Cream horns. Boy do people ever overdo it with cream horns. You see them stuffed with all kinds of crazy things: custards, curds, puddings, cream cheese, marscapone, jams and mousses. What ever happened to the cream? But then what ever happened to the horn? Why are nearly all cream horn shells made from puff pastry these days? And then not very good puff pastry? The proper way to make a cream horn is with a tuile.
Readers who know me know that I rarely shy away from anything rich. But a puff pastry cream horn is just too much of a good thing. Even in a best case scenario, when the puff pastry is home-made, the preponderance of butter distracts from the filling. And when the puff pastry is less than ideal (i.e. the cheap pre-made commercial stuff), the shortening in the dough coats your tongue, preventing you from experiencing the satiny goodness of the cream (assuming it’s really cream at all).
A tuile shell on the other hand is crisp, sweet, light and lean, a perfect compliment to a couple cubic inches of good whipped cream. Making one is a snap. You simply curl a warm tuile into a cone shape and pinch the overlapped edges together. Then stand the cone upright, narrow end down, in a champagne flute, shot glass, or cordial glass until the cone hardens (failing that you can insert them into store-bought ice cream cones until they cool down, a slightly redundant idea, but whatever works, works).
The alternative is a specialty cone mold but they’re expensive things. And anyway, they’re really designed for puff pastry cones, which if you’re curious, are made by wrapping a thin strip of puff pastry dough around the mold in a spiral pattern. But then molds are also very large too, since a cream horn nowadays is thought of as a breakfast pastry or dessert, not the dainty accompaniment to a bowl of fresh berries it was intended to be.