I pulled a Peabody this week and tweaked the TWD recipe. (Not as much or as creatively as she usually does, I admit.) Caroline chose Peppermint Cream Puff Ring as this week’s recipe, but peppermint screams Christmas to me, and I’m loving summer too much to think about Christmas right now.
In the original recipe, the filling is made from cream that’s been steeped in mint leaves. I didn’t want the mint, but I did like the steeping. I considered a tea-flavored cream filling, but ultimately decided on a cappuccino-flavored dessert with coffee cream filling. Generally, coffee flavor is incorporated into desserts using instant espresso, but since even one slice of tiramisu will keep me up for hours, I wanted my cream puff to be decaf. I heated decaf coffee and cream until it boiled, then strained out the coffee and chilled the cream. When it was cold, I whipped it and folded in sour cream. I was a little unsure about the sour cream addition, but I surprised myself by really liking the tang that it added.
I also made individual serving sized rings, instead of one large ring, taking inspiration and tips from Eliza. I wish they were a little more robust; I should have used a larger piping tip or made three rings, with one stacked on the other two, like Dorie instructs for the larger ring. Because a few other members had had problems with the pastry collapsing, I was exceedingly careful when making mine. I beat the cooked flour-butter-liquid mixture for a few seconds before adding the eggs to make sure the eggs wouldn’t get too hot, and I pricked each ring with a paring knife after baking and before putting them back into the just-turned-off oven with the door propped open for half an hour.
I topped my rings with chocolate ganache and sprinkled them with cinnamon. (Not that I ever put either chocolate or cinnamon in my cappuccino, but the flavors did end up working here.) They look a little more like donuts than I prefer, but overall, I was surprised by how much I liked these. To be honest, I made them in the evening on a night when Dave was away for dinner, and I basically ate cream puffs for dinner. And dessert.
The original recipe has been published on epicurious.