Valentine’s Day Chocolate Pudding Puff Heart

I am so very happy to be blogging again!  What a way to start, but with a Valentines heart!  This is a cream puff heart topped with a rich chocolate pudding. Two sauces to accompany it, then a flavored powder sugar to dust it with.  Let’s getting going…..

We will make the sauces and the filling first, this way they have time to cool.

Raspberry Sauce  

  • 12 oz bag of frozen Raspberries
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup water

Place all ingredients into a small saucepan cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes.  The berries will break down and the sugar will melt.SAM_0593  Pour into a fine mesh strainer and push down and around with a spatula to get all the juices.  Don’t forget to scrape the underside of the strainer, there will be a lot of the yummy berry juices there too. SAM_0597 Cover and refrigerate.

Rich Chocolate Sauce

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips

Heat the cream and sugar together until it comes to a boil, then pour over the chips. SAM_0594Stir to melt, then add 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract.  Let cool.

Oh, So Chocolatey Pudding (Pastry Cream)

  • 4 Cups Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 2 Whole Eggs
  • 5 Tblsp Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Whipping Cream (to use later)

Bring the milk and the first 1/2 Cup sugar to a boil.  Stirring occasionally. Put the remainder of the ingredients into a heat proof bowl and whisk.  Pour the boiling milk and sugar mixture over this and whisk until blended.  Pour back into the pan and cook, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. (about 3 minutes) Take off heat and stir in 2 oz butter (half stick), 1 Tblsp Vanilla and 1 Cup semi sweet chocolate chips.  Stir until all chips and butter are melted, and everything is combined.  Cover with saran wrap, pull back a corner of the wrap to allow steam to escape. Refrigerate.SAM_0603

Preheat oven to 375 degree

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. (If you don’t have parchment paper, you can pipe the dough right onto the ungreased baking sheet) You can draw 3 hearts onto each piece of parchment paper, if using, as a guide.SAM_0608 Just make sure to flip the paper over, this way the ink or pencil used won’t be baked onto the dough. (I did this years ago in Pastry class, I had to throw out the dough and start over! Yikes!)

Cream Puff Hearts (Pate A Choux)

  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/2 pound Butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 7 Eggs

Bring the water, butter and salt to a rapid boil.  Add in the flour, stir quickly with a wooden spoon until it balls together. SAM_0604This only takes about 3 minutes.  Pour this into a mixer, using the paddle attachment on medium speed, mix for 10 minutes until room temperature.  You can feel the bottom of  the mixing bowl for the proper temp.  We want to bring down the temp of the dough so we don’t end up cooking the eggs that we will add to it.  After the 10 minutes, add the eggs in one at a time, until they are all combined.

Put some of the dough into a pastry bag using a large star tip.  Pipe the dough into the shape of a medium size heart, working the next row of piping inside of that.  Then in the middle of the heart pipe a small heart on top.  SAM_0610This dough is very forgiving, so if you aren’t happy with the shape, scrape it back into the bag and try it again.  Make it fun, we are not looking for perfection here!

There is enough dough to make 6 medium size hearts.

Bake for 15 minutes, then switch tray positions, (top tray to bottom, bottom tray to top) and bake for another 15 minutes.  Let cool completely.  They will fall, that is what we want because this is the base of our dessert.  We are not looking for a round ball, like a cream puff shape.

Assembly time, let the fun begin!

Bring out the raspberry sauce, chocolate sauce and chocolate pudding.  Let’s lighten up this chocolate pudding by whipping up a 1/2 cup of whipping cream.  Once it reaches a stiff peak, fold it into the chocolate pudding. (You just made a mousseline!)

For the flavored powder sugar, this is a tip that I learned at a bakery, mix 1 cup of powdered sugar and half of a small box of jello(3 oz size, just the dry jello powder) I used raspberry jello because I made a raspberry sauce.  This easy tip adds such flavor to the powder sugar you will be pleasantly surprised. Try all different flavors of dry jello to powder sugar to flavor it for various desserts.

Place a puff heart onto a dessert plate, pipe the chocolate mousseline on top, outlining the heart.  I left the center open so you can see the little heart that was piped on top.  Take your raspberry and chocolate sauces (you can microwave the chocolate sauce for 30 seconds to make it thinner) and drizzle over the whole dessert.  Get creative, you can use either a spoon or a fork for the drizzles.  Now take that flavored powder sugar and place some into a sifter, or a fine mesh strainer and sift that over the outside of the dessert onto the plate or over the whole dessert. I opted for the latter, because I just love the taste of this flavored powder sugar.SAM_0631

Serve this to your Lovey on Valentines Day.  I love the custard like texture of the heart, then the luscious creaminess of the chocolate mousseline.  The raspberry and chocolate sauce adds depth to the dessert.  There is a tang from the raspberry and a richness from the semi sweet chocolate sauce.  Let’s not forget my favorite flavored powder sugar topping.  You will be dipping your finger into this, like I did.  This dessert says Valentines to me, chocolate, raspberries…..Yummy!  If you prefer strawberries, by all means make a strawberry sauce and use strawberry jello powdered sugar.

