Sweet Potato Eclairs with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

Getting some more fall recipes in before winter hits.

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Use a sturdy wooden spoon to beat the choux so it doesn’t crack in half like my last wooden spoon.

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And boy do I hope you like marshmallows because there is a lot of them in this recipe.

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I added some mini marshmallows for cuteness.

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The eclairs are filled with a sweet potato pastry cream. So overall this eclair is pretty sweet. I’d say if that concerns you to go for a decorating style that tones down on the amount of marshmallow frosting (like spreading a thin layer of marshmallow over the top instead), or to reduce the amount of sugar in the pastry cream (at your own risk).

I got the recipe idea from here, but used my own recipe for the marshmallow frosting and choux pastry.

Ingredients (makes about 12 eclairs)

Choux pastry (Pâte à Choux if you want to be fancy)

  • 90g whole milk
  • 90g water
  • 85g butter (3/4 sticks)
  • 3/4 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 103g all purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 30g large egg whites (slightly less than 1 egg white)
Sweet Potato Pastry Cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 75g sugar
  • 25g cornstarch
  • 55g egg yolks
  • 1g salt
  • 88g (about 1/2 a medium) sweet potato, roasted, cooled, mashed

Swiss meringue (marshmallow) frosting

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 160g granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Additional decorations and optional peripherals

  • Mini marshmallows (to decorate)
  • A petal tip to get the swirl marshmallow pattern (I used Wilton #125)
  • An open star tip to get pipe the eclairs (I used Wilton #827)
  • A blowtorch to brûlée the marshmallows

Method

Choux pastry

  1. Bring the milk, water, butter, sugar, and salt to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Reduce the heat to low, and then add all the flour at once.
  3. Beat the mixture very well with a wooden spoon until it leaves a film at the bottom of the pan. Keep cooking and stirring nonstop for another 3 minutes to dry but not colour the dough. At this point the ball should start picking up the dough from the bottom of the pan so there is less of the film.
  4. Take the saucepan off the heat and continue to stir the mixture until it has cooled down enough that you can touch the saucepan with your hands/it’s not hot enough to scramble eggs.
  5. Beat the eggs and egg whites together in a bowl and add the egg mixture to the dough in 3 additions, beating the dough well between each addition. The mixture might look wrong at first but just keep beating until a smooth, satiny dough forms. You know the dough has hit the right hydration when you drop the dough from the spoon and it forms a triangle shape.
  6. Scoop the choux dough into a piping bag (with an optional open star tip) and pipe medium-sized éclairs (I aimed for 2-3 biters), leaving some space between each éclair.
  7. Bake in a preheated 180°C/350°F oven for about 30-35 mins, rotating the baking sheets after 20-25 mins if one side starts to brown faster than the other. The choux is done when you tap the bottom and it sounds hollow, and it looks golden brown.
  8. Transfer the choux to cooling racks, and place back in the switched off oven with the oven door ajar to dry the choux out further. Cool to room temperature.

Sweet potato pastry cream

  1. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and sugar together until it’s a pale yellow.
  2. Add cornstarch and salt to the egg yolk mixture and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the milk and vanilla. Bring to a boil and then remove from heat.
  4. While whisking the egg yolk mixture, slowly stream the hot milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture.
  5. Place mixture back on medium heat and bring to a slow boil, stirring continuously, until thickened (about 2-3 mins).
  6. Move to bowl and cool until slightly warm, with plastic wrap directly contacting the cream to prevent a skin from forming.
  7. Beat in the sweet potato until combined.
  8. Put the plastic wrap back over the pastry cream, making sure to directly contact the pastry cream, and cool until completely cooled to room temperature.

Swiss meringue frosting

  1. Place the egg whites into a large heatproof bowl, and set over a saucepan with gently simmering water, making sure the water is not in direct contact with the bowl. Whisk with an electric whisk until the egg whites are foamy, then add the sugar and salt. Whisk until you cannot feel the sugar grains in the egg whites any more (should take about 3 mins).
  2. Remove the bowl from heat, and whisk until the meringue is cool and you achieve stiff peaks. Mix in vanilla.
  3. Place the remaining meringue into a piping bag (with an optional petal tip attached) and set aside.

