Double chocolate pudding puffs. Just stop what you are doing and imagine a thin, slightly crisp, tender shell enveloping rich, smooth, creamy homemade chocolate pudding. Really, envision this for a moment. I don’t know about you but my mouth is watering. And if you are an avowed chocolate-lover, you should listen up.
These little delectable balls of heaven might seem like a lot of work, but they are not hard and everything--yes, everything--can be made in advance and put together easily at the last minute (or a few hours ahead of time).
Made from dough called pâte à choux (little cabbage dough), this light pastry dough is used to make all sorts of goodies: profiteroles, éclairs, crullers, and gougères to name a few. My version uses good-quality cocoa powder (I used natural, not Dutch-process) in place of a little flour in the dough to give it a chocolaty edge. The dough comes together quickly, and then can be piped and baked.
Use a piping bag with a round or star tip or just mound the dough into a large zippered plastic bag that you’ve snipped one corner off of and pipe mounds onto the prepared sheet pan. Once in the oven, don’t open the door until at least 20 minutes into baking! The little puffs need that heat to puff up nicely. At this point, you can cool the puffs, then fill and serve, or pop them into a freezer bag and freeze them until you are ready to use them. Just defrost and crisp in the oven at 375F for 5 minutes before filling.
The pudding. Oh, the pudding. It’s luscious. Rich. Decadent. And you can either just sit there with a spoon and eat it right out of the saucepan or you can try to contain yourself, let it cool down, and pipe it into the puffs. Either way you will be left with a cup or so extra to do with as you may (the cook’s secret prerogative).