Valentine’s Day is one of those filler holidays that people have a lot of opinions about. I suppose I’ve had a mix myself over the years. These days, I reflect on the memories of the awesome 90’s Valentine cards and treats we would exchange in grade school, and It makes me the happiest. I won’t lie, I don’t find the holiday particularly inspiring. I tend to pull away from sticky sweet colors, and I don’t care for most of the candy, so I added my twist this year.
The use of dehydrated strawberries is one of my favorite parts. They have a sweet and tangy flavor that pairs well with the whipped cream, and the powder makes the perfect muted pink color. The technique can be used with other dehydrated berries, so if strawberries aren’t for you, get creative with it!
Cream Puffs are one of the easiest desserts you can whip up, and if it’s not cream puffs you desire, the Pâte à Choux can be used for all sorts of desserts! The filling isn’t a regular pastry cream, but the whipped strawberry cream compliments the pastry shell. It gives just enough of that sweet flavor without overdoing it. Dusted with a little powdered strawberry, and it all comes right together. The shells and cream can be made a day ahead and stored, as long as you assemble them right before eating.
Strawberry Cream Puffs
- Food Processor
- Pastry Bags with a large round tip
- wooden spoon
- Parchment paper
Pate a Choux
- 1/2 cup Whole Milk
- 1/2 cup Water
- 7 tbsp Unsalted Butter Cubbed
- 1 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 cups AP Flour
- 6 Eggs Large/ room temperature
- 1 cup Dried sliced strawberries
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream
Pate a Choux
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. line 2 baking sheets with parchment and set aside.
- Bring milk, sugar, butter, and salt to a full boil in a medium saucepan. Stir continually until the butter melts.
- Add the flour all at once, stirring constantly.
- When the dough balls up a bit and there is a thin film forming on the pan's bottom, you're ready to add the eggs. Place the contents in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Incorporate 5 of the 6 eggs, beating in one at a time. After you've added the 5th egg, lift the paddle. If the paste forms a loose peak there is no need for the additional egg. If not, beat in the last egg.
- On the lined baking sheet, pipe 1 1/2 inch mounds of the paste about an inch apart. Use your fingers or a small spoon dipped in cold water to smooth out any peaks. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 375 degrees for about 10 minutes longer, or until they are golden brown and mostly firm.
- Remove the puffs from the oven and cut a small slit, where you will eventually cut the cap off, to release steam. Turn off the oven and immediately place them back into the warm oven. Prop the door open with a wooden spoon and allow them to dry out inside for about 30 minutes.
- Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a food processor, pulse the dehydrated sliced strawberries until they are a fine dust. Add in the sugar and pulse until the sugar is very fine with no lumps and looks like it smokes when you remove the processor's lid. Divide the strawberry sugar in half.
- Using a chilled bowl and a stand or hand mixer, whip the cream until firm. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the strawberry sugar to the whipped cream until combined and stiff peaks form. Allow the cream to chill until the puffs are ready to be filled.
- Once the puffs have cooled completely, Cut a cap off and fill with the strawberry cream. You can use a small heart cookie cutter and press out heart shapes or replace them on top as is. Dust with more strawberry sugar and serve immediately.
However you plan to celebrate (Or not celebrate), I hope you will give these a go.
*The Pâte à Choux recipe is adapted from a recipe featured on the PBS show Baking with Julia*