Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Choux Pastry Puffs
Every baker has their fears. This sort of fear comes naturally when attempting a new type of pastry. One can't help but feel apprehensive about the outcome of a recipe - whether is it a good one, and whether it will be a success or a horrid disaster that ends up mostly in the bin.
It becomes worse when you know that you simply cannot screw up because you're baking it for a party. You've went ahead on a whim, and promised to make something you've never made before. Now, that's even scarier! Trust me, there's simply no room for failure!
However, a baker like me is always geared up for a challenge and a simple fear won't get in my way. To me, it's do or die. If I don't attempt it now, when will I?
So in I dived... into the wonderful puffy world of choux pastry.
I've always wondered how cream puffs were made and I always thought of it as very difficult to make. I mean, what if the puffs don't puff! And how do they make it so hollow? Little did I know how ignorant I was.
Choux pastry is really easy to make. First of all, you got to have a good choux paste. The recipe is really simple and thank God for the one I got from "Joy of Cooking: All about party foods and drinks". I love this book and look forward to using more of the recipes in it.
Anyway back to the choux paste. Yes, it's so simple! All you have to do is get some flour, milk, butter, eggs, a bit of salt and water. That's it!
Here's how the paste looks like:
Looks very much like pure butter, no?
But the texture's really gooey, kinda like wet play-doh. Sticky and soft.
Here's how they look like, all piped in neat rows, ready to be popped into the hot oven:
Awww don't they look cute?
Seriously, I'm impressed how these small lumps can grow and expand into golden choux pastry puffs. Really! They literally double in size, mind you. And to think I was worried at first, about whether the size I piped were too small...
Small lumps all lined up, eager to expand their way to 'adulthood'. Haha. They look like Hershey's kisses don't they?
Anyway after about half and hour in the oven, here's what I ended up with:
Aren't they beautiful? I was so pleased that I didn't screw up. This wasn't that bad after all!
I've definitely overcome my fear of choux pastry puffs.
You can fill these puffs with anything sweet or savoury. I piped in tuna for the Christmas party. I suppose you can also use this recipe to make the puffs for chocolate eclairs! Love eclairs man... maybe I should try making some.
For those of you who want to try, here's the recipe:
Choux Pastry Puffs
from "Joy of Cooking - All About Party Foods & Drinks"
1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
Half cup water
Half cup whole milk
113g unsalted butter
Half teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1. Bring the water, milk, butter and salt to a boil over medium heat.
2. Add the flour all at once and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan.
3. Continue to cook and stir the mixture for about 1 minute, to eliminate excess moisture.
4. Let cool for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each egg.
6. Make sure paste is smooth before adding each egg.
7. Beat the dough till smooth and shiny.
8. Choux paste can be covered and refrigerated for up to 4 hours.
9. When it is cold, you do not need to bring the paste to room temperature before baking.
10. Pipe paste onto pan according to desired size.