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THEOF JOY ING BAKart 7 P

angela day

HOW TO MAKE CHOUX PASTRY STEP BY STEP

BASIC RECIPE

Makes 18 choux puffs 90g butter, cut into pieces 250ml water 250ml flour 3-4 extra large eggs

STEP 1

Combine water and butter in a saucepan and place over medium heat. Once butter has melted, bring to a rolling boil.

STEP 2

When liquid is boiling fast, tip in all the flour and stir.

STEP 3

Beat vigorously until you have a smooth ball of paste that has left the sides of the saucepan clean. Remove from heat. Beat out the lumps before they are cooked solid by the heat. Allow the paste to cool slightly before adding the eggs.

CHOUX POINTERS

PREPARATION

G The airiness in choux is the result of a high water content which turns into steam during baking, forcing the pastry shell outwards and giving it volume. G Measure ingredients exactly . Proportions are very important with choux. Do not allow the water to boil until the butter has melted, but when it has, bring it immediately to a full rolling boil. G Butter should be at room temperature to ensure it melts before the water begins to boil.

Beat eggs together and add to dough a little at a time, beating after each addition until thoroughly incorporated. Do not add all the egg unless necessary The mixture will . be shiny and smooth and should fall reluctantly from a spoon when given a sharp jerk.

BAKING

G During baking, the baking tray can be flicked with a little water which will help in creating steam for the choux puffs to rise. G As soon as your choux pastry is ready remove from the oven and , make a slit with a sharp knife to let the steam escape and prevent it collapsing. G Choux puffs which have spread and risen unevenly are the result of too much egg being added. Not all of the last egg needs to be beaten in.

IT'S SO EASY

SERVING

G If your filling has a lot of moisture, fill the choux at the last possible minute to avoid soggy pastry . G Choux puffs can be filled with whipped cream, creme patisserie or with a savoury filling like a thick white sauce flavoured with cheese, shredded cooked ham or bacon, grated biltong or chopped hardboiled egg.

CHOCOLATE ECLAIRS

Finger-shaped lengths of choux pastry which are , baked until brown and hollow. When cooled they are filled and topped with melted chocolate. 1 basic mixture choux pastry whipped cream or creme patisserie 200g dark chocolate, melted Prepare choux pastry . Spoon into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. Pipe 8cm lengths onto a lightly greased baking tray . Bake at 200°C for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 180°C for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and prick sides to release steam. Return to oven for five minutes to dry out. Place on a cooling rack. Once cold, fill eclairs with creme patisserie or whipped cream. Dip into chocolate and leave to set.

PARIS BREST

This wheel-shaped pastry is named after a bicycle race between the two cities of Paris and Brest. The classic version is made with a praline-flavoured centre but this pastry cream version is just as tasty . Prepare one quantity choux pastry Spoon . mixture into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm plain nozzle. Pipe circles about 810cm in diameter on a lightly greased baking tray . Bake at 200°C for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 180°C for a further 15 to 20 minutes. Slice off the top half of the puffed rings, remove any bits of raw dough on the inside of the ring. Replace top and return to oven for five minutes to dry out. Cool. Spoon whipped cream and strawberries into the cooled rings and top with lid. Sift with icing sugar.

STORING

G The exterior shell of the choux should remain crisp, and it will quickly lose its crispness if stored in the fridge for too long or filled with soupy ingredients. G Choux pastry can be frozen. Once it is cooked, pop the unfilled shell into the freezer and open freeze until hard. Then place in a suitable container or plastic bag and keep frozen. G Soft, unfilled choux puffs can be crisped up in a hot oven for a few minutes.

CREAM PATISSERIE

4 egg yolks 30ml castor sugar 5ml vanilla essence 45ml cake flour 45ml cornflour 500ml milk 2 egg whites 30ml extra castor sugar Combine egg yolks, sugar, vanilla essence, flour, cornflour and 60ml milk in a bowl. Beat until well combined. Bring remaining milk to boil and add to egg mixture. Return mixture to saucepan and stir constantly over low heat until mixture thickens. Beat egg whites until stiff, gradually adding extra sugar. Fold into egg mixture. Chill. 1 recipe basic choux pastry 500ml cream or creme patisserie castor sugar Chocolate Sauce: 150g dark chocolate 30ml butter 60ml water 30ml icing sugar Melt chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring all the time. Remove from heat, add icing sugar and beat until smooth. Whisk the cream until stiff, adding a little castor sugar. Spoon cream into a piping bag fitted with a small nozzle and fill cooled choux puffs with cream. Pile them up into a pyramid shape on a serving plate and pour chocolate sauce over. Decorate liberally with fresh strawberries and serve immediately .

FRIED CHOUX

CHEESE BEIGNETS

Make choux pastry but mix in 30ml finely grated Parmesan cheese and chopped chives before frying. Fry spoonfuls in hot oil and drain on paper towel. Dust with grated Parmesan before serving. Fried choux pastry , known as fritters or beignets souffles, may be served as a hot sweet with a jam or fruit sauce or as a savoury flavoured with cheese. Beignets must be deep fat-fried and served at once.

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PICTURES: STEVE LAWRENCE

SW_VER_E1_250808_p16 C M Y K

MONDAY AUGUST 25 2008

The Star

STEP 4

STEP 5

Pipe or spoon mixture into small balls on a greased baking tray . Bake at 200°C for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 180°C for a further 15 minutes. Once baked, lift choux puffs off the baking sheet and make a small slit in the sides to let the steam escape. Return to oven for five minutes to dry out.

Mention choux pastry and most people immediately think of delectable pastries such as profiteroles and eclairs. But choux pastry can also be used to create savoury supper dishes or hors d'oeuvres. Angela Day shows you how to master this hollow pastry to create a stunning array of dishes.

PROFITEROLES WITH CHOCOLATE SAUCE

PRAWN GOUGERE

BEIGNETS SOUFFLES

Prepare one recipe choux pastry Spoon . teaspoonfuls of mixture into hot oil and cook until golden brown. Remove and drain on paper towel. Toss in castor sugar while still hot. Gougere is a savoury choux pastry dish mixed with cheese and served plain, or with a savoury filling. Choux pastry: 1 quantity basic choux pastry 60g Cheddar cheese, grated salt and pepper Filling: 1 medium onion, chopped 15g butter 15ml flour 250ml chicken or vegetable stock 10ml chopped fresh parsley 300g prawns, shelled 2 tomatoes, skinned, seeds removed and shredded 15ml finely grated Parmesan cheese Prepare the choux pastry as instructed in the basic choux recipe. Once the paste is made, stir in cheese and season. To make the filling, cook the onion in the butter until soft. Remove saucepan from the heat and stir in the flour. Cook for a few minutes over medium heat and pour in the stock. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and add the prawns, parsley and tomatoes. Spread half the choux pastry around the sides and base of a wellgreased 15x20cm ovenproof dish. Pour in the filling. Spoon remaining pastry in a border around the edge of the dish. Sprinkle with grated cheese and bake at 200°C for 30 to 40 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Serve warm with a green salad.

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