All my love to everyone….Pastry Jane

Warm Chocolate and Raspberry Custard Cake

I was in the mood for a comfort type dessert, not exactly a bread pudding but close to it.  I had made this recipe up over twenty years ago, I remember having leftover chocolate cake and trying to decide what to do with it.  I had always loved the texture of bread pudding, so this is how this dessert came about.  It is delicious warm, but it ain’t too bad cold either.  Let’s get baking!

You will need to bake off one box of Chocolate cake, pour the batter into a quarter sheet pan or a jelly roll pan.  Because of this being a rather thin cake the baking time will be around 20 minutes.  Let cool.  Put into the freezer to make it easier to cut into cubes. (You can do this in advance if time is an issue)

SAM_0052Chocolate Custard

  • 3 Cups Milk
  • 6 Tblsp. Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (from a 12 0z bag)

Place the ingredients into a saucepan.  Heat until the butter and chips are melted and the milk is hot.SAM_0054

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Vanilla
  • 1 tsp.  Almond Extract

Place these items in a heat proof bowl.  Pour the hot milk mixture into the bowl and whisk until combined.SAM_0055

Cut up the chocolate cake into 1″ cubes, doesn’t need to be perfect!  Place the cake cubes into a 13″ x 9″ pan.  Sprinkle two 6 0z containers of fresh raspberries over the cake.  Then sprinkle the rest of the semi-sweet chocolate chips over that.  Spread them out to cover the cake.

SAM_0057Now take the warm custard and pour it over the dessert.   Make sure to cover it all and use a rubber spatula to pat the custard into the cake.


Place into a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes.  Let cool a little while then scoop into dessert glasses or bowls.  Top with vanilla ice cream.  I like mine warm, that way the chocolate chips are gooey.


So pretty!  So Easy!  This is a great comfort dessert for wintertime.  I love the tartness of the raspberries, the warmth of the chocolate and that touch of almond compliments it all!

This can be made in a variety of ways, change the cake mix to yellow and use apples and cinnamon chips, or change the cake mix to white and use fresh pitted cherries and white chocolate chips. Be creative!  But I am a chocolate lover so I am going to keep it just the way it is.  I know you are going to enjoy this as much as I enjoy sharing this recipe with you!

Happy New Year!!!

Caramel, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Chocolate Bon Bon!

I was in the candy aisle craving a goodie, as usual, I wanted something sweet, yet salty, chocolatey, yet crunchy.  Couldn’t find what I was in the mood for, so I went home and came up with this recipe.  I love all of the above items, so why not put them into one monster size Bon Bon!  Now the definition of a Bon Bon is a small candy, so we are stretching the meaning a little, these are definitely not a small bite.  Let’s get started!

Caramel Candy

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 2 1/2 Tblsp Butter (cut into pieces)
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tblsp Light Corn Syrup
  • 2 Tblsp Water

Melt the heavy cream and butter together, set aside.  Put the rest of the ingredients into a heavy saucepan.  Bring to a boil, stir until sugar is melted. Now swirl the pan until the sugar turns a light caramel color, take it off the heat and stir in the heavy cream and butter mixture.  STEP BACK! THIS WILL BUBBLE UP!  Put back on the burner, simmer on a low flame.  If you have a candy thermometer insert it now, you want to bring it up to 248 degrees.  I do not have a thermometer, so I have a bowl with water and ice cubes to test my sugar.  Stir frequently, in three minutes let’s test the sugar.  Put a drop of sugar into the ice water,using your fingers pick up the cool sugar to see the consistency.  When the sugar comes together into a ball and it semi-soft it is ready.

This only takes about five minutes from the time that you pour in the cream and butter mixture, so don’t walk away from the stove, you have to babysit your sugar!

Pour the caramel into a stainless steel bowl and set over a bowl filled with ice water.  Stirring often, we want to cool down the caramel so we can roll it into balls.

While that is cooling take 8 oz of pretzels and crush them in a cuisanart.  We want to keep some texture to them, so don’t finely crush ’em!

When the caramel is room temperature take one teaspoon of caramel and roll it into the crushed pretzels.  You will get 16 caramel balls. Put them on a cookie tray lined with wax paper.  If they are still warm they will flatten, let them cool a little and re-roll into balls before you put them into the freezer.  While they are setting up let’s go ahead and make the peanut butter layer to wrap over the caramel balls.

