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mud puffs v.1

Mudpuffs031evenTinierTown's roads look a lot like the contents of the Cuisinart. Although it is notably missing the rocks and trees.

Today is the seventh day of the slides. Road-blocking, life-rearranging slides. The state's web site says "road closed until further notice," which doesn't sound all that bad, it's only one road, after all, you can always choose another route. From here, that involves a ferry, followed by an hour's drive through another state (on another road that has issues) and a bridge back across the river. Or I could drive "around," that being an extra three hours over roads that have had water over them at times for the last week or three. Because the hour and a half out of the way "around" is closed due to the road buckling a few weeks back. Unless it's like the other day when the road was closed in all directions within a couple of miles from my house.

But I digress.

Our local shelter for domestic violence survivors is having a Chocolate Extravaganza fundraiser this week and, inspired by the condition of the roads, I'm creating an original dessert.

It starts with the goo in the cuisinart, which is chocolate espresso pate choux dough, made by substituting fresh espresso for the water in a regular pate choux recipe, adding some cocoa powder and reducing the flour just a bit. It turned out a bit more bitter and with less of a chocolate hit so it'll be tweaked a bit for the actual event; half espresso and half milk for the water, an extra spoon of sugar, and maybe a little more cocoa.

Note to self: Piping petite pastry puffs is a pain without a proper pastry pantry. Purchase package of pastry paraphernalia.

Once baked, the puffs are filled with a mixture of melted chocolate, butter, and orange juice, cooled to room temperature, then lightened with whipped cream. Shavings of bittersweet chocolate and chopped orange zest were added when the last part of the whipped cream was folded in. There are the usual adjustments — it's a bit heavy and not orangey enough — but it's good enough to stick your finger into the the too-small  pastry tips to dig out the remnants of filling.

Mudpuff2Finally, they were given a scattering of chopped praline, a sprinkling of shaved chocolate, and a swirl of orange zest. That was last night.

Today, I added a drift of powdered sugar and a drizzle of melted bittersweet. We ate those before I got around to taking a picture.

The culinary inspiration for the mudPuff comes via a pair of recipes from my recent Hands-on Pastry class at the Herbfarm (about which, there will be more soon). Toby Kim and Sarah Fitzgibbons (I hope I got that right) led us in making pate choux and a chocolate torte, as well as ice cream and souffles. Deep bow in the direction of Woodinville. I think this is a lovely adaptation of some of these recipes, and since we had to drive around the mudslides — the first of which occured the night before class — it seems fitting.

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