Whether you call them cream horns or lady locks, the long ago name for a pastry that resembled the curls of a woman's hair, they are fun to eat.
They are simply puff pastry that has been rolled very, very thin and wrapped around a metal form. After baking, the form is removed and the cream horn is stuffed with a variety of fillings.
While I own a set of lady lock forms I used for the finish of a cake in my book, "The New Pastry Cook", I couldn't see asking people to spend $24.00 for a set they may only use occasionally. So I came up with a substitute so you wouldn't miss out on these treats.
You're going to cover ice cream sugar cones with foil and wrap the puff pastry around those. The cream horns are a good size if you wrap them to the top, but you can make smaller ones by not wrapping all the way up. I have to say I was pretty pleased with myself for this one!
As I mentioned in last weeks blog, I used Trader Joe's puff pastry for this as it is rolled to about 1/16th inch. If you use Dufour's or another brand you will need to roll it out. In any case, trim the edges and you are ready to go.
I suggest you work the pastry on a piece of parchment paper. It will then be easy to pick up the parchment, place it on a baking sheet and pop it in and out of the freezer or refrigerator to keep it cold.
The one thing to watch is making sure the dough is cold. If it warms too much it will stretch. After one or two, you will be able to judge the manageability of the dough and the winding of it onto the cream horn form. It's actually pretty fast.
Cream horns can be rimmed in chocolate and filled with marshmallow cream as I have done or they can be filled with lemon curd, whipped cream and fruit, or a lightened pastry cream. I use a quick tempering method for the chocolate so it doesn't discolor if it sits for a day. If the filling is to be cold, then fill them at the last minute. The cream horns should not be refrigerated after baking as they lose their crispness.
These are best served the same day as they are made. Although you may have to fill them at the last minute, they can be wrapped with the puff pastry and frozen, unbaked, for months since they have to be baked from a frozen state.
Chocolate Marshmallow Cream Horns
Wrap the sugar cones in regular foil. Do not use the heavy foil as it doesn't fold as well. I made this template which works really well. Keep the foil tight and smooth to the cone. Otherwise, the puff pastry can get caught in the wrinkles and won't release well.
You can stack pieces of foil on top of each other and cut them all at once. Here is the template I used. You can use whatever works for you.
If you stack 4 pieces of foil and mark the top piece of foil, all the forms can be cut at once. Place the foil with the 12 inch side in front of you. Mark the foil and cut the top piece off.
Cut on the diagonal line so you have two pieces.
Wrap the cones. Be sure to place the cone so at least 1" of foil protrudes.
Roll the cone in the paper tightly and smoothly toward the opposite side.
Secure tip and tuck top foil into the cone to secure the foil.
If you are using TJ's puff pastry, the two sheets will make 8 cream horns so you will need 8 pieces of foil.
Thaw the puff pastry for 2 hours at room temperature of about 74°F. If the room is warmer it may be ready sooner. Please read Perfectly Acceptable Puff Pastry for thawing tips. Unroll the pastry carefully and flatten it out. It should be cold and firm. If not, place it on parchment, and then on a baking sheet. Refrigerate or freeze briefly to firm it up. Do not continue if the puff is soft.
Cut the pastry into about ¾ inch strips. Try not to go narrower. An easy way to start winding the dough onto the cones is to cover the tip first and then start wrapping the strips on the diagonal. I found no need to dampen the pastry to get it to stick together but mine was a tad tacky when I unrolled it and I didn't use flour on it.Continue wrapping the strip of puff pastry on the diagonal.
You will have to join the pastry strips as you run out while wrapping. Just make sure all the joined pieces are on one side and that you place that side down on the baking sheet. This will ensure that they will not pop up while baking if on the top side. Press the piece together well.
As you wrap each one, put it immediately into the freezer. Continue to wrap all the cones.
Freeze the cones rock hard.
Shortly before baking, preheat the oven to 400°F. Double pan the cream horns. Place the pan of cream horns on a second pan underneath. Place the cones in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Cover the top loosely with foil if they are browning too much. Carefully remove the foil wrapped cones as they will be hot. They will release with a slight twist. Return the empty cream horns to the oven and bake another 5 to 7 minutes to bake the inside of the cones. Cool completely.
Quick Tempering Chocolate
6 ounces semisweet chocolate (170 grams)
2 tablespoons crisco or like product – do not use oil or butter
Place in a small, narrow bowl slightly larger than the top of the cream horn and microwave on half power for about 2 minutes. It won't look melted. Use a small whisk to smooth is out. Alternately, place the chocolate and shortening in a bowl and place over hot water. Transfer to a small narrow bowl.
Rim the top of each cone in the chocolate, allowing the excess chocolate to drip back into the container.
Freeze briefly to just to set up. Do not leave them in the freezer as they may get soggy as they defrost.
Marshmallow Cream - go here for how to photo
3 tablespoons water
⅔ cup corn syrup
⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon sugar (75 grams or 2 ⅓ ounces)
2 large egg whites
1 tablespoons vanilla
In a small saucepan, bring the water, cornsyrup and ¼ cup (50 grams or 1 ¾ ounces) of sugar to a boil. Wash the sides of the saucepan down with a pastry brush (not plastic) dipped in hot water. Continue to boil hard until a candy thermometer reaches 246 degrees.
