Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Sexy Choux Pastry

There's something decadent, irresistible and just a little sexy about choux pastry. Its versatile and comes in different forms. In this post we'll be looking at  Eclairs, Choux Buns, Beignets and paris brest.
Beignets(bottom left), Paris Brest (top left), eclairs (bottom right) and choux buns (top right)
Choux (prenounced shoe) means cabbage in French, this may be because of its resemblance to the vegetable. This pastry is made with water, flour, egg and butter; it is first cooked on the stove to let the water evaporate from the pastry, the moisture is then replaced by the eggs. 
        250ml of water
·       Pinch of sugar
·       Pinch of salt
·       100g Butter, margarine or oil
·       Strong Flour sieved 125g
·       4 eggs

·       Sieve
·       Wooden Spoon
·       Saucepan
·       Bowl

1.    Bring the water, sugar, salt and fat to the boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat.
2.    Add the sieved flour and mix in with a wooden spoon.
3.    Return to a moderate heat and stir continually until the mixture leaves the sides of the pan.
4.    Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
5.    Gradually add the beaten eggs beating well. Don’t add the eggs in all at once- check the consistency as you go. The mixture may not take all the egg. It should just flow back when moved in one direction.
Choux Buns (top) and Eclairs (bottom)

The first éclair recipe translated into English appeared around 1884 and was thought that it was invented by Antonio Careem, a famous french chef. It is an oblong hollow pastry traditionally filled with cream. 

The history of the choux bun (profiterole) is unknown but is essentially a small round pastry which filled with cream. In the US its called a Cream Puff 

Recipe: Chocolate Eclairs/Choux Buns
·       125ml Choux pastry
·       ¼ litre Whipped Cream
·       25g Chocolate

·       Sieve
·       Wooden Spoon
·       Saucepan
·       Bowl
1.    Place the choux paste into a piping bag with a 1cm plain tube.
2.    Pipe into 8cm straight line onto a lightly greased, damped baking sheet. (To make choux buns just pipe a small circle instead of a straight line.)
3.    Bake 180c/350f/Gas Mark 4 for 20 mins.
4.    Allow to cool. Slit down one side with a sharp knife.
5.    Fill with sweetened, vanilla-flavoured whipped cream, using a piping bag and small tube.
6.    Decorate with chocolate sauce. (To make a nice professional line, put a spoon into the melted chocolate and tilt the eclair to one side and let the chocolate side along the pastry and back into the bowl.) 

Recipe: Chocolate Sauce
·       125g water
·       40g sugar
·       30g chopped chocolate
·       8g dark cocoa powder
·       4g cornflour
·       Wooden Spoon
·       Saucepan
·       Bowl
·       Whisk
·       Conical strainer
1.    Bring to the boil 100g of water and sugar
2.    Mix to a paste the cocoa, cornflour and 25g water
3.    Add to the boiling water and sugar and whisk until mix returns to the boil and thickens
4.    Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and pass through a conical strainer.

A Paris Brest is a dessert that was invented in 1891 to commemorate the Paris-Brest-Paris bicycle race, traditionally filled with praline cream. However I used whipped cream instead. It is made in the same method as the choux buns, but is piped into a circle like a bicycle wheel and bake at 180c/350F/Gas Mark 4 for 15 mins.
A Paris Brest filled with Whipped cream
Beignets translate as 'bump' in French and is similar to the English fritter. Beignets are well known in the US, especially in New Orleans as a desert served with icing sugar. I made mine with cinnamon and sugar. 
Fry and left over choux pastry in little clumps until golden at 160c in a deep fat fryer and roll them in cinnamon and caster sugar. Easy!
Beignets (best eaten hot!)

Bake On!
Bake On! Penny x
Post a Comment
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...