Assembly

  1. Take an éclair and make two small holes in the bottom with a chopstick.
  2. Place the tip of the piping bag into the hole and fill each choux well with pastry cream, making sure to rotate the choux so you fill all sides of the choux.
  3. Pipe the meringue frosting over the eclair in a zigzag pattern, with the piping tip perpendicular to the eclair.
  4. Top with mini marshmallows, and then torch the marshmallows and meringue with the blowtorch.

Notes

  • This is best served immediately for optimal crispness of the choux, but I refrigerated the choux and they still tasted good the next day. Try not to keep them too long though – they get moist.
  • Some alternative ways to fill éclairs is to cut each éclair lengthwise and then pipe the filling in. This would look especially pretty if you pipe the filling with a patterned tip and you’d probably squeeze more filling into each éclair as well. But I’ve always liked the aesthetic of an uncut éclair better (and it’s also easier to transport without smushing the filling all over the container).
  • A hack to pipe out éclairs is to use a large star-shaped nozzle to direct a circular and even expansion of the éclair while avoiding large cracks in the choux.
  • Also a light dusting of icing sugar over the éclairs before baking is supposed to help with improving the colour of the éclairs but I’ve honestly never noticed a difference with or without the icing sugar.
  • Sprinkling your baking tray with drops of water before baking is also supposed to help with crisping the choux but I think the choux is pretty crispy even without this hack.

Pumpkin-shaped Dinner Rolls

Cuuuuuuuuuuuute.

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Do you want to make Thanksgiving prep even more stressful and time-consuming? Boy do I have the recipe for you.

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I kinda do think the cuteness factor makes it all worth it though. And it’ll make your family (or in my case friends since I made if for Friendsgiving) suuuuper impressed.

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Bondage buns.

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I tried making something similar before but I’ve now learnt the secret of oiled string, which makes untying the bread a breeze.

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The little stems are also made of bread, and have kind of a crouton-like structure. Alternatively you could use pecans as stems, but I think the bread stem is kind of cuter.

pumpkin shaped bread rolls

I got the recipe from the Old Faithful foodwishes.

Ingredients (makes 12)

  • 1 cup milk (about body temperature)
  • 7g (1 packet) instant yeast
  • 1.5 tbsp honey
  • 56g (4 tbsp) butter
  • 375g (3 cups) flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Some oil (to oil the dough and string)

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and knead dough until smooth and elastic.
  2. Oil the dough, cover (either with a damp cloth or with oiled clingfilm), and let rise until doubled in size.
  3. Meanwhile, cut out 4 strings per bun (about 8-10 inches long), and mix with 1 tbsp of oil until all the strings are well-oiled.
  4. When the dough has risen in size, knock down the dough. Set aside some dough to make the stems. Then divide the remaining dough into 12 pieces  (if like me you can’t do this by eye, weigh the dough and then divide the dough into 12 by weight).
  5. Shape each dough piece into a ball, and cover and let rise for 15 mins or until slightly puffy looking.
  6. Lay 4 pieces of string over each other, intersecting at one point (see the original recipe video). Then lay a dough piece smooth side down, centered over the intersection of the strings. Tie each string snugly against the bread (but not squeezing the bread), such that the bread is now divided into 8 sections by the string. The more precise the intersection of strings, the nicer the bread will look.
  7. Cover and let rise for 30 mins, or until the dough has risen enough to bulge out slightly between the strings. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C.
  8. When the dough has risen enough, give a light dusting of flour over the buns for a ~rustic look~. Then bake in the preheated oven for about 18-23 mins (mine took closer to 18), or until golden.
  9. Let cool slightly at room temperature for about 15 mins before cutting the strings.
  10. While the bread is cooling, shape stems from the dough set aside earlier into roughly a triangular shape.
  11. Bake the stems in the oven for about 15 mins. Basically just don’t let it burn. Let stems cool until cool enough to handle.
  12. When you’ve removed the strings from the bread, use a small knife to make a small incision at the top of the bun. Put the stem in pointy side in.

