Sunday, November 28, 2010

(C)hanuk(k)ah: Pomegranate Mascarpone Cream Puffs

Before I get into my usual ranting, I'd like to announce the winner of my "Quiche Is Better Than Green Bean Casserole" Contest. There were some wonderful entries that produced a few chuckles on my part, but I did not judge the contest--my mom did. I watched her deliberate yesterday and have determined that her decision was based solely on what best represented something I would say. She declared Kimmie's entry a very me thing to say, thus making her the winner. Congrats!

Moving on, I have to rant for a moment. I have this really great idea for a Chanukah post, but the world seems to be conspiring against me. You see, I think it's time Fox News stops decrying the "War on Christmas" and starts rallying against the "War on Chanukah." You see, my dear readers, yesterday I went to six different stores--all normally filled with the Chanukah spirit--and none of them had more than a foot of wall space for my holiday. A few even had nothing. And then I went to a few kitchen stores, and they, too, were devoid of religious frivolity for yours truly. I live in West Los Angeles! We have Jews! Lots of Jews! Why, dear readers, has my holiday been cast into the unknown and buried under cinnamon potpourri and gaudy mirrored balls? Why cannot I place a plastic menorah in my front window and wrap my (non-existent) banister in blue and white garland? Why can't I have one stupid mini Star of David cookie cutter? Why must the corporate world deny me this pleasure? Why?

I already had this thing. The color denotes my
sadness and disappointment.
Uh, so clearly that post has been put on hold until I figure something else out. This, however, as titled, is a Chanukah post as well. I know you goyim think we Jews just indulge in fried food for eight days a year. Hell, some Jews think this too. But you're all wrong. We also eat cheese. Glorious, glorious cheese. We do this to celebrate Judith, a woman who heroically fed some dude wine and cheese and then cut off his head, only to bring it back to the Jews for a little motivation. You can read about that here, since beheading and cheese are the only things I found important enough to disclose. Since I don't eat fried food, I decided that, this year, I would celebrate a beheading and eat some cheese. Mascarpone cheese, to be exact. It is only a coincidence that the pomegranate is a prevalent symbol in Judaisim, as I really wanted to make a cranberry curd to add to the cheese.

As for this recipe, I have to tell you that if I had know that pâte a choux was this easy to make, I would have made it earlier. It tastes exactly like the eclairs and cream puffs you'd buy at a bakery. I also really enjoy the pomegranate mascarpone cream, and you will too if you enjoy mascarpone. Apparently, as Twitter has verified, this versatile cheese is an acquired taste, reviled by some (including my brother). Who knew?

And I guess you could make these for Christmas. Whatever.

Pomegranate Mascarpone Cream Puffs

Pomegranate Syrup
3/4 cup pomegranate juice
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 tsp. cornstarch + 2 Tbsp. juice

Mascarpone Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup + 1/4 cup sugar
8 ounces mascarpone

1. Mix cornstarch with 2 tablespoons juice until dissolved. Bring pomegranate juice and sugar to a simmer, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add in cornstarch mixture, bring to a boil, and stir for one to two minutes, until thickened. Remove from heat and cool completely. Put in fridge to chill

2. In one bowl, whip together cream and 1/4 cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Place in fridge.

3. When syrup is chilled, in a second bowl, whip together mascarpone, 1/4 cup sugar and pomegranate syrup on medium for 2 minutes until fluffy.

4. Fold whipped cream into mascarpone pomegranate mixture. Chill until ready to pipe.

Pâte a Choux
From Ruhlman
Makes 30 Medium-Sized Puffs

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup flour
1 cup eggs (4 large eggs)
2 Tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 425F.

1. Bring water and butter to a simmer and stir in sugar. Reduce heat to medium, add flour, stirring rapidly until a ball of dough forms in the pot. Allow to cook about 2 more minutes to remove some of the excess water, still stirring continuously. Place dough in the bowl of your mixer, and rapidly beat in eggs, one at a time. Paste will be sticky and smooth.

2. Place paste in piping bag with tip cut off and pipe into mounds 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide, making sure to press tips down before baking. Bake at 425F for 10 minutes, and another 30 minutes at 350F.

3. As close to the time of eating, pipe filling into puffs via the bottom, or cut in half and make a pomegranate mascarpone cream puff sandwich.


Kristina @ spabettie said...

thanks for the giggle - learning of beheading / cheese / wine / motivation and most of all, fried food. :D

these look gorgeous. In all of my years of adventurous baking, I have never attempted a pate a choux... I have always wanted to.

foodwanderings said...

Love this honey girl! These Pomegranate Mascarpone Creme Puffs rock!! Happy Chanukah!!

Ken│hungry rabbit said...

I was holding my breath for something really offensive, not so much. In any case, I adore these tasty little puffs. I can pop them like tic-tacs.

