Sometimes I get these uncontrollable bursts of inspiration and ambition. Yesterday was the most tiring day I’ve had in a long time… It was a combination of not resting over the weekend and having a full day of classes that just resulted in me feeling absolutely drained the whole day. There were also the typical issues with my commute, like the subway stopping and me having to run to class, the bus leaving without me as I sped up to catch it, and getting a blister on my heels from my shoes. So you know, a pretty standard New York day.
I got home, wet from the rain, ready to crawl into bed and melt away. I spent a few minutes lying on the carpet in the living room just because the sheer idea of moving was too much. My amazing roommate had cooked me dinner, so she finally coaxed me up to eat, we turned on Terrace House, and caught up with each other about our days.
Recently, life’s been a little bit crazy and I’ve been a little more anxious than usual. When I was younger, as cliché as it sounds, baking was the thing I craved doing when I was feeling stressed. When I chose to pursue pastry as a career, I made a promise to myself. I told myself that if there ever came a moment where baking at home didn't relieve my anxiety, that I needed to step away from work. Baking at home acts almost as a test for me to make sure I'm still in love with what I do. It can be stressful and hard and horrible while I'm working, but the second I'm experimenting at home or doing it for fun, I need to be loving every second of it.
It had been a few months since I had baked to de-stress and I was starting to get worried. This is what I love... right?
So when I suddenly had the urge, in the middle of yet another consecutive episode of Terrace House, to make cream puffs, I jumped–leaped at it. More specifically, I really wanted to make hojicha craquelin cream puffs, a flavour I had never even experimented with before.
If you are unfamiliar with hojicha, it is a roasted green tea. The roasting of the green tea leaves adds a nuttier flavour to the tea, and it’s delicious as both a tea and as a flavour in desserts.
I chose to incorporate hojicha by infusing the milk in a pastry cream recipe with a fuck ton of hojicha tea leaves–like perhaps an excessive amount of hojicha leaves. I heated the milk and the tea leaves to a boil, then turned off the heat, covered the pot, and let the tea steep for 10 minutes. I was incredibly committed to getting as much of that hojicha flavour into this pastry cream!
I have always struggled with the intensity of my flavours in the past. Most of the things I've made I've craved a stronger flavour. I'm proud to say that the second you bite into these bad boys you get sucker-punched by that delicious hojicha flavour. I am so happy with the end result! And I'm so glad that I decided to make these because even after a crazy, tiring day, I felt so exhausted but also so much better after making these. I have proven to myself, yet again, that yeah, I'm doing the right thing... I'm in the right industry.
And here they are! Look at these beauties! My Hojicha Craquelin Cream Puffs.