Sunday, May 6, 2012
I think this is the recipe that I recieve the most questions about, mostly on technique.
Choux Pastry is the basic pastry dough for profiteroles(cream puff), beignets, eclairs, churros, french crullers and Gateau St. Honore. It just depends on how it is piped and cooked (baked or fried).
Last December, for my 3rd Uncle's 3 year Memorial Service, I was in charge of the refreshments after the service. I prepared 4 items, Kek Batik/ Hedgehog slice, Wholemeal Cha Siew Pau (recipe to be coming up much later), Sambal Bilis Sandwiches and the last item is this. Choux puffs filled with strawberry cream. I chose to make cream puffs because I could make them way ahead.
The basic recipe that I've been using all along is from The Golden Book of Desserts(Publisher: Page One). The cover of the book that you see on Amazon is different than what I have, but the inside looks the similiar. It is actually the same, just that it wears a different attire.
I don't recommend this book if you are a newbie as the instructions can be vague and some important steps are missing. For example, non-churned ice cream recipes don't mention for the custard to be chilled and the whipped cream is folded in right after the custard is cooked! This is a true disaster for new bakers. But I'd say, the pictures in the book is very very pretty, very inspirational.
Buy this if you can guess the method just by seeing the ingredients or you've made something similiar and you know the proper steps. If not, don't. I didn't notice the flaws when I bought it. I was too enchanted with the variations of recipes and the salivating pictures.
Basic Choux Pastry
Recipe adapted from Golden Book of Desserts
150g all purpose flour (9.8% protein)
90g salted butter
4 Grade A eggs (about 63gm each, shells on)
Note: I was doing double batch in the pictures for my uncle's memorial service.
1. Sift flour to remove clumps and mix with sugar, set aside.
2. Bring water and butter to a boil on low heat.
3. When butter has fully melted, dump (1) in at one go. Stir immediately with a wooden spoon, and continue to stir until a dough is formed, and it leaves the sides of the pot.
4. Remove pot from heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes. (I just whack it until it turns warm)
5. Beat in eggs one by one, making sure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next. Beat mixture until it is smooth and glossy.
6. Pipe or spoon mixture onto baking trays, about the size of a small lime/calamansi 2 inches apart from each other. Bake in a preheated oven of 190C for 10 mins and 170C for another 15 mins.(Nowadays I bake for 180C(fan)/200C for 20 minutes, time depending on size. Very large ones will need an hour)
7. (find a vulnerable area on the puff) Cut a small slit immediately upon removal from oven to release steam from inside the puff.
8. Leave to cool down totally before piping in the filling.
1. I don't bother about whether the eggs are cold or not.
2. I just whack the dough(after cooking) to warm enough not to cook eggs and I'll start putting in the eggs, one by one. Whacking it speeds up the cooling and I'm lazy to wait.
3. I bake my puffs until they feel really light.
4. If they are baked thoroughly enough, they will soften after being filled, but won't turn soggy, just nice and with a good chew.
5. Don't subsitute the water with milk. Milk burns at high temperatures. You need the high temperature for a good puff!
6. Don't put in more sugar. Sugar will cause the puffs brown too much before they even dry out.
7. It's ok to use spoon instead of piping them out.
8. I use any tip I like as long as it's big enough. My tips are not branded, hence, no number to provide.
9. Hand mixers probably is better off with half of this amount. The final whacking is quite stressful to the hand mixer. Mine smelled when I did it last time with the whole recipe. Half is fine.
10. If you choose to use unsalted butter, put in 1/4 tsp salt into the cooked mixture.
11. If you can't bake them all together, you can bake it tray by tray, the piped dough can withstand waiting, but don't let it be exposed and dry up. Best is, pipe before you bake to reduce the need of covering the piped ones.
12. Puffs can be baked ahead of time before filling. If I'm making this for a party, I bake them 1-2 days ahead and keep in an air tight container at room temperature. If any longer, just store them in the fridge, but they can get quite bulky. Filled puffs must be chilled. Leftover filled ones can be frozen. I've kept some frozen for months and they still taste good.
I've also made piped some to be looooong and sprinkled them with sugar. Sadly the sugar melted, but it made the crust extra crunchy. We had these plain, unfilled.
Check out my pastry recipes to see more variations.
|beautiful big cave to fill with delicious cream of choice|
And these long ones were attacked by the just bathed choux monsters...ignore their uncombed state.