Sunday, 31 March 2013

Choux Buns

We've always considered choux pastry to be beyond our limited cooking abilities, but choux pastry is amazing. Chocolate eclairs, profiteroles and choux buns are up there with the best cakes/desserts, so we've been meaning to try and make something with choux pastry for a while now. Liz's friend Sarah (who seems to be getting mentioned all the time on this blog these days) bought her a beautiful Ladurée recipe book and we eventually got around to trying their 'Choux a la Rose' recipe yesterday.

Sadly, as our closest supermarkets didn't have anything even vaguely like rose water or rose syrup, we had to go without. So technically we made 'Choux a la Nothing'! I was secretly pleased because rose is a bit gross.

120g plain flour
100ml milk
100ml water
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 pinch of salt
80g butter
4 eggs (beaten)
A pot of double cream (whipped)
80g white chocolate
Some red food colouring

This recipe takes a while, so make sure you have plenty of time to faff about letting things cool and all that. A Bank Holiday, lazy Sunday afternoon or day off work would be excellent.

Step one: Sift your flower. We never usually bother with this bit when making other things, but thought it was worth the extra effort in this case.

Step two: Put your milk, water, sugar, salt and butter in a saucepan and then it will look something like this...

Step three: Bring this appetising looking mixture to the boil and then remove from the heat. Tip your flower into the hot liquid and then mix it with as much enthusiasm as you can muster until it forms a kind of thick batter/soggy dough. Put it back on a low heat for a minute or two to get rid of some of the moisture.

Step four: Put the mix in a bowl and leave to cool for a bit. We left our bowl on a windowsill to speed things up a little bit, and the unseasonably cold weather really helped us out here!

Step five: When the batter has cooled down a bit, start adding your egg, a little bit at a time so that the batter doesn't split. This bit will look a bit gross and you'll feel like you've completely ruined everything, but don't panic! Persevere and you'll get there. When everything's mixed in and in one large, smooth blob in the middle of your bowl you're ready to get piping!

Step six: Stuff the batter mixture into a piping bag and then pipe circles on to a baking tray with greaseproof paper on it. We used a cookie cutter as a guide for how big we needed to pipe our circles, but you could draw circles on the paper or just do it by eye. The recipe wasn't clear about how thick the circles needed to be, so we did them about 1cm thick. Probably?

Step seven: Put the tray in a pre-heated oven (About 160 degrees) for 10 minutes and then open your oven door slightly to let out some of the steam. Prop the oven door open a little by wedging a wooden spoon in the top and then bake for another half an hour or so (Thankfully our oven is broken and the door doesn't close properly anyway - this is the first time this has actually been an advantage).

Step eight: Poke a little hole in the bottom of your delicious looking buns (To let the steam out) and then leave them to cool on a cooling rack.

Step nine: Now, the recipe calls for creme patisserie here, but we just used whipped double cream because we're lazy like that. Also because whipped cream is amazing. Put the whipped cream (Or creme patisserie if you can be bothered) in a piping bag and then, using the little hole you made earlier, fill each one until you can feel it bulging. You don't want them to burst though, so don't go mad. Here you can see some cream poking out of our buns!

Step ten: Melt some white chocolate and mix in a little red food colouring to get a nice pink colour. Dribble over the top of the buns and leave to set a little while. Then dab some of the leftover whipped cream on the top of each bun. Use this as a glue to stick a raspberry on each of the choux buns. Voila, as the French say.

We were pretty chuffed with the finished results. Maybe being a French patisserie chef isn't as hard as it looks?


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