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Sunday, August 3, 2014

Recipe: Chocolate Pate a Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches

Recipe: Chocolate Pate a Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches

Baked and Churned 08.03.14

An ice cream sandwich may very well be the perfect Summer dessert (or breakfast?).

But a Chocolate Pate a Choux Ice Cream Sandwich filled with a Lemon Poppy Dessert Wine Ice Cream with White Truffle and Raspberry? That's just decadent crazy talk!

It's also this week's recipe...

Chocolate Pate a Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches


Chocolate Pate a Choux / Lemon / Poppy / Dessert Wine / White Truffle / Raspberry


Pate a Choux is an amazingly versatile dough that is the base for everything from sweet eclairs to savory gruyere cheese puffs. When paired with a Lemon Poppy Dessert Wine Ice Cream, this particular chocolate incarnation becomes the foundation for a decidedly adult take on an ice cream sandwich.

- The Recipe -

Chocolate Pate a Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches:

Pate a Choux is a unique dough in that it is cooked twice - once on the stove when the ingredients are first mixed and again in a hot oven where the dough inflates dramatically.  

The initial stove-top heating tenderizes the gluten in the flour, preventing the elastic protein bonds from forming. It also causes the starches in the flour to swell, transforming the would-be batter into a paste-like dough.

Sweet Chocolate Pate a Choux - twists from tradition

When working with pate a choux, the end goal is typically a pastry that has achieved "maximum puffiness" while also being firm, crisp and hollow. This particular recipe has been written to create the best sweet and chocolatey base for an ice cream sandwich.

Most traditional pate a choux recipes call for little to no sugar. The dough remains a neutral base that finds its sweetness in various filings. Excluding sugar also aids in the "puffing process". When using a sugarless dough, it's possible to use a higher temperature oven (one over the 350 degree Fahrenheit burning temperature of sugar) for longer. This is better for producing steam and inflating the pastries. Sugar also interrupts the structure of the dough, further limiting would-be puffiness.

So at the expense of a little lift, this recipe adds a material amount of sugar. But if you want to create those oh-so-puffy shells, by all means consider the sugar optional

Yield: 6 Very Large Puffs 

Prep Time

Chef’s note: While this particular recipe was written with the Lemon Poppy Dessert Wine Ice Cream in mind, you can fill these puffs with anything you like.

  • Water - 240g (1 Cup)
  • Butter - 112g (0.5 Cup / 1 Stick)
  • White Granulated Sugar - 50g (0.25 Cup) - Optional
  • Bread Flour - 125g (1 Cup)
  • Cocoa Powder - 10g (2 Tbls) - Optional
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Large Eggs - 3 Whole Eggs plus 2 Egg Whites


1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. For best results while baking, preheat the oven with a baking stone on a lower rack. This will increase the heat radiating from below the pastries as they bake.

2. Combine the water, butter and sugar in a medium-sized pot and heat to just below the boiling point. In a mixing bowl, thoroughly combine the flour, cocoa power and salt. Add the flour mixture to the hot liquid in the pot and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. The flour should quickly absorb the liquid and form a solid ball that freely moves within the pot (i.e. it does not stick to the sides or bottom).

Chef’s note: Making the dough without cocoa powder and with less sugar (as little as 1 Tbls) will result in more dramatically puffed final pastries, although ones with considerably less flavor.

3. Reduce the heat to low and continue to stir the dough in the pot for about three minutes (allowing more of the water to evaporate). Do not allow the dough to brown.

4. Transfer the dough to a large mixing bowl and let it slightly cool for two to three minutes. When the dough is no longer hot, add the whole eggs one at a time, continuing to stir the dough until the egg is fully incorporated before adding the next egg. The egg will initially slide around the dough and may seems as though it will not mix; however, the egg will eventually mix into the dough. The dough should continue to resemble a paste, not a batter. Add the egg whites, one at a time. If the dough appears moist enough, you may only need one egg white.

Chef’s note: The dough must be cool enough so as not to cook the eggs when added; however, the eggs will not mix well into the dough if it cools too much.

5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat. Fit a pastry bag with a medium-sized tip and fill the bag with the pate a choux (alternatively, you can use a plastic freezer bag with a cut corner or simply spoon the dough onto the parchment).  Pipe 6 large puffs, holding the bag at a 90 degree angle.

Chef’s note: The larger the puff, the more difficult it is for the pastry to rise and retain its inflated shape after baking. Make smaller sandwiches for puffier results.

6. Bake the puffs in the oven for 15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. After 15 minutes, reduce the heat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit and rotate the pan. Bake for up to an additional 30 minutes (for a total baking time of 45 minutes) or until the shells are lightly browned and the inside is fully cooked. If you are baking the chocolate version, you will not be able to monitor browning and may need use one pastry as a test for doneness.

Chef’s note: The initially high heat helps the outer shell of the pastry set. It is also necessary to create the steam that gives the pastry its puffiness. The subsequent lower-temperature continues to bake the dough on the interior without burning the shell.

7. Remove the puffs from the oven and poke a hole in the bottom, allowing excess steam to escape. Cool the puffs on a cooling rack. Once cool, slice the sandwiches in half and fill with Lemon Poppy Dessert Wine Ice Cream (or any filling of your choice).

Chef’s note: The puffs do not keep long (less than 24 hours) and will soften quickly when exposed to the air. They can be re-crisped in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for five minutes.

- The Finished Product -

Piped Chocolate Pate a Choux Dough

Group of Piped Chocolate Pate a Choux Puffs

Group of Pate a Choux Ice Cream Sandwiches

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