In the meantime, place the egg whites in a clean mixing bowl fitted with a whisk. When the temperature of the sugar syrup reaches 230 degrees, beat the egg whites to the soft peak stage. Slowly add the remaining sugar and return to the soft peak stage. If the whites get done before the syrup, reduce the speed to the lowest and keep mixing. Do not turn off the mixer. When the syrup comes to temperature, raise the speed of the mixer to medium and slowly drizzle it into the whites. Turn the mixer to high and beat until thick and lukewarm. Reduce the mixer to low and add the vanilla.
Yield: About 3 cups
Chocolate Rimmed Cones
Using a plain tip, pipe the marshmallow cream into the cone, extending it beyond the rim of the cone.
These are best served the same day.
These look amazing! I love your blog. Would you consider doing a blog on pastry chefs that you admire or pastry books that you consider indispensable? I think that would be very interesting. Blessings to you...
Hi Diane - The pastry chef I most admire is Bo Friberg who has written several editions of "The Professioanl Pastry Chef". The others are professional books such as "How Baking Works" by Paula Figoni and Understanding Baking by Joseph Amendola. The latter two books deal with baking science. Thank you for y9our kind email.
Josh Bardi says
Wow, those cones are insane looking. Its amazing how much you can do with baking.
Hi Josh - Baking is very creative which is why I like it so much. These were fun to do and a bit different from what we think of as baking.
Thanks Josh - baking is very creative which is why I enjoy it. These are a bit different from the usual baking and are a fun treat.
So happy to have this recipe!! The metal forms I bought are too small for a Missouri cream horn so these cones should do the trick. I'm excited to try this recipe. Your tips are very valuable.
This is an interesting blog. I wasn't sure how many would be interested, but glad you are. This seems to be a popular post.
These look lovely and sound delicious. They’re a little different than the recipe I’m familiar with but variety is the spice of life, no? I’m going to give this a try for the holidays. Thanks. Do you have any recipes for German cookies? Marzipan?
Hi JoAnne - If you go the cookie page in the recipe section you will find several German cookies. As to marzipan, there is an article on Almond paste but I am very clear that it works as a filling but not for cookies as they spread in rather odd shapes. Commercial almond paste and marzipan is cooked to remove moisture which makes a huge difference.
HI Joanne - Please go to the recipe tab and look at the cookie section. There are several German cookies there. As to the marzipan, I do have a post on Almond paste which is used to make marzipan but not marzipan itself. However, I caution not to use it as the main ingredient in cookies as they spread wildly. Commercial almond paste and marzipan are cooked to remove excess water making it much more stable.
Well, these are very large cream horns, but in Western PA and Youngstown they are definitely NOT cream horns or ladylocks. These are huge! The ladylocks I'm familiar with from those areas are small, AKA Clothespin cookies, since they were made by wrapping the dough around a clothespin (or form). They are filled with a marshmallow based buttercream filling usually, but I've never seen one with a chocolate rim. Yours are very pretty, but not at all like the small and delicate powdered sugar covered treats that melt in your mouth.
Hi Ellen - In the header of the article, I mention that these are indeed large. I also, suggest to make them smaller, just wind the puff pastry strips only part way up the cone, probably 1/3 for small, 1/2 for medium.
I just googled cream horns and these definitely fit the description. I think clothespin cookies may not be the same or they are the same and just a lot smaller. As you can see from the photo, the metal form is almost as big. Here in St. Louis these are cream horns.
I am confused on the directions for the marshmallow cream.
Bring the water, corn syrup and 1/4 Cup of water to a boil.....
Then beating the egg whites beat egg whites to soft peak and beat remaining sugar...is it not all the sugar that goes into the egg whites since only the corn syrup was used in the water on the stove top?
Was 1/4 Cup of sugar to go into the pan on the stove top?
Hi Nikki - yes, it is 1/4 cup sugar with the water and cornsyrup. The remainder is added to the to stabilize them when beating them to soft peaks. Thanks for bringing this to my attention, I have corrected the recipe.
Cathy from Rhinebeck NY says
Helen, these look great. I'm wondering does the heated sugar syrup cook the egg whites enough to make them safe to eat?
Hi Cathy - At the bakery, we finished all of our specialty and wedding cakes with Italian buttercream using egg whites and a hot sugar syrup. In 23 years there was never a problem. I have never taken the temperature of the egg whites after all the sugar syrup goes in but they are hot. Sorry I can't be more help.
I think I will try this by just using sugar cones, probably same outcome.
Let me know what happens. I think because the cones are patterned the puff might stick in the groves as it bakes in the oven and you may have trouble extracting the cone. Do let me know.
Helen, I am so going to try these.My mom used to make them when we were kids (puff pastry from scratch and she made the forms out of paper grocery bags, if you can believe it) I have a set of forms and have tried unsuccessfully over the years to make them. (the buttery pastry just slides off in a blob during the cooking process) is there a trick to using the forms?
Hi Eileen - Are you spraying or greasing the forms in any way? That will definitely make for sliding puff pastry. Just roll the pastry onto the forms tightly. The other thing is to make sure they are frozen solid before putting them in the 400°F oven. I have used my forms many times and they never slide off. Good luck - hope this helps.
Eileen Murphy says
Thanks for the tip! It has been years since I tried but I don't recall freezing first. Will give it a try..
Mom got her recipe from 1948 edition of women's home companion.
Hi Eileen - you're very welcome. My mother was from Europe but she got a lot of really good recipes from women's magazines of the time. Her Baklava came from a tiny little recipe book with a green and white cover.