Marvel’s Secret Invasion on Disney+ may be coming to an end but you can still have a secret invasion of your own! These decadent chocolate-filled puff pastries are hiding a secret, some hide a tangy lime filling as well. The best part about these treats (maybe a tie for best, the taste was pretty amazing too) is that they are actually pretty easy to make. I know there are a lot of steps, but I promise, it’s easier than it looks.
Make some delicious and deceptively easy puff pastries filled with decedent dark chocolate creme patissiere. But watch out! Some of these pastries have been secretly invaded with a tangy lime filling that takes them to another level of amazing.
- 2 sheets frozen pre-made puff pastry dough
- 1 stick butter, melted
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup key lime juice
- 1/4 cup water
- 3 Tbsp water
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 egg yolks
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup lime syrup
- green food coloring
- Remove the frozen puff pastry dough from the fridge and thaw according to box directions (usually no more than 40 minutes).
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Melt butter in microwave-safe bowl.
- Use a pizza cutter to cut each sheet of dough into 16 squares.
- Place the squares on a baking sheet covered in parchment paper and brush melted butter on top of the squares.
- Bake puff pastry dough until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Make the lime syrup. Start by juicing approximately 12-15 key limes (note that all limes are different and it may take more or less limes to reach the 1/2 cup of juice needed).
- Dissolve 1 Tbsp of cornstarch in 3 Tbsp of water.
- In a small (non-aluminum) sauce pan combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 cup lime juice, and 1/4 cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all the sugar is dissolved.
- Stir in the cornstarch mixture and boil, stirring continuously, for 30 seconds or until it thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a separate, larger pan, heat the milk and vanilla over medium heat until it boils. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a separate bowl, wish the egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy (this takes a while, I recommend a stand mixer). Add 1/4 cup cornstarch and whisk until no lumps remain.
- Whisk in 1/4 cup of the hot milk into the egg mixture until fully incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk, save the pan for the next step.
- Pour the mixture back into the pan through a strainer. Whisk continuously while cooking over medium-high heat until mixture thickens and slowly boils.
- Remove from heat and stir in the butter.
- Divide mixture evenly between two separate bowls. Add 1/2 cup of the lime syrup and a few drops of green food coloring to one bowl, whisk until fully mixed.
- Place 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring well after each cycle, until fully melted.
- Add the melted chocolate to the second bowl of creme patissiere and whisk until fully incorporated.
- Cover bowls with plastic wrap and set in the fridge for 2 hours to chill.
- Once chilled, put into piping bag and pipe into the puff pastry squares. Put the lime filling in half the squares. Put the chocolate into all the squares. NOTE: the chocolate creme is thick and may need to be brought up to room temp to pipe.
- Mix up the chocolate and chocolate/lime pastries when serving so no one knows which ones are the invaders until it's too late!
Enlist an army to help you with your secret invasion
I had no less than four eager helpers when I made these and it made a huge difference. Especially since we were silly enough to whisk everything by hand (we own a stand mixer, not sure what I was thinking…). Being able to have different people working on different parts of the recipe was a big help. It also was a lot of fun having everyone helping out.
Admittedly, letting the 16-year-old who’d never filled pastry before do so may have not been the best idea (he split the bag because he squeezed too hard, hence the somewhat messy final product). But everyone has to learn sometime and it was a great family project. In the end, the experience was worth the mess. So get some help when you make these.
Don’t be intimidated by the number of steps
I know I touted this as an easy recipe, but then you snuck a peek at the number of steps and called me a few bad names. I was certain it would be a difficult bake too when I started. But I was pleasantly surprised once I got started. Even though there are a lot of steps, most of them are quick steps and actually pretty easy.
The most difficult step was whisking the egg yolk and sugar. We had to pass that bowl around the table a few times because our arms needed breaks. Don’t ask why we didn’t use the stand mixer. We were silly. If you have a stand/hand mixer I highly recommend using it to save yourself the trouble. Unless you skipped the gym, then use this as your workout.
Whisking the sugar and eggs was the most demanding step. But the most tricky step is heating the milk. Be very careful when heating the milk to not scorch it. It can be easy to scorch the bottom without even getting the milk to boil. So watch the milk and keep stirring. Now if you do scorch the milk some people say that adding a pinch of salt or some other seasoning will save the milk. Of course, adding some flavoring doesn’t reverse the scorch, it just covers up the flavor. Luckily I haven’t had to ever try fixing scorched milk (oh I’m sure I will one day) so I can’t personally vouch for this method but it might be worth a try if you do scorch the milk.
Double-check intel from spies
So in all the pictures, you see some huge, triangle-shaped (supposed to be triangle-shaped) pastries. And not nearly as many pastries as I claim you’ll make. I have to admit, I was trying something new with these pastries. It didn’t work. So I’m telling you, just make the simple squares. Which will work and are super easy. Use a pizza cutter (an underrated kitchen tool) and slice the pre-made pastry sheets up into sixteen neat squares each. They’ll puff up nicely and will be perfect bite-sized treats instead of the oversized monsters I baked.
Don’t be wasteful with your leftover ingredients
When separating your egg yolks, be sure to save your egg whites for later. There are a lot of different ways that the whites can be used instead of just throwing them out. My son made some great pancakes with them the next morning. They are also great for omelets or frittatas. You can even make up a nice angel food cake with them. If there’s some extra creme patisserie it’ll pair very nicely with angel food cake. There won’t be extra, I predict you’ll eat any left-over creme right out of the bowl, but it’s nice to pretend right?
But while we’re talking about extra creme patisserie, it can be frozen to be used later if you can manage not to eat it. Creme patisserie can also have whipped cream folded into it to give it a lighter texture. Technically this turns it into diplomat creme which is still delicious. This is an easy way to stretch the extra creme for a second dessert.
Decorating your Secret Invasion Puff Pastries
So, my pastries lacked a certain finesse. I was planning on melting some chocolate and using the fork method to decorate the tops. For those who don’t know, the fork method consists of dipping the fork in melted chocolate, then quickly moving the fork back and forth a few inches above the target to create thin lines of chocolate. It is quick and looks fancy, making it a preferred way of decorating small desserts. But because of the pastry bag mishap, my pastries were already covered in chocolate creme patisserie and I didn’t want to overdo it. Still, I recommend it for your pastries. It will look really nice and elevate the pastries to the next level, especially if they’re being served at a party.
The next level of intense
I love to make things from scratch. I make all kinds of things by hand that most people buy pre-made. And yes, I have made puff pastry from scratch. It is a long and difficult process with many places to make mistakes. Believe me when I say that there is no reason for anyone to ever make their own puff pastry. Just buy the frozen stuff. I’m not even including a recipe for the crazy people who insist that making it from scratch is better. Those psychos have a recipe already and the rest of us don’t need it. Just go to the frozen section of your local grocery store, by the frozen pies, and grab a box. There, done, now move on.
This puff pastry recipe makes for the best invasion ever
Usually, invasions are bad. Especially secret alien invasions. But if there has to be an invasion, some yummy lime sneaking into some dark chocolate pastries is my kind of invasion! Even better is the surprise aspect of only having the lime “invade” some of the pastries and not all of them. So gather your army, bake these treats to fortify them, and see if you can stop the invasion before it moves on to your morning pancakes!
The Secret Invasion finale streams this Wednesday on Disney+. Will you be trying your hand at our puff pastries? Let us know on Twitter or in The Cosmic Circus Discord.