Rite, I confess that I'm a lazy blogger. Even a monthly baking challenge still failed me to post at least once a month. I think I'm kinda (really) late submitting this month entry. Better late than never I say, coz this month is about choux pastry and I love it. Made it once before but it was kinda dry and tasted a bit eggy.
For this challenge I use Rachel Allen’s recipe. First time I saw her I had a ‘strong’ feeling towards the way she presents her show. But now, I love her hehe. Google or youtube her if you want. She has this charming voice and this beautiful bouncy golden hairs. Gorgeous
Anyway, the recipe I use is for eclairs and it’s quite a success. It should make about 25 eclairs but I made about 8 instead. I like those gigantic, humongous eclairs filled in with cremé chantilly and dipped in chocolate caramel ganache. During my research, I came across many recipes and tips for producing the crispy texture and dry interior. The method of reducing the oven temp after some time baking is by far the most used. Some people even swear by spraying some water in the oven before baking to help creating this crispy exterior.
I didn’t use the ganache stated in the recipe as I still have some left over ganache from a very chocolatey cake I made earlier (from Rose Beranbaum, my goodness, that was a very very very good cake. I declared her to be my guru from now on). So I can’t say if the ganache is good or not, but I’ll just put it here.
With no further ado, this is the recipe:
Choux pastry 100g (3 ½ oz) strong white or plain flour Pinch of salt 150ml (1/4 pint) water 75g (3oz) butter 3 eggs, beaten 1 extra egg, beaten - to brush eclairs before baking For the chocolate glacé icing 200g (7oz) icing sugar 25g (1oz) cocoa powder 1 2 tbsp boiling water For the crème chantilly filling 50g (2oz) icing sugar (1 generous tbsp), sifted 1 tsp vanilla extract 400ml (14fl oz) whipped cream (measure when whipped) 2 piping bags Plain 5-8mm (1/4 – 3/8 in) nozzle Plain 3mm (1/8 in) nozzle (optional) Method Choux Pastry 1. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl and set aside 2. Place the water and butter in a medium-sized saucepan with high sides (not a low sauté pan), set over a medium-high heat, stirring until the butter melts. Allow the mixture to come to a rolling boil, then immediately remove the pan from the heat. Add the flour and salt and beat very well with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together. 3. Reduce the heat to medium and replace the saucepan, stirring for 1 minute until the mixture starts to ‘fur’ (slightly stick to the base of the pan). Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 1 minute. 4. Pour about one-quarter of the beaten egg into the pan and, using the wooden spoon, beat very well. Add a little more egg and beat well again until the mixture comes back together. Continue to add the egg, beating vigorously all the time, until the mixture has softened, is nice and shiny and has a dropping consistency. You may not need to add all the egg or you may need a little extra. If the mixture is too stiff (not enough egg) then the choux pastries will be too heavy, but if the mixture is too wet (too much egg) they will not hold their shape when spooned onto greaseproof paper. 5. Although the pastry is best used right away, it can be placed in a bowl, covered and chilled for up to 12 hours, until ready to use. Eclairs 1. Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F), Gas mark 7. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. 2. Place the dough into a piping bag fitted with the plain 5–8mm (1/4–3/8in) nozzle and pipe into lengths approximately 10cm (4in) long onto the prepared baking tray, spaced about 4cm (1 ½ in) apart to allow for expansion. Use a small wet knife to stop the dough coming out when you have finished piping each éclair. 3. Brush the éclairs gently with the beaten egg and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 200°C (400°F), Gas mark 6 and continue to cook for a further 15–20 minutes or until the éclairs are puffed up, golden and crisp. 4. Remove the éclairs from the oven and using a skewer or the tip of a small sharp knife, make a hole in the side or the base of each éclair. Return to the oven and bake for a further 5 minutes to allow the steam to escape. Transfer the éclairs to a wire rack to cool. 5. Meanwhile, make the icing. Sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl. Add the boiling water and stir to mix, adding a little more boiling water if necessary until the icing is spreadable but not too watery. 6. To make the crème chantilly filling, fold the sifted icing sugar and vanilla extract into the whipped cream. Chill until you are ready to use it. 7. When the éclairs are cool, spoon the crème chantilly into a clean piping bag fitted with the small, plain nozzle (or use the same nozzle used for piping the éclairs) and pipe the cream into the éclairs through the hole made by the skewer or knife until they are well filled. 8. Using a small palette knife or table knife that has been standing in a jug of hot water (to make spreading the icing easier), spread the icing over the top of each éclair, dipping the knife into the hot water between each éclair. Serve and watch them being devoured!