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An Interview With Ethaney Lee & Her Táche Cream Puffs Fit for Royalty

Elisa Croft

We've been following Ethaney's cooking journey for quite some time. In fact, we can't visit our in-law's without bringing a batch of her chocolate chip cookies. They're that good. Ethaney started working her magic with Táche and has crafted some of the most elevated and interesting recipes. So we were absolutely delighted when she created these Táche cream puffs that are truly fit for royalty. In this article, we dish about her inspiration, her dream dinner party scenario, the most unexpected ingredient she keeps on hand, and most importantly, her Táche cream puff recipe.

What is your go-to recipe, the dish that your friends and family request most, the one that you know like the back of your hand?

My go-to recipe for something easy but I know will be enjoyed is chicken milanese with some sort of simple arugula salad with lots of lemon and parmesan and simple roasted potatoes. In my head, chicken milanese is like the adult, more sophisticated version of ‘chicken fingers’ and so it’s always fun to make, serve and enjoy.


What advice would you share with someone who wants to start cooking/baking?

There’s so much pressure to immediately be ‘good’ at cooking or baking and I certainly felt that when I was first teaching myself. It’s okay if following a recipe is hard or confusing or even if you follow it to a tee- it doesn’t turn out right. Cooking is a form of play, a form of playfulness, a way to be creative and color outside the lines. Make mistakes, have fun, laugh at the dishes that don’t taste great and laugh with joy at the ones that do, always try again (or don’t!), be proud you’re trying something new.

 

What is the most used cooking/baking tool in your arsenal?

I bought these very cheap simple wooden spoons that come in a pack of 4 from my local Korean market. They are meant to be used while eating soup or rice but I use these for everything. Any time I visit the Korean store, I buy another pack. While they aren’t the most high quality, for $4 for 4…they’re a steal and strangely so functional. They are my most used cooking/baking tool in my entire kitchen.


What is one unexpected ingredient you have in your kitchen at all times?

I always have radish flowers or mustard flowers in my refrigerator. They add a little something to the most simple of dishes (like toast or beans) that makes me feel really happy. Sometimes on days that feel a little bleak, I cherish anything that adds a bit of brightness and color to my life.


Detail your dream dinner party, who’s invited, what’s on the menu, and where are you dining?

My dream dinner party might be hosting ‘Dinner Date’ at my home (which is where I serve a multi course meal to 9 guests that are often strangers to me and to each other!). It’s always so special to see 9 people come together who have never met, enjoy a lot food and wine, and leave feeling a bit more connected to their community, themselves and each other. The menu is ever changing but always made up with ingredients that are seasonal, a meal that feels decadent and luxurious yet very simple and cosy. It would be a menu that makes you feel warm and leave feeling comforted and cared for.


Who are you inspired by right now?

My best friend, Viv. She always inspires me to think more colorfully, to always seek beauty and to hold onto it, to never quiet the whimsy and child-like wonder I feel. Her endless creativity and the way she thinks of even the simplest things in life is so inspiring and contagious.


Tell us about your Táche recipe, what inspired you to create it, how do you see using pistachio milk in future recipes, and what did you learn from cooking with it?

When I was a child, my mom used to buy a big bin of frozen cream puffs from Costco. I am not sure if I actually liked them but I still remember the slightly stale plasticky taste of the choux pastry and the frozen overly sweet custard filling. Cream puffs are nostalgic for me and also one that feel and look very magical - like something Marie Antoinette might have enjoyed. I wanted to try making choux pastry without water but with pistachio milk instead. I’ve learned that pistachio milk is so, so versatile and can be an easy replacement for any recipe that requires milk/water with so much ease. I can’t wait to use more Táche in bread baking. I think the lightly nutty flavor could add a lot of goodness.


About Ethaney Lee

Ethaney Lee is a home cook / digital creator who loves to honor cravings, cooking as a means of care for herself and others, and finding joy and comfort in always taking the time to do so. See what Ethaney is cooking up next @tenderherbs

"Cooking is a form of play, a form of playfulness, a way to be creative and color outside the lines."

INGREDIENTS
227 g Táche Pistachio Milk
115 g salted butter
150 g AP flour
4 eggs
1 pint heavy cream
1 vanilla bean pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbs powdered sugar + more for dusting
80 g shelled unsalted pistachios (chopped very finely)
Blackberry jam or compote
INSTRUCTIONS
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a saucepan on medium high heat, bring pistachio milk and butter to a boil. Once the pistachio milk and butter are boiling, turn off heat and add the 150 g of AP flour and mix the ingredients quickly with a wooden spoon until the ingredients form a dough. Put back onto the burner on medium heat and continue quickly stirring the dough around for at least one minute.
  • Let the dough cool down a bit and transfer into a mixing bowl or stand mixer. With the mixer on high, pour in one egg yolk at a time letting each egg incorporate well into the dough. After the fourth egg, let the mixer run for an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Spoon the dough into a piping bag (or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off) and pipe 10 little choux mounds giving at least 1 inch between each puff. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then 350 degrees for an additional 15 minutes or until each puff looks golden brown and puffy! Do NOT open the oven while these are baking. They will lose their puff!
  • While the choux pastry is baking, combine the heavy cream, vanilla beans/extract with 1 tbs of powdered sugar in your stand mixer or mixing bowl. Whip together until the cream forms soft peaks.
  • Once the cream puffs are baked, let cool for 20 minutes. Using a serrated knife, carefully slice the top off each cream puff. Taking the bottom piece of the cream puff, spoon a tablespoon of jam or compote, followed by whipped cream and then sprinkle a generous amount of crushed pistachios. Place the top of the cream puff back on and sprinkle with a dusting of powdered sugar. Repeat with the rest of the cream puffs and enjoy!
  • For making an icing drizzle instead of a dusting of powdered sugar: mix 3 tbs of Tàche pistachio milk with 1 cup of powdered sugar and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • Instead of vanilla bean whipped cream, add 1/2 tsp of orange blossom extract or rose water extract.