Sunday, 10 February 2008

Cream horns

It’s silly to talk about trends in cakes, but when was the last time you saw a cream horn? How can something so delectable fall so out of fashion? It’s an outrage! So this is my little contribution to bring them back into the minds of you all out there.

Until I started investigating the disappearance of the cream horn I hadn’t considered how they were moulded into the distinctive cornucopia shape. I then purchased these intriguing moulds :

When they arrived my instinct was to put them on my fingers and start cackling like a witch. When my brother saw them he put one on his finger and turned it into that mouse from Fingerbobs. This was a tv programme shown quite a lot in Britain in the 1970s and 1980s – the odd thing is that I remember it ALWAYS being on, yet only 13 episodes were made. It was presented by a slightly creepy man who wore a glove and stuck cheap cardboard puppets onto his fingers. There aren’t many things a gloved and carded finger can look like so you got a mouse, a seagull, a tortoise and a scampi. Yep, a scampi, I kid you not. And there was the insanely catchy ‘fingermouse’ song. Listening to it again on Youtube highlights the poor lyrics of “fingermouse, fingermouse, always on the brinkermouse”. Goodness we were easily pleased back then. But I digress....cream horns.

The ‘horn’ part of a cream horn is made from puff pastry. This, along with filo, is a pastry that I use shop bought. One day, I will attempt to make it but not yet. The trick is to cut long strips of the pastry and wind it round the mould. A dab of water on the end of the strip enables it to stick.
Glazed and ready for the oven:

Once the horn is made you can fill it how you please. I decided on custard cream with raspberries for half of them, and custard cream and chocolate for the other half. While the horns can be baked the day before, I would only recommend filling on the day you will serve them – otherwise you risk making the pastry soggy.

Cooked horn ready for filling:

I found that one sheet of puff pastry gave me 6 horns. The recipe below is for 12 horns.

For the horns:
2 sheets of ready rolled puff pastry
1 egg
Caster sugar

For the filling:
300ml double cream
250g good quality fresh custard
Vanilla extract, if required
Small box of raspberries
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1 small tub chocolate curls (available in the cake decorating section of the supermarket – chocolate chips would also work)

How to make:

- Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan oven 180°C/400°F/Gas mark 6.
- Line your baking sheets with baking paper. I recommend putting only 4 horns on each baking sheet as they puff up.
- Have a little bowl of water next to where you are working.
- Unroll the pastry and cut strips of about 1.5cm lengthways. Dampen the end with water and then roll around the cream horn mould taking care to overlap so there are no gaps. Place on the baking sheet and repeat until you have 4.
- Brush the pastry with beaten egg and then sprinkle with caster sugar.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 15 minutes. You’re aiming for a dark golden colour. In my oven, this took 18 minutes.
- Allow the horns to cool slightly before removing the mould. The pastry will have puffed up around the mould but with gentle twisting it is easy to remove.
- Repeat until all the horns are baked.
- Both fillings have the same custard cream. Start whisking the cream until it thickens slightly. Add the vanilla extract, if using, and whisk until incorporated.
- With the whisk still running, spoon several tablespoons of the custard into the cream. When it is incorporated add more custard. It’s best to do this gradually as you don’t want to inhibit the cream thickening. You won’t be able to beat all the custard into the cream so use your judgement.
- Now all that is required is assembly. Spoon half the custard cream into a piping bag and pipe a horn one third full. Add some raspberries (if the raspberries are tart, spoon some light brown sugar over them and let it be absorbed – I did this the day before building my horns), then pipe some more cream, then some raspberries and so on.
- For the chocolate horns stir the chocolate curls into the custard cream, then pipe into the horns, adding more chocolate if desired.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.
- Eat.


Fiona said...

Mmmmmm!! How DID something so good fall out of fashion?

Sharon said...

I've learned something new today; it never occurred to me that cream horns were made that way! I can't remember the last time I saw them for sale either.
Fingerbob is a bit creepy seeing it now but I think Pipkins has improved with age!

glamah16 said...

Some more gadgets ave to buy. Making these looks like fun. They never went out of style in my book!

Carolyn said...

I remember my grandad making these when I was little, he was a baker, and must have made 1000s I guess in those days!

Rosie said...

OH WOW my word what beautiful creations!! I adore your new gadgets for making these wonderful cream horns.

Rosie x

Holler said...

I loved finger mouse, we were so easily pleased, weren't we?
those cream horns look so good! I would never be able to stop at eating just one!

Archana said...

oooooo. These are so tempting, with those drooling pictures. Yummy is what i can say. They bring back fond memories of my childhood when all I wanted was these cones with cream, and my mother used to say a big NO :)

aforkfulofspaghetti said...

Brings back great memories of making cream horns at school! Fun to make, and they look great!

Ling's Passion said...

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David said...

Hi, having problems with the pastry cones slipping of the moulds during cooking, can anyone help?

The Caked Crusader said...

Hi David

I'm trying to picture what you mean - because they cook laying down, so what is sliding?
Did you make sure that you brushed the ends of the pastry with water to make sure they stuck together?

The Caked Crusader

David said...

Do you grease the moulds with butter before wrapping the pastry aroud?. The problem is that the half cooked horn is sliding of the mould in the middle of cooking

The Caked Crusader said...

No, I didn't grease the horn mould - but they were non stick. I might have sponged some water on them if they weren't. Puff pastry is already very buttery without adding more butter.
If you wet the ends of the pastry to ensure it seals into the horn shape, it shouldn't be a problem.

Starr said...

OK great! Now I am going to be on the lookout for these horn molds! I have GOT to try making these! They look heavenly!