Shamrock Cream Puffs with Crème de Menthe Pastry Cream

I caught a glimpse of one once. I was a child then, and the notion of seeing a leprechaun brought thrills and tingles akin to the sensations one gets upon reaching a roller coaster’s highest peak. Who wouldn’t feel this way? I’m talking magic, mischief, pots of gold and rainbows! I’m fairly confident I saw one. Or was it a matter of imagination in overdrive?

Shamrock Cream Puff by Cakewalker

The elusive leprechaun is a type of fairy whose roots are tapped in Irish folklore. Typically wearing a green or red coat, a hat and a beard, he stands no taller than a small child. Cobblers by trade, he spends his day making shoes, stowing away his coins in a hidden pot of gold where the rainbow ends.

I caught him at work one day, myself,

In the castle ditch where fox-glove grows, -

A wrinkled, wizen’d and bearded Elf,

Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose,

Silver buckles to his hose,

Leather apron – shoe in his lap -

‘Rip-rap, tip-tap,

Tick-tack-too!      

                                 ―William Allingham “The Lepracaun or Fairy Shoemaker”

Butter melting in water and salt - Cakewalker

The choux pulls away from the pot - Cakewalker

Clever as he is, should a leprechaun be caught by a human, he’ll call upon his magical power to grant his captor three wishes in exchange for freedom. Oh the possibilities, the dreams, and the wishes I could conjure up! What would your three wishes be?

Filling the shamrock cutter with choux Filling the choux with pastry cream - Cakewalker

Truth is told, I don’t know if leprechauns exist, and I don’t know for certain they don’t exist. I suppose the same could be said for the Easter bunny and St. Nick. But this I know for sure: if I were granted three wishes, the very first one would be to never lose my child-like imagination.

 

Shamrock Cream Puff - Cakewalker

Choux, or pâte à choux is a light, airy pastry commonly used to make profiteroles, éclairs and croquembouche among other desserts. In the US, bakeries stock their cases with cream puffs made from the same dough. The inspiration for today’s post comes from my friend Jamie Schler, an award-winning writer, who shares her gifts of words and cookery at Life’s A Feast. Her recent piece on choux, centers on a treasured recipe her father used to make treats for her family. I invite you to visit her website, find a comfy place to read for a spell, and have a look around. Fair warning: you may lose track of time!

Shamrock Cream Puffs with Creme de Menthe Pastry Cream by CakewalkerRecipe adapted from Jamie Schler

Shamrock Cream Puffs with Crème de Menthe Pastry Cream

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: Approximately 18 to 20 cream puffs

Serving Size: One

Choux pastry is so easy to make, and this recipe will get you on your way to bringing “wow factor” to your St. Patrick’s Day table!

Ingredients

    For the choux:
  • 1 cup (250 ml) water
  • 1/2 cup (8 Tbsp., 115 g) unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (140 g) flour
  • 4 eggs
  • Crème de Menthe Pastry Cream:
  • 2 cups (450 ml.) whole milk
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • ¾ cup (200 g) sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp. (30 g.) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp. green Crème de Menthe liqueur
  • ¼ tsp peppermint extract
  • Jimmies or nonpareils for decoration (optional)
  • Chocolate Ganache:
  • 1 batch of this recipe
  • Equipment:
  • Pastry bags, a medium-large round tip, and a medium star tip (Wilton #12 round, #18 star)
  • 3-inch shamrock cookie cutter

