Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Choux Pastry for cream puffs // profiteroles // eclairs // etc

Ah, days off.
After working this past weekend, I'm happy that I only have 3 shifts to work this week. 

I started off the day by making responsibly adult decisions, namely eating Doritos for my immediate breakfast (because if I take my multivitamin on an empty stomach I get really nauseous... is how I justified that). Then I watched Let's Make a Deal, followed by the Price is Right while cuddling with Reese on the couch because the dog and I needed to thaw our toes from our walk in the park. 

Then I remembered that I had found some interesting new chocolate bars at Shoppers Drug Mart that I wanted to sample.
One is filled with red velvet cake ganache, the other with bits of potato chips and bacon. Imitation bacon, yes, but I'm sure that's for health purposes.
Neither disappointed.

Feeling in the mood for something French I decided to whip up some choux pastry for either cream puffs or profiteroles (still to be decided).
Choux pastry is the base for all things delicious: the cream puff, the profiterole, the croquembouche, the eclair, the gougere, the beignet, the cruller . . . 
I've made it 3 or 4 times and I've always had great results. 
The choux are light and airy and have a mild taste which allows for the other flavours you combine them with to take centre stage.
The recipe I use is courtesy of Williams Sonoma and it takes all of an hour (give or take) to make these delicious deserts (add more time for the cream and/or chocolate sauce).
Years ago I posted the recipe for choux pastry. 
Rather than link you to it (which you can get to by clicking on the W-S link above), I'm just going to break it down for you again.

  • In a pot over medium heat, bring to a boil 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup water, 6 tbsp butter and 1/4 tsp salt.
  • Remove from heat and immediately stir in 1 cup flour using the back of a wooden spoon. Continue mixing until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pot.
  • One at a time, whisk 4 eggs and add into your pate a choux paste, mixing after each addition to combine. Here, for the sake of my weak, tired arms, I put the paste into the bowl of my electric mixer and blend it all together to make it smooth and workable. Let the paste cool for about 10 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 425. Transfer dough into a piping bag (or a ziplock bag which works just as well) and pipe your desired shape onto a parchment or tinfoil lined baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove pan and cut a small slit in the side of each pastry.
  • Turn the oven down to 350. Allow pastries to bake for another 5 minutes, then leave the oven door open a bit and allow the pastries to dry out for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  • You can follow up by filling the pastries with cream or custard or cheese and/or dipping them in a chocolate sauce - depends what you have in mind for your choux pastries!
Enjoy deciding what to do next with your fancy, light as air choux!

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