For centuries, literally, in Genoa Sunday lunches and feast days close with a rich tray of “cavolini” (translated sprouts): puffs generously stuffed with whipped cream and sprinkled with icing sugar or decorated with sugar grains.
Small enough to eat in one bite, big enough to have to pull out some lion’s mouth.
Their recipe is already found in the first book of Ligurian cuisine of the mid ‘800, where they are called “cavulin” and certainly since then there is no pastry shop in Genoa that on Sunday early in the morning does not show in the shopping window a large tray, already empty for lunch.
However, why not cooking them at home? The preparation of the dough (choux dough) is really simple and success is guaranteed if you stuff your “cavolini” with sweet and rich whipped cream!
Here the recipe!
- 250 ml of water
- 150 grams of flour ’00
- 100 grams of butter
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 4 medium eggs
- 400 ml (2 packs) of whipped cream
- 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar + the one needed to decorate
- Pour water, butter and salt in a saucepan, then bring to boil.
- As soon as you see that the first bubbles rise with the butter completely melted, add the flour at once, lower the flame and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon. In a few seconds you will get a thick, soft and compact dough.
- Turn the dough over on a work surface and spread it with a spatula or a spoon until it is cold.
- At this point add the eggs. One at a time. Mix well the first egg with the spoon and only when the first egg is well absorbed add the others also one by one.
- The right consistency of the choux paste is that of a rather firm, shiny and compact custard (but liquid enough to enter the sac-à-pochè).
- Preheat the oven to 200 ºC.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the choux paste in a sac-à-poche with a wide and smooth nozzle and make the cones spraying 3 times on the base in order to have concentric rings. The diameter must be of about 4 cm and they must be placed 3 cm apart.
- With the back of a slightly wet spoon flatten the tips of the puffs, so that they assume the round shape.
- Bake in the middle of the oven at 200 ºC without opening the oven for about 25 minutes. When they are fully inflated lower to 180 ºC and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool.
- When they are cold cut them in half horizontally at the height of two thirds so as to have a small “bowl” and his “hat”.
- Whip the fresh cream (preferably cold from the fridge). When you see the first “wrinkles” add 2 tablespoons of icing sugar and continue to whip until the cream is nice frothy and firm.
- Place the cream in a sac-à-poche with knurled nozzle and fill the base of the puffs. Put over the pasta hat and sprinkle with icing sugar.
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