Notes

  • All timings listed are a general guide. It’s better to follow the description (eg doubled in size) rather than the timings, as the timing depends on many factors like the activity of your yeast, or the surrounding temperature.
  • If you’re using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, you might have to activate the yeast first. Warm up the water that was supposed to go into the bread till it’s about body temperature, and then add the yeast into the water. When the mixture is foamy (about 5-10 mins later), the yeast is ready to be used.
  • Make sure you cover all dough with a damp cloth when you’ve not actively working with the dough to make sure the dough doesn’t dry out. This is especially since this recipe involves a lot of shaping so the dough is a lot more likely to dry out while you’re shaping all the buns.

 

Giant Levain-style Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies

What an absolute unit.

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This recipe is based off New York City’s famous Levain bakery‘s chocolate chip cookie.

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Look at the size of each chip! I used Ghirardelli’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Grand Chips, which are about double the size of a standard chip. Which means MORE CHOCOLATE PER BITE.

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The size of the chocolate also contributes significantly to each chonk of a cookie.

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These cookies are beautifully crispy on the edges, but remain soft and gooey in the center.

giant chocolate chip cookie levain style

This recipe was based off this recipe, which was in turn based off this recipe.

Ingredients (makes 8 large cookies)

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened (227g)
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar (150g)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100g)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup cake flour (125g)
  • 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour (188g)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups walnut halves (about 150g, not optional see notes)
  • 2 cups large semi-sweet chocolate chips (just dump in one standard 11oz/311g bag of chocolate chips, see notes for which brand I used)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the sugars and the butter until smooth.
  3. Add the eggs and beat until incorporated with the butter and sugars.
  4. Add the cake flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently fold in the ingredients until the dry ingredients are mixed in.
  5. Add the walnuts and chocolate chips into the batter and gently fold in until they are well-distributed throughout the batter.
  6. Divide the dough into 6oz/170g portions, using your hands to shape them into balls (do not flatten).
  7. Bake each cookie for about 15mins (see notes). You most likely will have to bake these cookies in batches (do not crowd the cookies on the baking sheet). The cookies are done when the top and bottom is very golden.
  8. Let cool for about 15 mins before serving.

Notes

  • The walnuts are needed to give the cookies enough bulk to be a big cookie and still have the right texture.
  • I found that the original recipe’s suggested baking time of 11 mins was way too short for my tastes and you could barely pick up the finished product. So adjust to your tastes.
  • If you decide to refrigerate/freeze your dough before baking, make sure to let the dough thaw to room temperature before baking or the inside of the cookie will be too raw.
  • I used these grand semi-sweet chips from Ghirardelli.
  • These cookies freeze well, both before and after baking.

Wild Rice and Cranberry Sourdough

Back to my sourdough roots.

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So it was Sally‘s (my sourdough starter) 4th birthday and I needed to bake something to celebrate it.

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And it was time to celebrate her tenure in Minnesota by incorporating some wild rice. Just adds a little toasty something to the bread.

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The molasses and balsamic vinegar in the bread also adds some depth and complexity of flavour, and also complemented the earthiness of the wheat flour used. And the honey and dried cranberries just gives a little sweet contrast to everything.

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I adapted the recipe from here.

