Top Chef‘s Eric Ripert’s Twist on Cream Puffs: Apricots!

09/10/2013 at 01:30 PM ET

Eric Ripert Apricot Cream Puff Profiteroles
FOOD & WINE/Chris Court, Inset: Adriel Reboh/PatrickMcMullan.com/Sipa USA

Eric Ripert likes to stir things up—and we’re not talking about a pot.

The reality-show judge and acclaimed French chef/owner of N.Y.C.’s Le Bernardin restaurant got an idea in his clever culinary head: to make profiteroles—miniature cream puffs—with fruit instead of pastry.

We found this intriguing and somewhat baffling: Why mess with perfection? If you’ve ever had a classic profiterole, you know that the sweet dough is a crucial component and the “holder” of the whipped cream stuffed inside.

But Ripert was on a mission. First, he cooked a few plump apricots with honey and vanilla seeds, then stuffed the juicy golden fruit with vanilla ice cream and topped it with warm chocolate sauce spiked with cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.

One mouthful and we were murmuring, “Pastry who?”

Bonus: Ripert’s recipe is gluten-free!

It’s such a winner that during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the dessert is available at the American Express Skybox, and on October 1, it will be included in Food & Wine Best New Chefs All-Star Cookbook.

Want to whip it up for dessert tonight? Here’s how:

Sautéed Apricot Profiteroles

Serves 4

Apricots:

3 tbsp. honey

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

4 large apricots, halved and pitted

4 small scoops of vanilla ice cream

Chocolate sauce:

3½ oz. good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

¾ cup heavy cream

1½ tbs. honey

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. grated nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground cloves

1. Prepare the apricots: In a large skillet, combine the honey and vanilla seeds and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the apricot halves, cut side down, and cook, moving them frequently in the skillet, until they start to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the apricots to a plate.

2. Make the chocolate sauce: Put the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, honey and spices and bring to a boil. Pour the cream over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

3. Set 1 apricot half cut side up in each bowl and top with a scoop of ice cream. Set another apricot half on top, cut side down, and drizzle with the warm chocolate sauce. Serve right away.

—Nancy Mattia

FILED UNDER: Dessert , Eric Ripert , Food

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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The Latest Craze in Disco Styles Is See-Through Jeans—but Beware of Foggy Bottoms

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On a clear day, you can see forever—or at least that’s the wicked thought behind L.A. designer Agi Berliner’s transparent idea: see-through jeans. Exhibitionists notwithstanding, most folks wear them over bathing suits or as attention-getting evening wear with halters, garter belts and body stockings. Created for the disco crowd, the $34 jeans are selling like, well, hot pants. In just six weeks, 25,000 pairs have already been sold in such major department store chains as Macy’s, Bonwit’s and Saks.

“What’s limiting American designers is that we’re afraid to do something different,” says Berliner, 32, a Hungarian émigré who fled with her family to the U.S. in 1956. Agi thought up the gimmick in London while marveling at the way plastics were being employed by designers of punk fashion. In her L.A. office, where she designs for La Parisienne junior sportswear, Agi spent five days on the phone and six weeks testing to come up with the right plastic.

Agi herself tried out the French-cut jeans with the zipper in front, and quickly found several problems: Some plastics tore away from stitching, others wouldn’t bend and all fogged with perspiration. The ideal material proved to be a vinyl supplied by a bookbinder. The steam was eliminated with a series of vents behind the knees and in the crotch. “They’re no hotter than polyester pants,” claims Agi, “and if you wear them with tights, they won’t stick to your legs.”

Whatever the discomfort and despite the problem of Saturday night feverishness, discomaniacs report one major advantage of the plastic pants: no laundry bills. To keep Berliner’s see-through jeans clear, all the wearer needs is a little Windex.

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