisk (or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat dough 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating very well after each. You’ll have a smooth, shiny dough.
- Using a small cookie scoop or small spoon, place 8 even mounds of dough on each of the prepared baking sheets, leaving at least 1 inch of space between mounds.
- Transfer baking sheets to oven; immediately reduce heat to 375F. Bake for 25-27 minutes or until the puffs feel hollow and lift easily off the paper, rotating the baking sheets from top to bottom and front to pack at the halfway point. Cool to room temperature before filling.
- For filling, in a medium bowl gently stir mascarpone with a spatula to loosen. Beating makes mascarpone turn grainy, so go easy. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl beat whipping cream until it just starts to thicken. Beat in sugar and vanilla extract. Continue to whip until the cream holds medium peaks that stand up nicely and just start to fold over at the top. Stir a spoonful of the cream into the mascarpone to lighten. Gently fold in the remaining cream.
- To assemble, cut cream puffs in half. Using a pastry bag fitted with a large round tip (or a spoon), pipe filing over one half; top with remaining half. To serve, drizzle with chocolate ganache (or melted chocolate), if desired. Makes 16 cream puffs.*A note about storage. Unfilled cream puffs will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. Filling will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Fill cream puffs just before serving.Nutritional Information per Cream Puff (will change depending on if you use heavy cream or whole milk, chocolate or ganache, etc.): 130 calories, 10 g fat, 51 mg cholesterol, 54 mg sodium, 8 g carbs, 0 g fiber, 2 g protein.
Recipe adapted from Dorie Greenspan, Better Homes and Gardens February 2013.