Ingredients

  • 123g active sourdough starter (mine was an all white starter at 100% hydration)
  • 19g wild rice
  • 220g water
  • 3g instant yeast
  • 250g strong white bread flour
  • 116g whole wheat flour
  • 13g balsamic vinegar
  • 7g molasses
  • 7g honey
  • 8g salt
  • 1 cup (about 113g) dried cranberries

Method

  1. Cook the wild rice – in a small saucepan, cover the wild rice with enough water so that all the wild rice is submerged. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat to low. Cook the rice, covered, for about 45 mins. Check occasionally to make sure the water hasn’t boiled off (top off with water if this happens). The rice is cooked when some of the kernels have burst open. Drain any excess water and let cool.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the starter, water, instant yeast, flours, balsamic vinegar, molasses, honey, and salt, until all the flour is hydrated. Cover, and let autolyse (see notes) for 5 mins.
  3. Knead for about 5 mins. Then add the cooked wild rice and dried cranberries into the dough using the pincer and fold method. Shape the dough into a ball, cover, and let rest for 10 mins.
  4. Stretch and fold your dough. Leave for 10 mins.
  5. Stretch and fold your dough two more times, leaving 10 mins before each stretch and fold.
  6. After the last fold, shape the dough into a ball, cover, and place into the fridge to rise overnight.
  7. The next day, remove dough from refrigerator and let warm up at room temperature for about 2 hours.
  8. Shape the dough into a ball and place into a well-floured banneton, seam-side up. Let rise until 1.5 times in size, about 1-2 hours.
  9. Meanwhile, place your dutch oven in the oven and preheat to 260°C.
  10. Once the dough has finished rising, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, seam side down. Take the dutch oven out of the oven. Carefully place the dough into the dutch oven, and score the dough. Cover and return the dutch oven to the oven.
  11. Bake the bread at 260°C for 30 mins with the lid of the dutch oven on.
  12. After 30 mins, take the lid off and reduce the temperature of the oven to 230°C. Bake for an additional 15 mins.
  13. Remove the dutch oven from the oven, and transfer the bread to a cooling rack.
  14. Let the bread cool for at least 1h before cutting.

Notes

  • My starter was at 100% hydration. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out my previous recipe on classic white sourdough.
  • Autolysing just means letting your flour sit with the water before you add any salt or yeast. This is supposed to make the bread easier to handle and have better structure and taste since the flour absorbs the water or something. More here.
  • Turning and folding means you don’t knead the dough. It’s just an alternative method to build structure in the dough usually used for higher hydration sourdoughs, but it can be used for any bread really. Up to your personal preference.
  • Scoring helps direct the shape your bread will rise when baked. And it looks pretty.
  • If you don’t have a dutch oven, you can try baking it like I used to with a pan filled with water at the bottom of the oven to create steam, for example in this recipe.
  • The rising times listed are a general guide. It’s better to follow the description (eg doubled in size) rather than the timings, as the timing depends on many factors like the activity of the starter, or the surrounding temperature.
  • If you’re using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast, you might have to activate the yeast first. Warm up the water that was supposed to go into the bread till it’s about body temperature, and then add the yeast into the water. When the mixture is foamy (about 5-10 mins later), add the yeast-water back into the bread at the step where the water is supposed to be added.

Mini Pumpkin Cheesecake Tarts

Spoopy spoopy.

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This all started when I watched this video from The Scran Line and I just really liked the aesthetic of skulls crying blood.

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(I flipped that corner tart on purpose to show that ~crisp~ bottom)

But I didn’t want to make an entire cake and wanted the flavours to be a bit more seasonal so I settled on mini pumpkin cheesecake tarts.

spooky skull mini pumpkin cheesecake tart

This is essentially a mini spice-y pie crust with a white chocolate pumpkin cheesecake filling. The tarts are topped with (slightly over-whipped by accident) stabilised whipped cream to add some lightness, and the stabilised cream means you can make this beforehand and the cream will still taste fresh and airy.

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I got the tart recipe from here but added some ~pumpkin spice~ and ground ginger. The filling is from here, and I followed this for the stabilised whipped cream.

The mould for the skulls is from here.

