Monday, June 10, 2019

Nailed It: Panda Creme Puffs with Nutella-Mascarpone Filling

Not going to lie... these creme puffs had me and my husband laughing for a good 5 minutes straight. They didn't come out exactly how I had pictured them. Maybe next time - it's always a learning experience! In the interim, I'll take the "A" for effort and enjoy their delicious flavor.

These puffs were made for my wonderful little cousin, Melissa, who loves pandas, and her fiance. The love birds have different preferences when it comes to sweets. Specifically, Melissa loves chocolate while her fella tries to avoid it.

The compromise that I came up with was a nutella-mascarpone filling. Nutella provides a chocolate element with the nutty savoriness of a hazelnut while the mascarpone lends its smooth, firm texture without any extra sweetness. I absolutely love using mascarpone in sweets - especially in frosting (eg. this fantastic Chocolate, Almond, and Pear Cake)! The result is a light, creamy filling that's easy to pipe and addictive to eat.  

Panda Creme Puffs with Nutella-Mascarpone Filling
makes about 12 cream puffs

Fill cream puffs with nutella filling. Pipe mounds of whipped cream into the puffs using large, round tip. Decorate with chocolate shapes. Set top of cream puff like an open sea shell, at a slight angle. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar (optional).

Cream Puff Recipe
from King Arthur Flour 

Nutella Filling

8 ounces Mascarpone Cheese
250g Nutella
1 cup/240g heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, combine the whipping cream and the powdered sugar. Beat with an electric mixer until stiff peaks have formed. Place in the refrigerator to chill.

In a large bowl, combine the Nutella, mascarpone, and vanilla with an electric mixer. Beat until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

With a rubber spatula, gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture. Do not whip. Cover bowl and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Whipped Cream

1 cup (240ml) cold heavy cream or heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Combine heavy cream and sugar; whip with electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Fold in the vanilla extract. Add to piping bag with round, open tip.

Panda Features
Reference: check out this letting tutorial from Brit + Co.

Baking chocolate (you don't need a lot because the features are so small)
Piping bag
#2 Wilton Tip (optional- you can snip a 1/8 inch hole)

Melt chocolate and pipe into desired shapes on parchment or wax paper; place in freezer to firm texture. Place on whipped cream when ready.