- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 large eggs
- 2 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
- Vanilla Pastry Cream, recipe follows
- Chocolate Sauce, recipe follows
- 1/2 cup lightly toasted almond slices
- Confectioners' sugar, garnish
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
In a medium heavy saucepan, bring the milk, butter, sugar and salt to a boil over high heat. Once the butter has melted, add the flour all at once stirring to combine.. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir briskly with a heavy wooden spoon until the paste is smooth and pulls away in a ball from the sides of the pan, 1 to 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 1 to 2 minutes. Stirring constantly with a heavy wooden spoon, add 2 of the eggs 1 at a time, beating well after the addition of each. Mix until smooth. (Alternately, beat in the bowl of a mixer.) Let the dough cool.
In a small bowl, beat the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon of water to make an egg wash.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip and pipe out 16 ping pong ball-sized rounds onto the prepared sheet, about 2 inches apart. (Alternately, spoon onto the baking sheet with a large spoon.) Lightly brush egg wash on the tops and sides of the dough and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake until the balls are firm to the touch and hollow inside, about an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
To make the Mocha Pastry Cream, add the semisweet chocolate pieces and espresso powder to the milk-egg yolk mixture in the Vanilla Pastry Cream recipe while it is thickening on the heat, before straining. Let sit for 2 minutes, then stir to melt the chocolate and incorporate the coffee. Strain into a clean container and cool completely in the refrigerator before using.
Fill a pastry bag with pastry cream. With the end of a wooden spoon, poke a hole into the bottom of each pastry round. Insert the tip of the pastry bag into the hole of each pastry and fill with the cream.
Vanilla Pastry Cream:
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, split in 1/2 lengthwise and seeds scraped out
4 large egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch, sifted
In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the milk, sugar, vanilla bean pods and seeds. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, whisking to dissolve the sugar. Remove from the heat.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and cornstarch until pale yellow, about 2 minutes. Slowly add 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture to the egg yolks, whisking constantly until smooth. Add the egg yolk mixture to the pan of hot milk and whisk to combine. Return to medium heat and cook, stirring constantly with a heavy wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and strain into a clean container. Discard the vanilla bean or rinse and reserve for another use. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing down against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until well chilled, about 4 hours, before using.
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Combine the cream, sugar, and butter in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat. Add the chocolate, and stir until smooth and melted. Add the corn syrup and vanilla, and stir until smooth. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
(The sauce can be kept refrigerated in an airtight container for several days, but it must be returned to room temperature before serving.)