Instructions

    Make the dough:
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°). Line a large cookie sheet pan/s with oven-safe parchment paper.
  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, heat the water, butter and salt until butter melts and the mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat; add the flour all at once. With a wooden spoon, stir vigorously until the mixture forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the pot.
  • Transfer the dough into a large mixing bowl and, stirring, allowing it to cool for a minute or two. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition (a spatula or whisk may work better for this task than a wooden spoon), until mixture is smooth and creamy. Initially as each egg is added, it will seem like you’re chasing the egg and dough around. Stay with it―the eggs will incorporate.
  • Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium-large round opening with the choux dough. Spritz the interior sides of the shamrock cutter with a non-stick cooking spray. Holding the cutter in place on the parchment lined sheet pan, fill the cutter less than half full by piping the dough in, tracing around the perimeter of the inside edges, then working around to the center. Lift pastry bag and gently smooth out the tip if a peak is left. Gently lift the cookie cutter straight up and away―the shamrock shape should remain. Continue making shamrocks, well-spaced on the cookie sheets until the dough is used. Intermittently re-spray the cookie cutter if the dough begins to stick.
  • Bake for approximately 35 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove the sheet from the oven, replacing this batch for the next in the oven. Allow them to cool completely on a rack.
  • For the Crème de Menthe pastry cream:
  • Dissolve cornstarch in 3/4 cup of the milk; whisk until smooth and there are no lumps; set aside. Combine the remaining milk with the sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Beat the whole eggs, then the yolks into the cornstarch mixture. Pour 1/3 of boiling milk into the egg mixture in a slow stream, whisking constantly so that the eggs do not begin to cook.
  • Add the rest of the hot milk to the egg mixture then return all of it back into the saucepan and return to the heat. Continue whisking (this is important―you do not want the eggs to solidify/cook) until the cream thickens and comes just to a boil. Remove from heat and beat in the butter, vanilla, Crème de Menthe liqueur and peppermint extract. Transfer the pastry cream into a heatproof container. Press plastic wrap firmly against the surface. Chill immediately until ready to use.
  • Filling and assembly:
  • To fill the shamrocks with pastry cream, pierce a small hole in the bottom or side of each puff. Fit a pastry bag with a star tip, fill the bag with cream, gently nuzzle the tip into one choux after the next and fill. Use care to not overfill, or the cream will ooze out.
  • Holding the shamrocks from the bottom edge, dip the tops in viscous, lukewarm chocolate ganache. Place right-side up on a parchment lined tray. If desired, garnish with festive jimmies or nonpareils. Chill in the refrigerator to set the ganache until ready to serve.
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For more St. Patrick’s Day food ideas, check these recipes out:

Leprechaun Cake

Irish Soda Bread

Corned Beef Hash

Irish-French Toast

 

Comments

  1. I love these! What a perfect way to celebrate.

  2. Brooks, This post is so sweet and no worry, you have not lost your child-like imagination. I love the idea of shamrock-shaped cream puffs for St. Pat’s Day. The creme de menth pastry cream is the perfect touch. Pinning this sweet delight!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      You’re a dear for the Pin, Joan, thanks! The cool, minty cream truly complements the pastry and chocolate.

  3. Those are absolutely fantastic! When Sophie was in kindergarten, on St. Patrick’s Day the teachers ‘pranked’ each of the kids’ desks while they were out. Sophie came home so excited that leprechauns had visited their room. I wonder if these glorious cream puffs would remind her of that.

  4. Brooks,
    I feel pretty certain that you need not concern yourself with worry over losing your imagination. I have yet to attempt my hand at choux, your inspiring work and excellent referral to Jamie Schler will no doubt give me an advantage at my starting point. Thanks for this great post!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      You’re welcome, Dan, and thank you for the compliment. Best wishes in making your first try at choux!

  5. Oh, these are fun! What an inspired, creative dish. Really good stuff — thanks so much.

  6. Hello Brook, thanks for stopping over at my site so I could find your delicious corner of the internet. Fluffy cream puffs with a mint filling and a chocolate ganache, I don’ t think there is a better way to celebrate St. Patty’s Day. Look forward to keeping in touch. Take Care, BAM

  7. Brooks,
    I have yet to make choux, but I did make pastry cream for the first time. Your cream puffs are so festive, and I like the shamrock shape. You have the spirit of a leprechaun and thanks for sharing the story!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      You’re welcome, Becky. Choux is easy to make, from a handful of humble ingredients, but the impression it makes to the eye and its taste is grand. You can do this, I know!