Yummy Peanut Butter Dough

  • 1/3 Cup Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (Remember choosy bakers choose Jif)
  • 1 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup finely crushed Graham Crackers (one half of 1 packet)

Melt the butter, put into a bowl with the paddle attachment.  Mix in the peanut butter until smooth.  Then add the powdered sugar and graham crumbs, incorporate them.  Take a taste, there will be some extra for you!  Reminds me of the inside of a Reese Peanut Butter Cup, see why I call it yummy!

Take the caramel balls out of the freezer.  Using about 1 Tblsp of peanut butter dough wrap it around the caramel ball.  Now roll this into the crushed pretzels.  Place them back into the freezer.

We will now make the final coating for our caramel peanut butter balls.

Chocolate Dip

  • 16 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 2 Tblsp Crisco

Put these ingredients into a bowl, microwave for one minute.  Take out and stir.  Now microwave for another 20 seconds.  Take out and stir thoroughly.

Remove the candies from the freezer, using a fork dip the ball into the chocolate to coat.  Don’t use your hands, I tried this and it was a mess. (not that I didn’t enjoy licking the chocolate off of my fingers)  I used another fork to maneuver the ball back onto the tray.

Now sprinkle the tops with more crushed pretzels.  You can set them back into the freezer to set up for five minutes.  They can be stored at room temperature.

Look at layers.  The chewy caramel center, with the pretzel crunch, smooth peanut butter with the pretzel crunch, then the rich chocolate coating.  This sure got me shaking my “Bon Bon” back to the plate for just one more!


Since it has been very hot lately, I have been in the mood for a s’mores.  I didn’t want to light a grill to make them so I thought of an easier way to get the taste I was looking for.  Let me show you how I did it!

Preheat oven to 350 degree.  Spray the sides and top of a 12 piece tartlet pan.  About 2 1/2″ each round tartlet.

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 package of Graham Crackers (from a box) pulsated to a fine crumb
  • 1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 3 oz melted Butter

Mix together.  Then pat into your tartlet pan, up the sides too.  Bake for 8 minutes, they will be golden brown.  Set aside to cool.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Filling

  • 12 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips (melted)
  • 5 oz Butter (melted)
  • 1/4 Cup Half N’ Half
  • 4 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Tblsp Water
  • 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter (choosy bakers choose Jif!)

Put the egg yolks into a medium size stainless steel bowl.  Put the bowl over a medium flame on the stovetop.  Using a wire whisk, mix continuously.  If the eggs start to curdle take the bowl off the heat, keep whisking and add in the water.  Put back onto flame and whisk until thickened.  Like a hollandaise sauce.  Take off the heat and whisk in the butter.  Strain this through a fine mesh sieve.  Pushing down on the egg mixture to ensure you get it all.  This will strain out any of the curdled egg. (not a texture you want in this dessert!)  Next whisk in the half n’ half, and then the melted chocolate.  Whisk so that this is well incorporated.  Now whisk in the room temperature Jif, make sure to blend well.

I used an ice cream scoop to put the filling into the graham crusts, a spoon would work too.  Smooth the tops and refrigerate until firm, about 3 hours.  You can make these a couple of days in advance, then just make the marshmallow topping the day you want to use them.

Homemade Marshmallow Topping (no jarred Fluff, Please!)

  • 1 (1/4 oz) package of Unflavored Gelatin (Knox)
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Light Corn Syrup
  • 1/4 Cup Water
  • Dash of Salt
  • 1 Tsp Vanilla

Put the packet of unflavored gelatin and the water into your mixer bowl, stir with a spoon.  Put the whisk attachment onto your mixer.

Place the sugar, corn syrup, water and dash of salt into a heavy saucepan.  Put this onto a medium high flame.  Have on hands two bowls, one with ice water to test sugar, and one with water and a pastry brush to brush down the sides of the saucepan.  Don’t stir, just brush down sides with wet pastry brush so that you do not get any sugar crystals forming on the sides of the pan.  

Bring sugars up to 240 degrees if you have a candy thermometer.  I do not, so the old way is wait until the sugars boil, then drizzle some sugar into the ice water bowl.  The sugar will sink to the bottom, pick it up with your fingers and roll it.  If the sugar rolls into a soft ball, then it is ready.  If not wait another minute and try the test again.  The sugar will still be clear and at a rapid boil.  Take off the heat.  Remember this is extremely hot and sticky and will give you a nasty burn!  Be very careful!  

Put your mixer on low speed and pour the hot sugar down the inside of the bowl over the gelatin mixture. You do not want the sugar coming in contact with the whisk of the mixer, because it will splatter hot sugar at you.  Once all the sugar is poured, kick the mixer up to high.  Let it beat for 15 minutes.  It is pretty cool to watch the clear sugar turn into white fluffy marshmallow.  This is because the whisk attachment is aerating the hot sugar and cooling it off.  (Photo is looking into the mixer.)

