Mudworms and Dirt

Paradise Truffles

Ricotta Cream Puffs

Chocolate Brownie Muffins



Paradise Truffles
[cream puffs with a ricotta-chocolate chip filling and chocolate sauce]

Tips: The chocolate sauce must be made in advance; it can be made up to a few days ahead. The filling should be made no more than an hour or two before you plan to use it. The cream puff shells become soggy if stored at room temperature, even airtight, so make them just prior to serving or freeze them. Once assembled, the puffs must be served immediately. A great dessert for any party or celebration!

Chocolate Sauce:

  • 9 ozs. good-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. light corn syrup
  • Few grains salt
  • 1 c. + 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
  • 1 to 2 Tbsps. orange liqueur

Cream Puff Shells:

  • 3/4 c. water
  • 1/4 c. whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into eight pats
  • 1-1/4 c. sifted flour
  • 4 eggs, graded "large", at room temperature (the eggs must not be too cold)


  • 1-1/4 c. ricotta cheese (whole milk or part-skim)
  • 3/4 c. confectioners' sugar
  • You might need: 1 Tbsp. orange liqueur
  • Grated zest of 1 orange (no white pith)
  • 1/2 c. miniature semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 c. heavy cream

For chocolate sauce: combine chopped chocolate, corn syrup, and salt in medium heatproof bowl. In small, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, heat cream until very hot, stirring occasionally. Pour about 1/2 of hot cream over chocolate. Place bowl of chocolate over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl); gently whisk often until melted. Gradually whisk in remaining cream. Remove from heat and hot water; whisk in orange liqueur. Cool briefly at room temperature, then chill. Store in refrigerator, tightly covered, until needed. For cream puff shells: line a baking sheet (at least 15-1/2" by 10-1/2") with parchment paper; have ready another baking sheet of the same size or slightly larger. Place the parchment-lined sheet on top of the empty baking sheet (cream puffs are baked on this doubled sheet to prevent over-browning of their bottoms). Adjust rack to center of oven. Preheat oven to 425'F. In heavy-bottomed 2 quart pot, combine water, milk, sugar, and salt. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar and salt. Add and melt butter pats; return mixture to a boil. Remove from heat. All at once, add flour; beat in well with large spoon (mixture will become very thick). Place pot back on burner on LOW heat. Stir flour mixture for a minute or two until it becomes one mass and pulls away from the pot sides. Remove from heat. Place mixture by spoonfuls into a medium bowl and cool for 10 minutes (if the eggs are added immediately, the flour mixture is so hot it might scramble them). One at a time, add eggs and beat in thoroughly (I use a large spoon; if desired, use a powerful hand-held electric mixer). When all eggs have been added, mixture should be a thick, smooth paste. Divide into twelve even mounds on parchment-lined sheet. Once dough is portioned out, go back and quickly round mounds if necessary, piling them up a bit to give them more height (wet your fingertips frequently to prevent dough from sticking). Place doubled baking sheet in preheated oven; bake cream puffs 10 minutes. Without opening oven door, REDUCE HEAT to 350'F; bake about 30 minutes longer, or until well-risen, puffed, and golden brown (begin checking them after about 20 minutes at 350'F). When puffs are baked, reach into oven with small, very sharp knife, and slit each puff once or twice, horizontally, about 1/3 of the way down from the top. TURN OVEN OFF, but leave puffs in for an additional 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove puffs from oven. Cool puffs on cooling rack just until they can be handled (this won't take long). With very sharp, serrated knife, slice off top third of each puff. If there are any filaments of uncooked dough inside (very common), remove what you can with the tip of a spoon (don't dig too deeply or you'll cut into the shell itself). When puffs are completely cooled, fill and serve. To freeze puffs, place on a wax-paper-lined baking sheet. Freeze; when frozen, transfer to an airtight plastic bag or carton.

To make filling: place ricotta and confectioners' sugar in container of food processor fitted with steel blade. Process at high speed for three bursts of twenty seconds each, scraping down container between. If ricotta is very dry, add a tablespoon of orange liqueur to enable food processor to work more easily. When ricotta mixture is perfectly smooth, turn into medium nonreactive bowl; stir in orange zest and chips. In chilled medium bowl with chilled beaters, whip cream at high speed until very stiff. Gently fold into ricotta mixture. Use immediately, or cover and chill no longer than 1 to 2 hours.

To assemble dessert: if cream puffs were frozen, line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil and preheat oven to 375'F. Place frozen puffs on cookie sheet and warm in oven 8-10 minutes, just until thawed and crisp. Remove to cooling rack; cool until puffs are at room temperature. Fill and serve.

To heat sauce, place in small bowl over simmering water on low heat (water should not touch bottom of bowl). Stir very often just until warm (not hot) and pourable. (Alternatively, scrape sauce into microwaveable container. Microwave at 50% (medium) power for thirty seconds. Stir well. Microwave at 50% (medium) power for further short intervals if required, stirring after each, just until sauce is warm enough to pour.) Have ready 12 small dessert plates; they must be shallow but have sides. Pour enough sauce onto each to form a shallow pool. Pour any remaining sauce into small pitcher or bowl. Evenly divide the ricotta filling between the 12 puffs, stuffing the lower 2/3 of each, and placing the top 1/3 of the puff on as a "cap"; you should be able to see filling between the cap and the bottom. Quickly place one filled puff on the sauce on each plate. Serve immediately, passing the remaining sauce to be poured on as desired.

12 cream puffs (12 servings)

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