Lady locks, cornetti de crema and cream horns are fundamentally the same pastry; they may differ only in filling and shape. Cornetti de crema usually has a mascarpone-based filling, but it's at the cook's discretion whether lady locks are filled with custard, confectioner's icing or buttercream. The molds vary, too, but it doesn't affect the pastry; you can use conical molds or cylindrical cannoli molds. You save about 12 hours of inactive prep time if you use frozen puff pastry. Thaw frozen pastry for 45 minutes at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator before you start.
Things You'll Need
- Frozen puff pastry
- Confectioner's sugar
- Eggs (optional)
- Cornstarch (optional)
Grease eight molds for every sheet of puff pastry. Unfold the dough onto a lightly floured work surface.
Slice the pastry dough into 1/2-inch-wide strips with a pastry wheel. Wrap a strip of dough around each mold, overlapping each layer by 1/4 inch. Place each wrapped mold on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Chill the wrapped molds in the freezer for 30 minutes. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and mix an egg with a spoonful of cold water.
Brush the egg wash on the pastries. Sprinkle powdered sugar on all sides of the pastry and place the pan in the oven.
Bake the pastry until caramelized and golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes. Let the pastries cool to room temperature. Slide each lady lock out of its mold and pipe them with filling. Store lady locks in the refrigerator for up to two days.
Combine 1 part room-temperature butter with 4 parts powdered sugar using an electric mixer until smooth.
Add enough milk to the buttercream to make it soft and spreadable. About 1 tablespoon per cup of buttercream should work.
Spoon the buttercream in a piping bag fitted with a wide tip. You can also use a sealable plastic bag and snip off a corner. Fill the lady locks after they cool.
Heat milk in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-low heat until hot. You need 1 1/2 cups of milk for every eight lady locks. Season the milk to taste with vanilla beans or vanilla extract.
Beat 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of sugar in a mixing bowl for every 3/4 cup of milk. Slowly pour the hot milk in the egg yolks while whisking vigorously.
Add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to the mixing bowl for every 1 cup of custard, and mix. Return the custard to the saucepan.
Cook the custard until it thickens, or about 20 minutes. Let the custard cool to room temperature'; then chill it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Add the custard to a piping bag and fill the lady locks.
Tips & Warnings
- Mix 1 cup of powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of milk or cream for a quick confectioner's-icing filling.
- Gently pat the pastry dough with a paper towel if you see moisture after you unfold it.
- Repair tears by gently pressing them together with lightly moistened fingers.
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