Happy 1st May everyone and it’s Friday, whoop, whoop! Another week done and dusted. And it is a long weekend, which means it must be time for a little treat, yes?
I confess that I had planned these to be mini eclairs, which they kind of are, but they puffed up so much in the oven that they lost their eclair shape, so I am calling them puffs, okay?
Choux pastry has made an appearance here only once before, so it is about time for another go, and this time the choux pastry behaves just like the ‘normal’ gluten containing stuff. Yep, yep, it needs a vigorous beating, for which I used the stand mixer, but you can do it by hand which gives one of your biceps a great work-out and therefore means that you can eat more of these because of all the calories you have burnt making them. You may also end up with one arm disproportionately larger than the other, but hey, you can’t have it all!
These little puffs also give you two opportunities for piping, something else that has been lacking recently around these parts. I do so love a bit of piping bag wielding action. It makes me feel accomplished, as if I know what I am doing – which I probably don’t but unlike those supposed “I am an amateur baker / cook but yet really consider myself a professional” types that you see on the television, I can twist my piping bag up properly so that the contents don’t squish out the top of it. #smallwins
The crispy choux shells (trying saying that 10 times in a row, fast) are filled with sweetened strawberry whipped cream and a few delicate drizzles of strawberry pureé and then topped with a generous coat of dark chocolate.
Although the choux pastry requires a little effort to make and a little bit of time to bake and cool, the filling is easy peasy. Perfect for May Day bank holiday, when we are all trying to pretend that it is spring.
The only trouble with them being so small is that they are incredibly easy to stuff into your mouth all at once.
Strawberry Cream Choux Puffs
- 112g water
- 30g butter
- 57g gluten free white flour blend*
- 2 small eggs
- pinch of sea salt
* It is important to use a flour blend that does not contain xanthan gum. Doves Farm doesn’t (which I have used in the past) and neither does Marks & Spencer’s own (which I used for these particular choux puffs. Unfortunately there isn’t a link to it on-line, but you should be able to find it in store).
- 5 strawberries
- 1/2 tbsp powered sugar
- 120ml double cream
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tsp strawberry pureé
- 50g dark chocolate
- 10g butter
- Start with the choux pastry. Pre-heat the oven to 220 Celsius / 200 fan / 425 Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
- Place the water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted, then bring up to a gentle boil.
- Take the pan off the heat and tip in the flour. Beat with a wooden spoon until smooth.
- Return to the heat and beat until it forms a soft sticky lump that comes away from the sides of the pan (mine did this almost instantly, but it will depend on the flour you have used).
- Transfer the dough to the bowl of a stand mixer and leave to cool for a few minutes until just warm. You can beat it a little bit to help speed up the process if you wish.
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs until lightly frothy. Add them to the dough a bit at a time, beating well in-between each addition until the dough is smooth again. The end dough should be smooth, have a slight sheen and should be able to be piped, like a stiff cake batter. You may not need to add all the egg in order to achieve this.
- Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a large plain nozzle (or just snip the end of a disposable one, if using) and pipe your shapes onto the prepared baking sheet. Tap down any peaks with a damp finger.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until puffed and just starting to colour, then reduce the temperature to 180 Celsius / 160 fan / 350 Fahrenheit and bake for a further 20 minutes until firm and golden brown.
- Turn off the oven and remove the choux puffs. Carefully create a hole in the bottom of each one with a skewer (to allow any steam to escape) and return the upside down puffs to the oven to dry out for a further 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the puffs are cooling make the strawberry pureé : place the strawberries and powered sugar in a small blender and blitz until smooth. Set aside.
- To make the strawberry cream : whip the cream in a bowl with the vanilla extract until it forms stiff peaks (you want it to be quite firm because the addition of the strawberry pureé will loosen it a little but be careful not to over-whip). Swirl the 4 tsps of pureé through it and pop in the fridge until needed.
- When the choux puffs are cold, slice each one in half horizontally (make sure you know which top belongs to which bottom). Place the strawberry cream in a piping bag and pipe a layer on the base of each puff. Drizzle a little of the strawberry pureé over it and place the top on.
- Melt the chocolate and butter together and spread over the top of each puff. Place in the fridge to set.
Note : the puffs are best when eaten as soon after assembly as possible.
© The Pink Rose Bakery 2015