Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cream puffs/ Pate Choux & Eclairs


Cream puff swan babies inspiration comes from my 12 yr old's French club. The school year is coming to an end in a couple of weeks and they are having a potluck of French food. Even without fore seeing my future, I'm the first one to sign up for desserts...selfishly! :D Later, I ponder
if there was some other mom who wanted to do desserts instead. At school parties there is no such thing as too many desserts!


I consider myself very lucky for all kinds of opportunities to bake for school and scout meetings, especially European pastries. I have a couple more events this week, the last pack meet for little M and the long overdue birthday party for Big M ( I am getting mixed votes on Harry potter and Angry birds theme) and then I'm done for this month.

For next week's party, Eclairs were my first choice (same recipe: scroll down for additional pics on this) but the filling for the authentic eclairs (pastry cream/custard) are not pleasing to 12 yr olds, or so I heard!

 Oh well, I'll make a batch of eclairs anyway along with this for the teachers. No grown ups have ever refused my pastries...yet! Especially, the kind with chocolate glaze!

Recipe source: ' Desserts', edited by Ann Kay. Although she is the editor, the recipes were compiled from a team of leading Pastry chef.
Serves 4-6

9 tbsp All purpose flour
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup (4tbsp) butter, diced
2 eggs, beaten
a pinch of salt

Heat water in a pan over medium heat, add butter and heat gently until it melts. Increase heat and bring it to a boil, then remove from heat.

Add all the flour at once and beat quickly until the mixture sticks together and becomes thick and glossy.


 Mixture should leave the sides of the pan clean. leave the mixture to cool slightly.

Add the egg, a little at a time to the mixture and beat by hand with a wooden spoon until the choux pastry is thick and glossy.

Beat till the mixture drops reluctantly from the spoon.

Spoon the choux into a piping bag fitted with 3/4in tip.

If you end up with a pointy tip, touch the tip with water dipped finger to smoothen the tops. (Pointy tip burns and you may lose the beauty of the pastry...taste wise it doesn't matter as much)

 Bake at 425F for 20 mins. (Recipe originally says 25-30 minutes but  mine was done much earlier than expected) For testing the doneness pick one pastry, and tap at the bottom. If it sounds hollow it is done.

Lay it to out on cooling rack. Cut the top off and you should see the hollow centre. Perfect! That's what makes the pastry THE cream puff (hollow in-built for filling with pastry cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce or whatever your heart desires!) If by chance you do not achieve it, you can scoop out the centres as well.

This puff made from hand beaten dough. See the pic below for mixer beaten dough. Can you tell the difference? Note to self:  Next time, don't think twice to get the mixer out for this particular recipe for added volume and air-i-ness (that's a word, really!)

The hot flour mixture was beaten with a paddle until cool. Add in one egg at a time (skipped beating it separately) and beat till light and looks like lemon curd.

 Make a batch of whipped cream ( Beat a cup of heavy cream with 2/ 3 tbs of confectioners sugar, 1 tsp of vanilla bean paste and whip till it comes together...about 8 minutes on high )

Fill/ pipe the cream. Star tip for your pastry bag is optional. You can also use a ziploc bag to get the work done.

Place the head and wings. Admire your work; then, pig out!


Pipe a 2 1/2" log and bake additional 4-6 minutes.

 See how beautiful these come out?

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