Imwaytoobusy said...

This looks absolutely amazing. The pink mascarpone looks diving! My jaw may have hit the desk when I saw that picture ;) Great work!

Imwaytoobusy said...

That should have been divine, but I guess diving will do! ;)

Jun Belen said...

Didn't know the connection between pomegranates and the Jewish faith... oh my... the neat stuff I learn from food blogs!

Sommer J said...

This is the time of year I love to make choux pastry. My husband begs actually! Love the idea of pomegranate and marscapone as a filling. How inspiring- must try this.

islandeat said...

Oy vey, so what's so wrong with eating fried food for eight days (or 365) days straight? I always get an unbelievable "yen" - as my grandmother Jessie used to say - for latkes as soon as December rolls around...and I'm about as far from observant as one can get.

I do love your pomegranate mascarpone, which could work wonders for many other occasions (Valentine's, Gay Pride, Breast Cancer Awareness in October, and so on - it is not just for Channukah cream puffs any more!



Charmaine @ Speakeasy Kitchen said...

Happy Hanukkah. I'm making these if/when my Kitchenaid gets here.

Yesim said...

sounds great!!

briarrose said...

Wonderful filling. I love the pomegranate flavor.

Legally Married said...

Yum! Looks good - and I'm very excited to know that you're Jewish because I have always wanted to have a Jewish friend (not very many Jews that I know of in Texas)!

Jackie said...

This looks the awesomes. I can't believe it's that hard to get hold of Chanukkah stuff though?! You need to be in North London, innit. Also, yes, choux pastry, SO EASY. It can be a pain to work with, but for the most part, easy. As.

I love these, though. Pomegranate + mascarpone + choux pastry can only really equal one thing = NOM.

Jax x

Isabelle said...

Ooh... I didn't know about cheese being a big deal on (C)hanu(k)kah. Obviously The Boy has been keeping this a secret from me, cheese-hater that he is.
I think I might just have to get my revenge by making fondue for dinner, followed by a batch of these. He'll be so... cheesed. Heh.

Jason Phelps said...

Always a good laugh and of course a recipe worth trying.

Happy Holidays or "happy/merry insert holiday here"?


Wilde in the Kitchen said...

I'm holding myself back from licking the picture of the filling. So pink, so pretty!

Amy said...

Beautiful cream puffs! Creative idea using pomegranate in them, I think I like the idea of that even more than adding the cranberry curd. I love the pink color!

JulieD said...

These sounded amazing on twitter and they look amazing! I'm sorry about the frustration you had shopping. :(

Monet said...

I love your recipes...but I love your writing just as much! I'm so sorry to hear that you can't find any Jewish holiday goodies. What a shame! I hope that changes soon. And I loved hearing about Judith and the tradition of celebrating with cheese. I would love to try one of these beautiful cream puffs! Thank you for sharing. I hope you have a wonderful Tuesday!

Jamie said...

Everything about this post is fabulous! And I can't believe the dearth of Hanukkah anything there is where you live. Here in my French town there is nothing at all. I was in a Tesco in London this weekend and found nothing. Yay for combatting the War on Hanukkah! I love making choux puffs and was also stunned when I found how easy they are to make. ADORE anything with mascarpone and YAY I can eat it in the name of Hanukkah. Fantastic flavored cream and puffs! Great post!

Ms. WhitePlates said...

Anything that combines cheese, beheading and wine is the best in my book. I've been on a Christmas baking kick since about oh, yesterday morning (I get that it's still technically November) since I always leave everything to the last minute and then freak out with the lack of time/something screwed up horribly. Pomegranate is Miss N's favourite thing in the whole wide world and I think she might love you more than me if she sees this so I'm going to make it so she doesn't hike over to LA, Hannukah stuff in hand (we have some).

The Urban Baker said...

I am with you, sista! I am always amazed at how neglected our religion and our holidays are! I am posting hannukah traditions all week and my kids are excited for their celebration! Regardless, your cream puffs look divine. What a fabulous post!

Katie@Cozydelicious said...

This looks amazing! I love the pretty pink cream. I have a dozen pomegranates and have been trying to decide what to do with them... wondering if a spinkle of pomegranate arils in the cream would be yummy or weird?

Carolyn said...

I'm sorry you had such a rough time finding Chanukkah items at the stores near you. Okay, I'm not really, because if you'd found that Star of David cookie cutter, you wouldn't be presenting us with these AMAZING cream puffs. Gorgeous, just gorgeous!

angela@spinachtiger said...

I can't imagine mascarpone being an acquired taste. It's so delicious and I'll eat anything in choux. All religious holidays are fading. Stand up for what you have faith in.

Rosy said...

I love the take on Cream puffs by using pomegranates! A great idea...

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