...or is it Jesi? What is the plural of Jesus? Perhaps only God Himself knows! I'll have to ask Him when the Rapture comes and I ascend to Heaven with the rest of His Flock. Anyway! Here is a recipe for "Sweet Jesus" puff pastries!
Why settle for flavorless communion wafers? My recipe yields a delicious Christ-shaped treat, filled with "blood" (raspberry coulis) and "water" (blue-tinted pastry cream).
But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. Instead, one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once blood and water came out. (He who saw this has testified so that you also may believe. His testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth.) —John 19:33-35
I figure, since these pastries already look so much like the real Jesus, they can transubstantiate that much more smoothly! Plus, the kids love them.
For Christ's blood:
• 6 ounces raspberries (fresh or frozen)
• 3-4 tablespoons sugar
• 1 tablespoon red wine (or other booze of your choice!)
• pinch salt
For holy water pastry cream:
• 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
• 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
• 3 large egg yolks
• 2 tablespoons cornstarch
• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 15-20 drops blue food coloring
For Sweet Jesus puff pastry:
• 2 large eggs plus 1 large egg white
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 10 pieces
• 2 tablespoons whole milk
• 6 tablespoons water
• 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpouse flour, sifted
For Christ's blood:
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and shake to combine. Let bowl sit out on the counter for several hours, shaking every now and then, until berries have released their juices and sugar is dissolved.
2. Transfer berries and juices to blender and puree. Strain liquid through a fine mesh strainer and reserve.
For holy water pastry cream:
1. Heat half-and-half, 4 tablespoons of the sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan until simmering, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
2. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks and remaining sugar in a mixing bowl until sugar is dissolved and yolks are creamy, about 30 seconds. Add cornstarch and continue whisking until yolks are pale yellow and thick, 30 more seconds.
3. When half-and-half simmers, gradually whisk it into the yolks to temper. Return the mixture to the saucepan and simmer, whisking constantly, until thickened and slightly bubbling, about 30 seconds. Off heat, whisk in butter and vanilla.
4. Strain pastry cream through fine mesh over a bowl. Add blue food coloring until color resembles cartoon water (it will have a greenish tint, live with it). Press plastic wrap directly over cream and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
For the Sweet Jesus puff pastry:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Beat the eggs and egg whites in a liquid measuring cup; you should have 1/2 cup (discard the excess).
2. Bring butter, milk, water, sugar, and salt to boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Off heat and stir in flour with a rubber spatula. Return saucepan to low heat and cook, smearing the mixture with the spatula constantly, until it's shiny and fat coats the saucepan bottom, about 3 minutes.
3. Immediately transfer the mixture to a standing mixer with a paddle. Mix on high setting for about 10 seconds. With machine still running, gradually add the eggs in a steady stream. Scrape bowl, and continue mixing at high speed until sticky past forms, about a minute longer. Transfer mixture to a piping bag.
4. Pipe 6 cross-shaped figures onto a parchment paper. Make sure the "heads" are circular, and try to twist the "legs" a little so it looks like a crucified human (as opposed to just a cross). Smooth out the Jesuses with a teaspoon dipped in cold water if you need to.
5. Bake for 15 minutes (do not open oven door!) and then reduce the oven temp to 375 degrees. Continue to bake about 10 minutes longer until the Jesuses are golden brown and fairly firm.
6. Remove baking sheet from the oven. With a paring knife, poke small "stigmata" holes into the Jesuses: one on each hand, one on top of the head, one in the feet, and a larger slit for the spear wound in the stomach. These holes are essential, both for filling and for allowing steam to escape as the puffs cool (otherwise they'll collapse!)
7. Return the poked Jesuses to the oven. Turn off the oven, and prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon handle. Let the Jesuses dry in the turned-off oven for 45 minutes. Then, transfer the Jesuses to a wire rack to cool until you're ready to fill them.
To finish the Jesuses:
1. Transfer holy water pastry cream to one piping bag. Transfer the Christ blood to another piping bag (you can also use one of those little squirting things that you shoot stuff into your nose and ears).
2. Pipe the blue pastry cream into the stomach stigmata hole until mostly filled. Pipe the raspberry coulis into the other stigmata holes until slightly overflowing (go easy on the head hole). Then, pipe a little bit of blood into the stomach stigmata, over the pastry cream.
3. At this point, they are ready to eat, but you can also use melted chocolate to decorate Jesus' face (just put some chocolate chips in a bowl and microwave them at 50% for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring occasionally). Use a spoon and drip/smear the chocolate into eyes, a mouth, and of course a beard.
Some people might say you'd want to paint a frowny-face on the crucified, suffering Lord, while others might say you should paint a happy face (since at this point, all is accomplished). Far be it for me to speculate on such theological matters, I just want to eat the little guys! Yum!