Herb and Blue Cheese Croquembouche with Walnut Honey and Port Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons bread flour
- 4 large eggs
- 4 ounces blue cheese, at room temperature
- 2 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream, lightly whipped to soft peaks
- 2/3 cup honey, divided
- Port Wine Syrup, recipe follows
- 1 1/2 tablespoons toasted, finely chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed 1-quart saucepan, combine the water, butter, sugar, salt, thyme and rosemary. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from the heat and add all of the flour, at once, to the pan and quickly stir vigorously to incorporate the flour into the liquid.
Return the pan to the stove, and over a medium-low heat, continue to cook and stir the dough over the fire. Do this until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Remove the dough from the saucepan, and place in an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix the dough on low speed until the dough is cooled down to about 140 degrees F, which is still quite warm to the touch, but cool enough to prevent the eggs from cooking if added to the dough.
Raise the speed of the mixer to medium, and add 1 of the eggs to the dough and mix until completely incorporated. Continue adding the remaining eggs, 1 at a time, waiting until each egg is incorporated before adding the next egg.
Immediately transfer the dough to a piping bag with a round tip.
To form the herbed puffs, pipe out round mounds of the dough onto the prepared baking sheet that are about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake the choux dough for 12 minutes, or until golden brown. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F, and continue to bake until the puffs are dried out, about 22 minutes longer. Turn the oven off and remove the choux from the oven. Using the tip of a paring knife, cut a small slit in the side of each puff, near the bottom. Place the puffs back on the baking sheet and place back in the oven, propping the oven door open so the choux can dry out as they cool, about 1 hour or until oven is cool.
In a medium-sized bowl, combine the blue cheese, cream cheese and whipped cream. Use a hand held electric mixer to combine the ingredients on a low speed, until well incorporated. Place the cheese filling in a piping bag with a star tip.
Using a paring knife, make a small hole in the bottom of each puff. Use the pastry bag filled with the cheese mixture to pipe into the hole and fill the puffs.
Place 1/3 cup of the honey in a small, shallow bowl or dish. Dip the bottom of each cheese filled puff into the honey and arrange the cheese puffs in a pyramid on a large plate. (The honey is used to anchor the puffs and to keep them from sliding.)
Using the tines of a fork, drizzle the remaining 1/3 cup honey over the entire pyramid. Drizzle with the Port Wine Syrup and sprinkle the chopped walnuts over top. Serve the Croquembouche within the hour.Port Wine Syrup:
2 cups ruby Port wine
1 cup sugar
Combine Port and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to a syrup.
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