On your marks, get set…. BAKE!
Recently, I’ve found my new favourite show and it’s called the Great British Bake Off.
Yes, I know it’s been around for years, but I’ve only just discovered it for the gem it is.
While watching the show I took mental notes of recipes I’d like to try.
Today, I decided to give the dreaded choux pastry a try. I say dreaded because over and over again, I’ve seen bakers try this recipe and fail miserably.
As Paul would say:
For the choux pastry
1/3 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 cup of water
pinch of salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, sliced
2 eggs, beaten
For the filling
1 cup whipping cream
4 tsp icing sugar
1 vanilla bean, shaved
For the icing
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup 2% milk
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silpat.
Put 1/2 cup water into a medium-sized pan with the salt and butter and heat gently until the butter has completely melted – don’t let the water boil and begin to evaporate. Quickly bring the mixture to the boil and tip in all the flour in one go. Remove the pan from the heat and beat furiously with a wooden spoon – don’t worry, the mixture will look messy at first but will soon come together to make a smooth heavy dough.
Put the pan back on a low heat and beat the dough for about a minute to slightly cook the dough – it should come away from the sides of the pan to make a smooth, glossy ball. Tip the dough into a large mixing bowl and leave to cool until tepid.
Beat the eggs in a bowl until combined, then gradually beat them into the dough with an electric whisk or mixer, or a wooden spoon, beating well after each addition. (You may not need all the egg.) The dough should be very shiny and paste-like, and fall from a spoon when lightly shaken.
Spoon the pastry into a piping bag fitted with plain nozzle and pipe onto your baking tray
Sprinkle the tray, not the pastry, with a few drops of water, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Then, without opening the door, reduce the oven temperature to 325F and bake for 10 minutes, or until golden-brown and crisp.
Remove the tray from the oven and carefully make a small hole in the side of each éclair to allow steam to escape. Return to the oven and bake for a further five minutes, or until the pastry is completely crisp. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
For the filling, whip the cream with the sugar and vanilla bean in a bowl until just stiff. TIP! I freeze my bowl before using it to whip cream.
- Once the éclairs have cooled, cut down the length of one side of each éclair and pipe in the whipped cream.
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler or a bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water (do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water) and allow it to cool slightly. Dip the tops of the éclairs in the chocolate and let the chocolate set before serving
And VOILA! They may not be the prettiest thing I’ve made, but DAMN these are good. I’m pretty sure even Mary Berry would be proud.
Original recipe from BBC here