After the 15 minutes, turn off mixer and add the vanilla extract.  Mix in for another minute.  The mixture will be warm, let it cool a little longer in the bowl, about fifteen minutes, then scoop it into a pastry bag, just cut the tip. ( I piped the marshmallow when it was warm and it didn’t hold its shape as well as when it was cooler.)  Pipe the mixture over the tarts, try to stay away from the sides, this will make for easy de-panning of the tarts.

You want to brown the marshmallow tops in a broiler, watch them carefully. A kitchen torch would be super if you have one.  They will burn quickly just like a marshmallow over a campfire.  I rather like mine burnt and crunchy on top!  I had to eat one without the marshmallow topping, craving was too strong!

Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  To release the tarts take a spatula and run it around each tart to loosen them.  Eat them now or they can be kept in refrigerator for a day. (The dark brown looks like a smiley face, kind of!)

Gooey marshmallow, creamy chocolate peanut butter and a brown sugar graham crust.  Sit around the kitchen table and sing “Kumbayay” while eating these Chocolate Peanut Butter S’mores Tartlets!

Here is a tip:  I have had a few of these in the refrigerator, out of curiosity I put one into the microwave for 20 seconds, it turns into a warm gooey s’mores, give it a try!

Petit Fours Made Easy!

I was having a chocolate craving yesterday, almost everyday it seems, the “feel good” affect it has on my brain is due to the phenethylamine in the chocolate that effects our bodies serotonin levels.  I think it affects my body more so, I cannot go a day without chocolate.

So since I needed my choco-fix I decided to make petit fours.  I started with my favorite chocolate cake recipe on the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa box.  I think that this is the best choco cake recipe, it is deliciously moist, and oh soooo……. chocolatey!

Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

  • 2 Cup sugar
  • 1 3/4 Cup flour
  • 3/4 Cup Hershey’s Cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Cup milk
  • 1/2 Cup veggie oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla (the good stuff!)
  • 1 Cup boiling water

Mix dry ingredients together, I do this with a wire whisk, then add wet ingredients except boiling water.  Mix until well combined, then mix in boiling water thoroughly. The batter will be rather thin, but that is how it is suppose to be.  Pour into two 9″ pans, that have been greased and floured, I use cocoa powder instead of flour, because I don’t like the bottom of my chocolate cake to be streaked with white flour. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 – 35 minutes.

Since I was going to make petit fours, I decided to halve the recipe because I didn’t want too many on hand.( too much of a temptation)  I also used a rectangle pan, this made it much easier to cut the petit fours. When making petit fours I think you have an easier time freezing the cake before you cut them.  It really cuts down on crumbs and you get a much nicer slice this way. 

I preceded to cut the cake into rectangles, approximately 2″ x 4″, don’t worry about making them exact, I remember in pastry school they were so strict about cutting the petit fours all the same size, I like the fact that they are not perfect, it gives a rustic appeal to your small desserts.  Let’s face it perfection is boring!

Now whip up some butter creme frosting, use your favorite recipe. I kept the frosting vanilla because we are going to cover them with a Regal Chocolate glaze. Using the huge star tip, I don’t know the number of it, but the largest star tip you have.  If you don’t have a star tip, just cut the tip of your disposable pastry bag larger than usual. I piped three large stars on top of each rectangular cake. If you are using a plain pastry bag without a tip just pipe three large dollops.  Put them into the freezer to set up the butter creme, this way when you pour the warm glaze over them the butter creme will not melt.

Regal Chocolate Glaze

  • 8 oz semi sweet chocolate chips (Hershey’s are the best)
  • 4 oz butter
  • 1/2 Cup hot tap water

Melt chocolate and butter in microwave for one minute, then stir, microwave for thirty seconds at a time until melted. Stir together thoroughly, then stir in boiling water. You have to melt the chocolate and butter together first before you add the hot water or your chocolate may seize.( tighten up into a glop!)

Remove your small cakes from the freezer and pour the glaze over each one with a large soup spoon. I think you have more control with a large spoon, rather then pouring the glaze directly out of the bowl.

Now is the fun part, decorate with butter creme, or as I have with chocolate decorations.  I had some leftover white and blue chocolate candy discs, so I melted them separately and made a small cone bag out of wax paper.  I used the back of a sheet tray that I had covered with saran wrap and let my imagination go wild piping designs out of the white and blue chocolate. Refrigerate to allow your decorations to set up, then put them onto your glazed petit fours.You have now officially made a small confection that the French call Petit Four! Wasn’t that easy! Just because these may have a fancy name it doesn’t mean we can’t easily make them!  Bon Appetit, Petit Four!