Ingredients (makes about 10 mini tarts)

Crust

  • 2 1/4 cups (10 oz./281g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (3.5 oz./100g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 2 tsp pumpkin spice + 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (7 oz./200g) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 egg
  • Ice water, as needed
  • 2 tbsp melted butter (to brush the muffin tin)

Pumpkin cheesecake (will make more than needed for 10 tarts so you could double the crust if you wanted to make 20 tarts instead)

  • 2 cups cream cheese softened (458g)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed (100g)
  • 4 oz white chocolate melted (113g)
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 2 large eggs room temperature

Stabilised whipped cream

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp powdered gelatin (I used Knox)
  • 2 tbsp cold water

White chocolate skulls and bloody tears

  • About 12oz white chocolate (340g)
  • Corn syrup
  • Red food colouring

Method

Crust

  1. Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and spices.
  2. Using a food processor, pulse the butter with the flour mixture until the mixture looks like corn meal. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
  3. Mix in the egg.
  4. Add 1 tbsp of ice water at a time until the mixture comes together and forms a big ball.
  5. Flatten the ball into a disc and cover the disc in plastic wrap. Place the disc in the fridge for 30 mins.
  6. Meanwhile, brush the cavities of the muffin tin with melted butter to make sure the dough does not stick to the tin.
  7. Remove the chilled dough and roll to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut out rounds of dough larger than the cavity of the muffin tin, and use your fingers to press the dough flat against the bottom corners of the pan and up the walls of the cavities. If air bubbles form, use a fork to dock the dough and press down to get rid of the air bubbles.
  8. Freeze the dough in the pan for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.
  9. Remove the pan from the freezer and fit a cupcake liner on top of each crust and fill with pie weights (I used dried beans).
  10. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.
  11. Remove the cupcake liners with the pie weights from each crust and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  12. Let the pie crust cool for 10 minutes before adding the filling. Meanwhile, lower the temperature of the oven to 325°F/160°C.

Cheesecake filling

  1. While the crust is baking, make the cheesecake filling.
  2. Use a hand mixer or stand mixer to blend the cream cheese, sugar, melted white chocolate, and pumpkin spice together until smooth, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the pumpkin puree and mix until combined.
  4. Add each egg one at a time, mixing well between, until the mixture is smooth and evenly blended.
  5. Add the cheesecake mixture into the cooled tart crust.
  6. Bake in the preheated 325°F/160°C oven for 20-25 minutes or until the filling is just set (if you jiggle the pan the middle should still be slightly wobbly but the edges should not jiggle).
  7. Transfer tart pan to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes, then remove the tarts from the pan to cool completely to room temperature.

Stabilised whipped cream

  1. While the tarts are cooling, make the stabilised whipped cream. Bloom the gelatin by sprinkling the gelatin over the water and letting it sit for 5 minutes (making sure all the gelatin is hydrated – this is to stop grainy lumps in the whipped cream).
  2. Once the gelatin is bloomed, heat in the microwave for 5 seconds to melt. If not fully melted, microwave in 3s bursts, stirring well in between each bust. Do not overheat.
  3. Add in 1 tsp of cream to the gelatin and mix.
  4. Whip the cream to soft peaks and add in the powdered sugar. Slowly drizzle in the melted gelatin, while whipping the cream. Continue whipping to stiff peaks.
  5. Pipe the whipped cream over the completely cooled tarts. Store the tarts in the fridge until completely chilled before serving.

White chocolate skulls and bloody tears

  1. To make the white chocolate skulls, melt the white chocolate and pour into the moulds. Tap the mould sharply onto the counter to ensure there are no trapped air bubbles. Place in the fridge for about 15 minutes or until the chocolate has set. Remove the mould from the chocolate, and use a paring knife to neaten the edges. You might want to wear gloves for this so the chocolate doesn’t melt in your hands as quickly and you don’t leave fingerprints over the skulls.
  2. To make the tears of blood, just mix corn syrup with red food colouring and pipe into the eye sockets of the white chocolate skull. Pipe the tears of blood right before serving (see notes).

Notes

  • The white chocolate skulls are basically pure solid white chocolate so it can be a bit rich.
  • The stabilised whipped cream can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days.
  • The tears of blood will thin out and get absorbed by the cream after a couple of hours so only pipe the blood right before you serve.