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
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.