Last weekend was a nice, quiet weekend. You know, one of those ones you wish for when you are super busy, but when you actually get one you wish you had stuff to do? Although I did wish I had more plans, it ended up being quite good. I actually gave my liver a break from busy; unintentionally alcohol fuelled weekends, and took some time to chill out. Despite the strong temptation to watch Netflix all weekend, I decided to set some time aside to tackle a recipe I’ve never tried before.
There are certain things when it comes to baking that I’ve never been game to try. I mean, I love baking, but there are some sweet treats that just seem a little too difficult to replicate. Most of these happen to be pastries, perhaps because they look so flawless and beautiful in the shops. I’ve always seen pastries as some sort of mastery that I couldn’t possibly try. But this weekend I decided to face my fear of pastries, and give them a go. After all, this is what my blog is all about. I want to try those recipes that I would never usually try, and step out of my comfort zone.
So I decided to give Choux Pastry a go, which is the pastry that makes up a number of treats I’m sure you would love to eat. One of these recipes is profiteroles, and so I decided to make these on the weekend. I had put on my Pinterest board a while back a recipe for Dominique Ansel’s Choux Pastry. For those of you who don’t know, Dominique Ansel is the amazing baker who invented the original Cronut. I did go to his bakery when I was in New York to try and sample of one the original Cronuts, but sadly I missed out by two people. It was a pretty devastating moment for me (yes, I am emotionally attached to pastry). But it did give me an opportunity to try one of his other creations, the DKA. I would recommend trying this caramelised croissant creation if you ever get the chance to go to his bakery.
So I figured, if I was going to try Choux Pastry, the God of pastry himself should guide me. And although I was quite apprehensive about the whole thing, I was actually surprised by how easy it was to do! It really showed me that there is no need to be scared of recipes, because often the ones that seem really difficult don’t turn out to be that bad!
The recipe I used for the choux pastry didn’t actually have a recipe for the filling. So once I realised that the pastries had actually worked I realised that they would be a bit bland without something to fill them. So I tried another recipe that I’ve never been game to try – Crème Patissiere. Surprisingly, it really wasn’t that difficult either, and was actually pretty fun! I chose one with coffee in it as I felt like it would be nice to give the profiteroles a little twist, and something different. Even my dog was pretty excited by the whole endeavour, and he hung around for most of the cook!
|Preparation Time||10 minutes|
|Cooking Time||30 minutes|
|Assembly Time||15 minutes|
· 1/3 Cup of water
· 4 tablespoons of full cream milk
· 5 and a half tablespoons of unsalted butter
· 1 teaspoon of sugar
· 1 teaspoon of salt
· 2/3 cup of plain flour
· 3 eggs (for the pastry)
· 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
Coffee Crème Patissiere
· ¼ cup of caster sugar
· 2 large egg yolks
· 2 tablespoons of corn flour
· 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
· ¾ cup and 2 teaspoons of milk
· ¼ cup of strong coffee (I used espresso), cooled
· 25 grams of butter
1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius.
2. Combine the water, milk, butter, sugar and salt in a medium saucepan and place on the stove on a medium heat. Bring this to a boil where bubbles are forming and popping, ensuring you stir the mixture to avoid it sticking to the pan.
3. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together and pulls away from the sides. The recipe said about 7 minutes for this, but mine pulled away from the sides pretty much instantly, and I really only had it in the pan for a minute or so. Rather than measuring by time, just go by what the ingredients are doing.
4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and use either a stand mixer or a hand held mixer with a paddle attachment to beat the dough. Whip on a low speed, adding the eggs one at a time. Ensure each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next one.
5. Cut the tip off a piping bag and insert a plain tip. Use a rubber spatula to transfer the choux pastry dough to the bag.
6. Line two baking trays with baking paper and pipe out about 4 rows of 3 choux pastries on each sheet. I made mine about 4 centimetres wide. Make sure you leave a gap between each one.
7. Get your egg and egg yolk mixture and, using a pastry brush, coat each profiterole with the egg wash.
8. Bake in the centre of the oven for about 10 minutes. Then rotate each tray and bake for another 10 minutes. You will be able to tell that the profiteroles are cooked by them being puffed and golden brown.
9. Take the profiteroles out of the oven and allow them to cool. You can test that they are ready by tapping the bottom of them. If they sound hollow, this means they are done.
Coffee Crème Patissiere
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the coffee, sugar, egg yolks and the corn flour until incorporated
2. Get a small saucepan and mix together the milk and vanilla. Do not place this on the heat just yet.
3. Stir in the sugar and coffee mixture to the milk and whisk until incorporated.
4. Slowly heat the mixture, whisking continuously until it becomes thick. I found this took about 4 minutes, but you will really notice the difference once it thickens up.
5. Add the butter, and beat this in until incorporated.
6. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool
1. Get your crème patissiere and transfer to a piping bag using a rubber spatula. Use a small nozzle on the piping bag.
2. Get your empty choux pastries and pierce the outside with the nozzle from the piping bag. Pipe in enough crème patissiere that you feel the pastry become heavier.
3. Place on a plate to serve. You can drizzle with chocolate if you would like. Eat as soon as possible to avoid the pastry going soggy.
Although it might seem like a lot of steps, it’s really not that difficult. It was really fun to make these, and I think how much fun I had is proven through the amount of mess I made in the kitchen trying to pipe them! Yep, I could definitely work on my piping skills, but I think what mattered was the majority of the crème patissiere ended up in the pastries, or as a taste test! Just check out the mess I made in these photos!
The verdict on these was that they were really delicious! And I think once you’ve mastered the choux pastry, you can easily change the flavour of the filling to match your tastes, so it winds up being quite versatile.
Anyway, I hope that my trying of new things might inspire some of you to give this a go. Let me know if you would try this on your own!
Until next time, happy baking!