Friday, April 8, 2011

Choux Pastry

It's my friends birthday tomorrow and I'm in a birthday cake mood - but I'm terribly over conventional cake so I dug up this recipe from my chef school days. When we shot this amazing cake for the magazine I work for, the entire office went nuts about it and it has become one of my favourites! And in case you're unsure of just how to make choux pastry, I've added a step-by-step how to as well. Enjoy!

Choux pastry
(makes 20)

1 cup cake flour
pinch of salt
80g butter, cut into small blocks
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk (or you can use water)
4 eggs, lightly beaten

1. Sift the flour and salt together. Heat the butter, water and milk until just melted, then bring to a rolling boil.

2. Immediately remove from the heat and add all the flour at once. Mix until a smooth dough forms, place back on the heat and cook for one minute or until the pastry pulls away from the sides of the pot. Allow to cool completely.

3. Beat the eggs into the pastry a little at a time until smooth and shiny.

4. Place in a piping bag with a large fluted nozzle. Pipe round profiteroles or elongated shapes for eclairs onto lined baking trays and bake at 200 degrees celsius for 25 minutes or until puffed and golden.

Photography by Angie Lazaro

Chocolate hazelnut choux ring
(serves 6)

1 x 400g store-bought short crust pastry
1 x basic choux pastry recipe (above)
1/2 cup readymade vanilla custard
1 cup cream, whipped
2T hazelnut liqueur
4T chopped hazelnuts
1 cup chocolate hazelnut spread
melted dark chocolate, for drizzling
extra chopped hazelnuts, to decorate

Roll out the pastry and cut out a large 20 cm disc. Prick with a fork and bake at 200 degrees celsius for about 15 minutes or until golden. Pipe the choux pastry into a 20 cm ring on a greased baking sheet and bake at 200 degrees celsius for 25 minutes or until golden brown and puffed. Turn oven off, remove the choux ring and cut in half horizontally. Return to the oven to dry out for 15 minutes. Fold the custard, whipped cream, liqueur and hazelnuts together and use to fill the ring. Spread the chocolate hazelnut spread on the short crust disc and top with the filled ring. Decorate with melted chocolate and extra chopped hazelnuts.