  8. So fun! I hear eclairs are the new macaron! I’m on it. I’m sharing a small batch next week, because I could eat 6 dozen by myself. I love your green version!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      Thank you so much, Christina—I appreciate the tweet too! I hadn’t made choux in years, until Jamie’s post reminded me of the confection. It’s great to have you here.

  9. Brooks, these are gorgeous! And if I’m going to eat chocolate, I like it with the addition of mint, orange or coffee; so I know I’d like these. I grew up with cream puffs and eclairs and love making them. Usually, I just plop the choux onto the baking sheet with a spoon. Occasionally, I take the time to put it into a piping bag. But I’ve never used a cookie cutter to make cute shapes!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      The notion to use a cutter for shape popped in my head one day. I don’t know whether or not it’s been done before, but I’m happy with the result. Thank you for the lovely comment, Jean!

  10. Seriously give me a spoon and that pastry cream. LOVE these!!

  11. I am most definitely enjoying the magical whimsy of your latest creation, Brooks. What a great way to celebrate St. Patty’s day!

  12. These are so cute that they need to be made for every holiday and special occasion! :)

  13. Hi Brooks, I spotted you over at That Skinny Chick can Bake and thought I’d pop over (normally I don’t really peruse comments but your comment was the last one) — what a coincidence, I will be posting heart shaped pâte à choux on Monday but I never thought to use a cookie cutter mould for the process, how easy is that? I’m definitely going to put this little tip in the archives for my next experiment with Pâte à Choux, thanks so much. By the way, your shamrocks are very clever; I’m quite impressed at how well the pastry has puffed up too, leaving a nice little nook for the pastry cream. The Crème de Menthe cream is outstanding and I happened to have a bottle crystallizing in my liquor pantry as I write this. I’m going to check out more of your blog, I’m sure I’ll be back again.

    • Brooks Walker says:

      Much obliged, Eva! Thank you for the compliment, and welcome—it’s a pleasure to have you here.

  14. I’ve seen one too. Absolutely. GREG

  15. I was wondering how the heck you made your shamrock cream puffs. Brilliant! It opens up so many new options…I just hope I can execute mine as well as yours. What a lovely St. Paddy’s Day treat. Enjoy your weekend!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      Thank you, Liz! May you and yours have a splendid weekend too. BTW, I have complete faith in your skills to execute these cream puffs.

  16. That is so much fun!!!! I love it. What a great idea too. That is really quite creative!

  17. These are so much fun and I really like your detailed tutorial :)
    I pinned these so I can make them next year for St.Paddy’s day or maybe even sooner…lol :P

  18. The loss of a childlike imagination is a sad thing indeed. Never, ever lose that, Brooks! Seems like I haven’t seen you in forever. I do hope all is well!!

  19. I love Jamie’s recipes – she’s the real deal.

    I’ve never seen a leprechaun before but I once heard Rudolf on the roof. Close enough?

    Profiteroles are my husband’s favorite dessert. I’ve never asked if he’s seen a leprechaun before but if it’s a requirement to get these, he’ll say yes. :)

    • Brooks Walker says:

      I love it, Maureen. Yes, Rudolph counts, and no leprechaun sighting is required for the profiteroles!

  20. Jamie sent me and I’m so glad she did; I love these!

  21. Brooks, I am sorry I didn’t get here before to comment. I am always so thrilled when something little old me bakes inspires you, such a talented pastry chef. Your shamrock puffs are incredible! And wowee I learned something today – I never knew one could shape puffs by piping them into cookie cutter forms! Oh, the possibilities! Yours are fabulous!

    • Brooks Walker says:

      Jamie, you’re a dear. Thank you for the gracious compliment, and for sharing your fabulous recipe!

Trackbacks

  1. […] bakes. Or you could use a heart shaped mould sprayed a bit with non-stick spray like Brooks did in this post on his lovely blog Cakewalkr. I just came across Brooks’ blog quite by accident but I am so […]

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