Tuesday 20 July 2021

Ginger Puffs with Eggnog Custard

As promised here are my festive puffs, sneaking in just in time for Christmas in July. I love these, sponge and cream with an eggnog custard and gingerbread spices. They are polarising in our house, and since we're still in lockdown, the testing sample sits at 2-2; although one of the negatives doesn't really like cake, just one very specific chocolate cake, so let's call it 2-1.

The recipe is pretty flexible, if you don't like cloves, sub for 1/4 tsp of ground nutmeg, or just leave it out all together; similarly the brandy can be swapped for your spirit of choice. I was so close to using Cointreau, orange pairs beautifully with ginger, but went with brandy for my inner eggnog purist. The whipped cream here is stabilised with gelatin, you could absolutely omit this step and simply use softly whipped cream, the puffs will be a little more delicate, and definitely messier to eat! 

If you don't have patty pan tins, these can be baked on baking paper lined trays, just carefully drop dessert spoons of the mixture on the trays, allow 5 cm between each little mound.  Bake as instructed below, leaving the puffs to cool on the trays before you remove them. Sponges baked on trays will have the flatter, more traditional powder puff shape. Let me know if you make them, hope you love them too!

ginger powder puffs
(makes 28 mini sponges, for 14 puffs)

45g plain flour
50g cornflour
5g cocoa powder (approximately 2 teaspoons)
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground cloves
pinch salt
1/3 tsp bicarb soda
2 eggs, separated
1/3 tsp cream of tartar
120g caster sugar 


eggnog custard, recipe below
250ml stabilised thickened cream, recipe below

• heat oven to 190ÂșC fan
• grease and flour two 12 hole patty pan trays, and 4 cavities of a 3rd tray, set aside
• mix together the flour, cornflour, cocoa powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt and bicarb soda; sift twice then set aside
• whisk egg whites until foamy, add the cream of tartar, whisk to soft peaks; add the sugar a tablespoon at a time, whisk until the sugar has dissolved before adding the next spoon full, once all the sugar has been added, keep whisking until you have a thick, glossy meringue
• add the egg yolks one at a time, whisking until they are just combined
• sift the flour mix over the whipped eggs and sugar, gently fold through taking care not to over mix
• ease a dessert spoon full of batter into each cavity of the patty pan trays
• bake for 12 minutes, remove from the oven and immediately invert the patty pan trays, give the corner a tap on the bench to release the sponges, then place on a rack, domed side up, to cool
• pair like sized sponges, pipe the eggnog custard on the flat side of one sponge, top with a heaped teaspoon of the stabilised whipped cream, then sandwich with the remaining sponge 
• store puffs in an airtight container in the fridge for at least 3 hours, bring to room temperature to eat.
• puffs will keep in the fridge for 3 days, becoming increasingly softer, and messier to eat!

eggnog custard

170ml milk
2 egg yolks
40g caster sugar
15g cornflour
1 tsp vanilla paste
15g butter
30 ml brandy, or your choice of spirit, an orange liqueur would work well very with the spices
1tsp grated fresh nutmeg

• in a small pan, over medium heat, bring the milk to just below boiling point, you'll see little lines form on the surface
• meanwhile whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, cornflour and vanilla; set the bowl on a damp cloth to stop it dancing around, gradually add the hot milk, whisking enthusiastically
• tip the custard back into the pan, and with the heat on low, whisk continuously.  The custard will thicken quickly, once it starts to bubble, whisk for a further minute then take off the heat.  Add the butter, whisking until smooth, then add the brandy, again whisking to combine
• push the custard through a sieve into a small bowl, press plastic wrap onto the surface of the custard, place in the fridge to cool
• when you are ready to fill the puffs, remove the custard from the fridge and give it a good whisk to smooth it out, add 1/4 of the stabilised cream, fold through using the whisk until combined, grate the fresh nutmeg over the top and stir through
• fit a piping bag with a 5mm open star tip, or similar, and fill with the eggnog custard

stabilised cream

3g gelatin (approximately 1tsp)
20ml water 
250ml thickened cream

• place the water in a heatproof jug or small bowl, sprinkle the gelatin over the water, and set aside for 5 minutes to bloom
• fill a small pan with water to a depth of 5cm, bring to a simmer. Stand the jug in the simmering water until the gelatin mixture melts and becomes liquid, remove the jug and set aside
• whip the cream to soft peaks, check the gelatin, is should be liquid but not hot, if it is hot check again in a couple of minutes, you don't want it to set. As you whisk, pour the gelatin mixture into the cream, keep whisking to a medium peak, use straight away as it will start to set immediately

No comments: