Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cream Horns

Oh, the joys of pressing nose and palms against a refrigerated pastry case to spy Cream Horns in all their glory! I remember doing that! As well I should … I was 57 or 58, at the time. Cream Horns are not all that difficult to make. They’re also beautiful served on an occasion as special as Valentine’s Day! All you need are some Cream Horn molds, a pastry bag, and a fluted tip to pipe the pastry with whipping cream. With those few items in place, you’re ready to rock n’ roll, Dollinks!
Cream Horns:
One 7-½ oz. (397 g) pkg. frozen commercial puff pastry, thawed
Granulated sugar, as required
2 tbsp. strawberry or raspberry jam
1 c. heavy cream
2 tsp. icing sugar (confectioner’s or powdered sugar)
⅓ oz. (10 g) package or 1 scant tbsp. whipping cream stabilizer (see Note)
Sifted icing sugar (confectioner’s or powdered sugar)
On a lightly floured work surface, roll pastry into a 21 x 7-½ in. rectangle. Cut lengthwise strips ¾-in.-wide. I use a ruler: Dont eyeball this! Working with one strip at a time, dampen pastry lightly with water. Starting at wide end of Cream Horn mold, press one end of pastry against outside of mold, moist-side out. Do not press pastry over bottom edge of mold. With your thumb inside to rotate mold, wind pastry strip around it, overlapping edges slightly. Seal pastry at pointed end of mold (this will get easier as you practice it). Dip one side of horn in granulated sugar. Place horn sugar-side up on parchment-lined baking sheet. Continue winding remaining pastry strips onto molds.
Preheat oven to 425 deg. F. Bake pastry-wound molds 10-to-12 min., until pastry is puffed and golden. Cool slightly before carefully sliding molds from baked pastry. Pastry will be fragile. Transfer unmolded pastry horns to wire rack until completely cool. Using a very small spoon, place 1 tsp. jam inside the tip of each baked, cooled horn, ensuring it drips right to the bottom. Whip heavy cream with 2 tsp. icing sugar and stabilizer until stiff peaks start to form. Transfer cream to pastry bag, piping into fully cooled pastry. Yields 8.   
Note: I have previously recommended that you buy Dr.Oetker’s “Whip It” whipping cream stabilizer (see my October, 2011 blogs for Pavlova and for Macadamia Nut Cream Pie). While this is an excellent product, it’s a little pricey. I’ve just discovered that many baking supply stores sell whipping cream stabilizer in bulk. You can buy this product online through This company sells worldwide, but make sure you’re buying enough to make the cost of shipping worthwhile. Alternately, check baking supply specialty outlets in your area or read How to Stiffen Whipped Cream in the post below this one.
Further Note: The secret to a good cream horn is to roll the puff pastry quite thinly. You may need to practice this until you get the knack of it. Pastry rolled too thickly expands too much, reducing the amount of cream you can pipe inside and making the pastry gummy at the horn’s wide mouth.  

Start with a block of puff pastry

Begin rolling it out ... more, more, MORE!

Measure pastry rectangle as you work

Thinner, thinner, THINNER! 

A woman in need of a manicure? Nope!
Cream horn molds

Slice pastry into strips 3/4-in. wide x 21 in. long.
Moisten outside edge so overlapped pastry will stick  

Wind pastry strip over mold
With thumb inside, rotate mold

Wind remaining pastry strips
over molds 

Dip horns in granulated sugar

Bake 10-12 min. at 425 deg. F.

Baked horn should easily slip from mold

Cool completely before filling

Let jam drip into tip of horn

Prepare to whip cream

Fill piping bag with stiffened cream

Pipe directly into cream horn

Flute top of cream, dusting horns with
a little sifted icing suar 

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