Choux Pastry – Profiteroles
This delicious, light and crispy pastry is a delight and not as hard to make as some people believe. The main tips when mixing choux are :- 1. to add the flour and all in one go and mix together quickly. I use a wooden fork which is perfect for this. 2. add the egg gradually as sometimes, depending on the size of the eggs not the total amount is required. Check on the consistency - the paste should hang from the end of the whisk. 3. Choux pastry rises more successfully in a steamy environment so spray your baking sheet with a fine film of water before piping over your eclairs or profiteroles. 4. I use a star shaped nozzle for piping my choux paste. The shape of your finished baked eclairs and profiteroles will be more even as they are less able to spread.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c
Heat the water, butter, sugar and salt in a medium sized pan over a low heat until the butter dissolves then turn onto full heat and bring to a fast boil. Take off the heat and immediately tip in the sifted flour and stir briskly until the mixture comes together and forms a very thick paste which leaves the side of the pan.
Turn into a large mixing bowl and using a hand held electric whisk mix on a low heat just to help cool it down a little. Don’t be tempted to add the eggs straight away as they will cook.
Once the paste has cooled a little then start to add the beaten egg, little by little. Keep an eye on the consistency which is crucial to the success of your choux. You may not need all of the beaten egg – the consistency should be such that when you lift your whisk the paste sticks to the whisk yet hangs off, ie it doesn’t stick rigidly neither does it drop off.
Load your paste into a piping bag fitted with a star shaped nozzle (5cm) then you will need a baking sheet lightly greased or lined with baking parchment. I spray the surface with water then use a plastic scraper dipped in flour to mark out a length for my eclairs.
Pipe the choux either in an eclair shape or a large star for your profiteroles and flatten the point of your star peaks with a wet finger.
Bake for 18-20 minutes until your choux is risen and golden brown in colour with a crispy finish. Remove to cooling trays and allow to go completely cold before filling.
Uncooked choux can be frozen once piped onto your trays and then bake from frozen.
Lemon cream filling
Place all the ingredients apart from the yoghurt, cream and lemon zest in a medium pan and whilst constantly stirring, allow to heat gradually until the cream thickens and leaves the side of the pan. Transfer to a cold bowl and cover with clingfilm to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool completely.
When cold, remove the clingfilm and whisk with an electric hand whisk and incorporate the cream, yoghurt and lemon zest. The cream is thick and delicious. Fill a piping bag fitted with a metal piping tube (bearing in mind you need to be able to poke it through the choux bun).
For the Profiteroles : With a metal skewer make a hole in the side of the bun then inject sufficient pastry cream to fill the bun. I use my kitchen scales and 15-20g is just about right.
For the Eclairs : With a metal skewer make three evenly spaced holes to the base of the eclair and again inject cream through each of the three holes to fill the eclair. 25g is sufficient for an eclair.
Chocolate piping paste
Dissolve all three ingredients in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water (not boiling). When all amalgamated and is shiny and thick allow to cool slightly then fill a piping bag. Pipe the chocolate paste over the presentation side of the eclairs and then decorate with sprinkles, melted white chocolate or fruit crumb.
Chocolate for profiteroles
Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of hot water then the decorating is up to you. The consistency of the chocolate needs to be that of single cream or 40 degrees c if you have a thermometer. You can dip your profiteroles face down in the chocolate then carefully lift out and spin the final trail of chocolate back on itself. You will then have no drips running down. Alternatively, stack your profiteroles on a presentation plate and pour the melted chocolate over.
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