Monday, 23 June 2014

Seriously Simple Choux Pastry

This recipe is something we saw in the Guardian and thought it looked nice and simple... with just a few ingredients (always something we like!)  As coffee choux buns were a favourite of mine in my teens and the thought of making our own, with a recipe that looked do-able, was too much to resist.  Giving it a go on a hot weekend in June may not have been the best time of year but the results were judged 'worth it' which was a relief.

The ingredients required to make the dairy free choux pastry were -
50g cornflour
20g pure vegetable fat (such as Trex)
90ml water
1 egg, beaten

Taking the vegetable fat and water and putting it in a pan, it was heated to boiling point.  This mix was then added to the cornflour and whisked before being left to cool a little.

Whilst the mix was cooling, a baking tray was oiled, run under the cold tap and excess water poured off. 

The oven was heated to 180ºC.

We prepared our make-do piping bag - using a nozzle and a plastic freezer bag with the corner cut off.

Once the mix had cooled a little, the egg was added and the stick blender was used to whiz the pastry ingredients together.

Supporting the make-do piping bag in a jamjar, the pastry mix was scraped in and piping began...

... the recipe says to pipe "eight finger-thick sausages", which we did...

... however, the recipe writer clearly has much thicker/fatter fingers than us, so we also piped some swirls with the remaining pastry.

Placing the pastry creations in the pre-heated oven for 10 minutes, the temperature was then increased to 200ºC for a further 10 minutes.

Once the pastry was a light golden colour, the buns were put on a wire rack to cool.

Our eclairs were very small - if we'd piped them half the length, they'd have made fab one-bite-sized petit fours - they were full of air, crispy and light.

We whipped some cream to fill the pastry cases, having cut them in half, and the tops were coated in coffee icing (made using espresso and icing sugar).  The Guardian recipe uses a dairy free 'creme patisserie' filling which we will try another time... as it does sound tasty!

These will definitely be a recipe we make again - learning from this time, we'll make them bigger/fatter and will remember to smooth the peaks left from piping so the pastry top is sleek.

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