Wednesday, 24 October 2018

We Bare Bears Cream Puffs (a concise guide to basic Choux pastry recipe)

I will be slowing down posting on the blog as I have to find time to write my next book on Deco Choux pastries in the midst of being the primary caregiver for my family, classes and baking for sale. Really not easy to juggle with many things 😅. I also try to carve out time to bake the designs that are going into the book so that I can determine the details with more precision (such as template dimensions). Today I was playing around with a design that is not going into the book but it has a similar concept as one of the entries in the book. My kids loved eating these chocolate coated lemon pudding filled cream puffs!

They look like they want to eat the Choux pastries too!

As far as Choux pastry recipes go, they are pretty standard and you can tweak the individual ingredients according to your preference. No matter which recipe you use, the important part is still to make sure you cook the dough thoroughly before adding the eggs, and to add just enough eggs to the batter to get the right consistency. The ratio taught at culinary schools is 2:1:1:2 (by weight) for liquid:fat:flour:eggs. If you want a richer pastry shell, use a ratio of 1:1 for milk:water for liquid portion, and butter for the fat portion. If you want a lighter shell, use water for liquid and vegetable oil for the fat portion. If you want a crispier crust, use bread flour instead of plain flour. Although the use of cake flour is discouraged due to low protein content, Korean recipes seem to use it. Most recipes add a little more flour to the ratio to give the pastry cases more stability and a little less butter to make the pastry less heavy. A little salt and sugar is usually added too. So a typical recipe would look like this:

100g water (you may replace 50g with milk)
40-50g butter (or oil)
50-65g bread or plain flour or combination
1/2-1tsp salt
1tsp sugar (optional)
100g eggs, lightly beaten (you may not need to use all. About 2 eggs)

I piped the Choux cases with a 1/2" open star tip in short Éclair shapes for the body of the bears, and small short strips for the legs (without using a tip but just cut a small hole in the piping bag). Both parts are baked separately due to the different baking times required.

Piped Éclairs. Using a star tip instead of round tip helps to prevent large unpredictable cracks.

When baking the pastry cases, never open the oven door too early as you risk deflating them. Bake until they are crisp and golden brown. Depending on your oven, baking at constant temperature setting, or preheating to high temperature and then drop it during baking may be more suitable for you. Typical temperatures are 175-200℃. Baking time really depends on the size of your piped pastry and baking temperature profile you are using. Typical piped batter that is 3-4cm in size will need about 25-40 minutes to bake.

Freshly baked Choux cases

Does that mean that all Choux pastry creations are brown in colour and you can't add colour to Choux pastry creations other than using Craquelin (cookie dough) and coating the surface with a glaze? Not true! In my Deco Choux Pastries book, I shall show you how "naked" Choux pastry cases can be colourful too with simple but cute designs that will make you slap forehead and go "Why didn't I think of that?!"

These bears are simply cute variations of Choux pastries with chocolate glaze. For single coloured pastry cases, simply dip the pastry case in melted chocolate. Multiple coloured ones have to be piped on. Unlike conventional chocolate glazed choux pastries, I glaze the cases before filling them because choux pastries are just yummier freshly filled.

Chocolate coated Choux cases

As I made these bears for fun (it is still work but it's not meant for any specific request), I didn't spend too much effort with the filling. I used my “cheater’s” recipe again but my kids love it. I just used Jell-O’s instant pudding mix to create the filling. I happen to have lemon flavoured pudding mix that compliments the white chocolate or dark chocolate glaze very well. I just used the package instructions as a guideline and created the filling by stirring the powdered mix with milk.

Messy but happy eater!

I can't write in detail contents that are going into the Deco Choux Pastries book but I hope that this post has been helpful!

With love,
Phay Shing

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