You know when you take a bite of puff pastry dessert and just breathe a sigh of relief and satisfaction? Well, get ready. Because after many tests (I lost count — 4, 40 or 400, maybe?), I’ve cracked the code on the how to make DIY cone molds, for you to bake your own homemade cream horns!
It’s an easy to grasp, simple technique, it is a family -friendly activity, it just needs a few basic ingredients and furthermore, helps in protecting the environment.
You ask me how?? Well you get to recycle all those old magazines that you get in mail every week & probably end up throwing them in the recycling bin. So why not repurpose those magazines before discarding them. No need to spend money on buying the metallic cone molds that you’ll probably use 5,10 or 15 times a year max. Smart…eh!
ORIGINS OF PUFF PASTRY & CONE MOLDS
If you’re a fan of French pastries like chocolate or almond croissants, Danishes, Mille-feuille crust, the St Honoré base. Or the modern recipes such as:
- pigs in a blanket,
- parmesan twists,
- beef wellington (made famous by none other than Chef Gordon Ramsey),
- hand pies,
- rose pies,
- cinnamon rolls,
- chicken pot pie,
- fruit filled turnovers,
- en croute;
Then you’re surely aware of one common factor that makes all the above desserts taste so awesome. That extraordinary ingredient is Puff pastry!
No wonder Puff pastry is French in origin and is also known as pâté feuilletée. Claudius Gele invented this lucky bread concoction in 1645, who just wanted to make a simple bread for his ailing father using the simplest of ingredients – flour, butter & water. Why I call this lucky bread concoction???
Because this young pastry cook apprentice put in a lot of love into his effort of kneading & folding butter into the bread dough (the technique is actually called Laminating), that developed into the greatest product we know today as, “flaky, crispy, soft, melt into your mouth – PUFF PASTRY”. The technique involved in making PUFF PASTRY is difficult to master. The preparation requires extreme precision in order for the end result to be perfect.
Puff pastry is baked around a stick for a roll or, more commonly, around a conical mold for a horn, just like ice cream cones and then filled with fresh cream or more durable buttercream. These Creams horns are called cannoncini in Italy, kornedákia in Greece, Rurki z kremem in Polish, Trubochki in Russia, and Schaumrollen in Austria.
MATERIAL NEEDED FOR MAKING CONE MOLDS
We are not going to discuss Puff pastry recipe in this post, we’ll tackle that in the future. We will however, discuss how to make sturdy cone molds at home with few basic items like:
- Old magazines, (preferred because of paper thickness. We do not want to make floppy cone molds)
- Aluminum foil, cut into 6″ x 6″ squares
- Parchment paper, cut into 6″ x 6″ squares
- Scotch tape
- Icing of any color
I used blue icing in the video, as I don’t mind my crème horns with a teeny-tiny tinge of blue showing on them. They ultimately will be filled with crème, nuts, jam or curd. But if you are a stickler for perfection, use white icing.
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DIY Cone Molds
- Few Old magazine, or newspaper
- 6"x 6" Aluminum foil, cut into squares
- 6"x 6" Parchment paper, cut into squares
- 1 Icing, any color
FOR CREAM HORNS BASE
- 250 gms Puff pastry dough, thawed
- Spraying oil
- 1 Egg, to make egg wash
- 1 Tbsps. Water, to make egg wash
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING CONE MOLDS
- Take thick magazine paper and fold into half.
- Start folding from one corner of the paper into cone shape.
- Secure with tape.
- Repeat steps 1-3 till desired number of cones are made.
- Fold down the pointy parts of the cones on the top, to give a flat shape.
- Take 6” x 6” foil, place cone onto the foil.
- Wrap foil all around the cone. Repeat for all the cones.
- Use 6” x 6” parchment paper to cover the cone.
- Secure the parchment paper using icing (We are not using tape to avoid getting plastic & non-edible glue in direct contact with puff pastry. I only had blue icing at the time of making this video, you can use white or any other color too).
- Fold down the pointy parts of the cones on the top, to give a flat shape.
- Cone molds are now ready to use.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING CREAM HORNS BASE
- Preheat the oven to 400° F / 200° C.
- On a clean, slightly dusted flat surface, keep the puff pastry dough.
- Flatten the dough and start rolling.
- Keep rolling out, until the dough is ⅛ ” thick.
- Using a pastry cutter, make 1” strips. Roll each strip lengthwise so that it doubles in length. (If using a frozen pastry sheet, skip steps 2 & 3).
- Remove the strips that are too small or are not straight.
- Use cooking spray to coat the cone molds.
- Starting at the end of a mold, wrap the strip around the mold in a spiral manner.
- Lightly press along with your fingers all the wrapped edges to seal them.
- Repeat the same with the remaining cream horns molds.
- Roll out and cut the strips from leftover dough.
- Mix egg & water to make egg wash.
- Coat cream horns with egg wash using a brush.
- Place the wrapped molds on a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Remove the horns from the oven.
- Place on a wire rack and allow to cool for 10 minutes on the baking sheet.
- Gently twist the mold to release the cream horns from the cone mold.
- Store in an airtight jar for a couple of days or fill up with cream to serve immediately.
Once the cream horns are out of the oven, let them sit and completely cool down. Take a big air-tight wide mouthed container & gently place them inside. Make sure not to over crowd them. I find stacking them vertically prevents them from crumbling & keeps them intact.
Planning for a dinner party or a kid’s birthday party. Bake these a couple of days ahead, store and add fillings of your choice, on the day of use.
- There are multiple crème fillings to choose from :
- French Cream Chantilly (which is just a fancy name for lightly sweetened whipped cream)
- Butter cream icing
- Crème diplomate
- Crème mousseline
- My fav Crème pâtissière, or add some chocolate to the cream to make chocolate crème pâtissière. Do not confuse this with custard, crème pâtissière is of thicker consistency.
- Fruity fillings such as this one.
- Alcohol infused whipped cream – For the brave ones add spirits to the cooled down crème pâtissière to retain flavor. You can add Cointreau, Grand Marnier, Baylies or Kirsch. This option is strictly for grown-ups!!
- Sprinkle some cinnamon powder to the puff pastry dough just before baking them, to add that earthy fragrance.
- Gently press some finely chopped pistachios on the opening of the cream horn before baking. Once the cream horns will come out of the oven, the pistachios will be toasty and more nuttier than ever.
- You can use thick fruit puree, fruit paste, jam or fruit curd as fillings.
- Top with nuts like hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, etc.
- Sprinkle some raw sugar on the cream horns when you pull them out from the oven, this will give it added texture. Or dust with confectioner’s sugar just before serving!
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