Earl Grey and Dark Chocolate Cream Puffs


I love tea. I've always loved tea. I drink tea every single morning and have done since I was a little kid. Back then, I used to drink it out of brightly coloured plastic cups. Now I drink out of an actual mug, but everything else is basically the same. I like my routines, probably a bit too much, and my morning tea routine hasn't changed in about 12 years.


I wake up and before I do anything else, I put the kettle on. Then I get dressed and put in my contacts and give my hair a quick brush. By the time, the kettle has boiled, so I pop a teabag into my little teapot and in goes the water. While that steeps, I prepare my mug with sugar and milk. The sugar and milk always go in before the tea. Always. I prepare my little bowl of granola, too, but I just eat that so I'm not starving in a few hours. It's the tea that I need in the morning. The tea has steeped enough at that point, so I pour it in my mug and sit on the couch.


First, I eat my granola. I have to eat my granola first or else I won't eat it at all. It's like telling kids that they have to finish their veggies before they can have ice cream. I begrudgingly eat my granola, but it's really just so I can have my tea. I know, it's odd.
Then I spend about 25 minutes drinking my tea and browsing my phone, looking at photos, or reading news articles. I need that quiet time, both to drink my tea without being hurried and also to actually wake up. 


I have this routine down to the minute. I don't even try to, but it just ends up that every morning, I sit down on the couch with my granola and tea at the exact same time as the day before. It's 3:41 am, in case you're wondering. 

When I tell people about my routine and how I wake up an hour before I leave the apartment, even though it only takes me 15 minutes to actually get ready, they're confused. They don't get why I need that quiet time to get my thoughts in order before a hectic and busy day. Don't get me wrong, I love sleep. I need sleep. I cannot function properly on 5 hours of sleep. But I also can't function properly without my quiet time, so that's the reason for the routine. And I actually look forward to my quiet tea time when I wake up. As soon as my alarm goes off, I look forward to my tea and some days I really need that to get my butt out of bed.


Surprisingly, I'm also really picky particular about my tea. It's gotta be black tea, always. Sorry, herbal, mate, rooibus, white, green, pu'erh and oolong, but you just don't cut it. I have to have white sugar (or maybe honey if I'm feeling extravagant). That's just the way it's gotta be.

While I do not like other flavours in my tea, I love combining black tea with other flavours in desserts. One of my favourite desserts that I've ever made on this blog is the Charred Lemon Mousse with Earl Grey Cream. This is also not the first time I have combined earl grey and dark chocolate, these Earl Grey Infused Chocolate Pots de Crème were first.


While my tea drinking habits and preferences are borderline ridiculous, it means I take my tea seriously. So when I make a dessert with tea, I make sure that the tea isn't just some end note or an aftertaste. Even when paired with a rich and flavourful ingredient like dark chocolate, the light and airy earl grey chantilly cuts the richness in flavour and in texture and makes everything wonderfully balanced. Just like the perfect cup of tea.


Earl Grey and Dark Chocolate Cream Puffs

Chocolate Pâte Sucrée

150 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
112 g icing sugar
2 g salt
5 g vanilla extract
50 g eggs
195 g all-purpose flour
55 g cocoa powder
20 g cornstarch


Pâte à Choux

125 g water
125 g whole milk
5 g superfine sugar
5 g fleur de sel
110 g unsalted butter
140 g all-purpose flour
250 g eggs

Earl Grey Chantilly

100 g heavy cream
5 g loose leaf Earl Grey Tea
200 g heavy cream
15 g icing sugar

Dark Chocolate Mousse
Recipe from Elements of Dessert

120 g eggs
50 g sugar
160 g good quality dark chocolate (70-73%), finely chopped
263 g heavy cream

Chocolate Decor

125 g dark chocolate, finely chopped


Prepare the pâte sucrée. In a stand mixer, cream the butter until creamy. Sift in the icing sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, salt, and vanilla extract and beat until combined. Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and cornstarch and beat just until the dough forms a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Remove the tart dough and roll it out to a thickness of less than 1/16 inch (1 mm). Place on a baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.

Prepare the choux paste. In a saucepan, bring the water, milk, sugar, salt, and butter to a boy. With the saucepan still over the heat, add the flour all at once. Beat hard with a wooden spoon until the paste is smooth and shiny and continue being until the paste comes away from the sides of the pan. Transfer the paste to a bowl and incorporate the eggs one at a time, beating constantly. Transfer the finished paste to a piping bag fitted with a plain #14 pastry tip.

After 20 minutes in the freezer, remove the tart dough and cut out twelve to fourteen 2 1/2 inch (7 cm) rounds. 

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pipe out 12 to 14 choux balls about 2 1/2 inches (6.5 cm) in diameter and 1/2 inch (1.5 cm) tall, arranging them on the lined baking sheet about 2 inches (5 cm) apart. (Note: I use a 1 inch diameter demi sphere mold for my choux, freeze, then unmold onto the baking sheet). On each choux, place a disc of sweet tart dough. Place them in the oven and turn the oven off. Keep the oven off for ten minutes. Turn the oven back on to 350 F and continue baking the choux, After ten minutes, slide a wooden cooking spoon between the oven and its door to keep it partly open. Bake for another ten minutes. Transfer the choux to a wire rack to cool.

Split each choux crosswise three-quarters of the way up the side, keeping the tops with the bottom so you can match them back up after.

For the earl grey chantilly, heat the 100 g of heavy cream in a sauce until it just comes to a boil. Add the earl grey tea, cover with a lid, and let steep for 20 minutes. Strain and cool completely in the fridge.

Once the earl grey cream has chilled, whip the 200 g of heavy cream and icing sugar to stiff peaks. Slowly add the earl grey cream while whipping. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a star tip and reserve in the fridge.

For the chocolate mousse, whip the heavy cream to medium peaks and set aside in the fridge.

Place the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer and place over a hot water bath while whisking constantly until it reaches 60 C/ 140 F.

Remove the mixture from the heat and place it in the stand mixer. Whip on high speed until it cools to about 35 C/ 95 F and creates ribbons, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate over the hot water bath. Let it cool to 35 C/ 95 F.

Once both the egg mixture and the chocolate are at the correct temperatures, whisk the egg into the chocolate until evenly combined. Fold half of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then fold in the remaining half. 

Pipe the chocolate mousse into the bottom of the cream puffs, stopping when it reaches the top. Pipe the earl grey chantilly on, then top with the top of the cream puff. Pipe a small dot of earl grey cream on the top.

For the chocolate decor, place a sheet of acetate on your work surface and prepare a parchment cone place. Place 100 g of the chocolate in a boil set over a pot of barely simmering water. Melt the chocolate to 43 C, but do not heat it further. Remove from the heat and add the remaining 25 g of chocolate. Stir continuously until the chocolate reaches 27 C. 

To test to see if it is properly tempered, smear a small amount of chocolate on the acetate. If after a few minutes, the chocolate has hardened, has a shine to it, and snaps when you break it, it is tempered. Bring the chocolate up to 31 C, being careful not to heat it any further or you will bring it out of temper. Transfer the chocolate to the parchment cone and pipe overlapping circles of different sizes onto the parchment. Let the chocolate set.

Heat a small circular cookie cutter about 1/2 inch in diameter with a blowtorch. Cut out circles from the chocolate lace and set aside.

To finish, place a circle of chocolate lace into the dot of earl grey chantilly. Garnish with dried flowers (found in some loose leaf earl grey teas) and serve immediately.