Happy New Year, sweet people!

Let's make this a beautiful one, full of kindness and joy.  And pastry.  To celebrate this new year, I made loads of croissant (recipe to come later in the year),

chocolate croissant

pistachio/apricot croissant
water bagels (recipe also coming in the new year),
NY water bagels
and sable topped cream puffs with frozen chocolate custard (RECIPE COMING RIGHT NOW!).

In Germany, pigs are a sign of good luck.  A harbinger of things moving forward if not fatter.  Sounds good to me!

(Makes 2 dozen)

For the sable

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup super fine sugar
1 whole egg, medium sized not large
1 teaspoon sea salt (otherwise, 1/2 teaspoon table salt)
2 cups all purpose flour
red gel dye (1 drop)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter and sugar and mix until smooth and combined  Scrape down the bowl, add the egg and mix until combined.  Add the drop of dye, the flour and salt and mix until combined.

Transfer the dough to a large piece of plastic wrap and cover completely.  Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350º.

Take a small amount of the dough, no more than 1/4 of it, and roll out on a lightly floured surface to 1/4" thick.  Using a small round cutter (I use the small end of a large open pastry tip) cut out 24 small rounds.  Cut the rounds on the top and bottom to make a rectangular shaped cookie.  Bake for 5 minutes or until baked through.  Allow to cool completely.

For the choux

1 1/2 cups water
1 stick unsalted butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
5 eggs

Preheat oven to 400ºF.  Line 4 sheet pans with parchment.  Set aside.

In a large saucepan, combine the water, butter sugar and salt.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, making sure that the butter and sugar have completely melted.  Add the flour all at once and stir over medium heat with a wooden spoon until the paste is smooth, pulls away from the sides of the saucepan and is very shiny and thick.

Transfer the paste to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Mix on medium speed and add the eggs, one at a time until the paste is smooth and pipeable.

Transfer the choux paste to a pastry bag fitted with a large open tip.  Pipe silver dollar sized dollops, about 2 inches apart, onto the parchment lined sheet pans.

Roll out the remaining sable onto a lightly floured work surface to about 1/8" thick.  Cut rounds, slightly smaller in diameter than the choux and top the choux with the sable rounds.  Bake at 400º for 10 minutes and then reduce heat to 350º and bake for 1/2 hour more.

Allow to cool completely.

For the custard

1 cup half and half
3 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons tapioca flour
pinch salt
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 cups heavy cream

In a saucepan, bring the half and half to a simmer.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, egg yolks, tapioca flour and salt until smooth.  While whisking, slowly add the half and half until well combined.  Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the mixture thickens to the consistency of mayonnaise.  Take from the heat and immediately add the chocolate.  Stir until combined.  Transfer to a large bowl and cover the top with plastic wrap to keep the custard from forming a skin.  Refrigerate until cool, about 1 hour.

Whip the heavy cream to stiff peaks.  Fold into the custard.  Transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until frozen but still scoopable.

To assemble

a few tablespoons melted chocolate
a small amount of royal icing (1 cup confectioner's sugar, 1 teaspoon egg white powder, enough water to create a pipeable paste)
48 almond slices, cut in half for ears

Cut the cream puffs in half, just under the sable line.  Place a small dollop of royal icing onto a sable rectangle and adhere onto the middle of the sable covered portion of the cream puff.  Place a small dollop of the royal icing onto the almond slivers for the ears and place towards the top of the sable topped puff.  Pipe small dollops of royal icing for eyes and then a small dot of melted chocolate for the pupils of the eye and for nostrils on the sable nose.  Allow to set, about 20 minutes.

Using an ice cream scoop, scoop the frozen custard and place on the bottom of the puff and cover with the piggy half.  Serve immediately.

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