Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Whale Shark Blueberry Choux Pastry

It's been a really busy time with book event and classes on 3 consecutive weekends and I am glad I managed to complete this request from a friend! Whale shark choux pastries filled with blueberry whipped cream!

I must admit that it took me 3 tries to get decent shape of tapered éclairs for the main body of the whale shark, partly because I wasn't thinking clearly and used the wrong tip size or wrong piping technique for the first two tries *slap forehead*.

As usual I made my own templates for piping the fins, tail and main body of the shark. As a rule of thumb, I make the cookie cutout about 5-6mm larger than the piped area. You may refer to this post for the detailed recipe for craquelin and choux pastry batter.

Just to share a couple of photos of works in progress and a tip on how to pipe the whale shark body shape.

Piped batter for whale shark body. 

Choose a large enough open star piping tip and pipe a tapered éclair. The batter should fall from the piping tip naturally, and not flare out from the piping tip (which creates a line wider than the diameter of piping tip). You may refer to this post for the video tutorial on how to pope éclairs to see what I mean. The difference is, for the tapered éclair, you release pressure on the piping bag earlier and continue dragging the piping tip towards the finishing point to create the taper. It takes a little practice to get this right. You can always scrape the batter off the mat and try again. I strongly recommend using perforated mats for baking éclair shaped choux pastries for better shape retention.

Freshly baked choux pastry case! 

I cut a rather large hole at base of the pastry case for ease of filling the pastries. Be sure to thoroughly dry the cases in the oven before decorating. I used Royal icing for the underbelly, and black candy melts for the eyes. For the candy melt eyes, I didn't melt the candy melt chips but instead just roll the chips between parchment paper and use a round cutter to cut out the eyes. Singapore is that warm that I can roll and cut the candy melt chips. Store baked cases (decorated or undecorated) in airtight condition at cool room temperature until you are ready to fill. You may store it up to a week.

Please also refer to my new book, Deco Choux Pastries for a systematic overview of how to prepare, pipe batter and create choux pastries of various shapes.

I made my own blueberry jam from scratch and added more kick to it by adding freeze dried blueberries. It's really tart so feel free to add more sugar if you prefer.

Blueberry jam
Ingredients :
250g fresh blueberries
45g caster sugar (or according to taste)
1tsp lemon juice
A pinch of salt
10g freeze dried blueberry powder (optional)

1. Place all ingredients except blueberry powder in saucepan. Cook using medium low heat and stir frequently, gently mashing the blueberries when they are soft.

2. Continue cooking until desired consistency. This could take about 15 min. Press jam through sieve to remove the skins.

3. Add freeze dried blueberry powder and mix well. Chill in fridge until ready to use.

Homemade blueberry jam

Blueberry whipped cream
150g non-dairy whipping cream, cold (I used Redman's Whip topping)
150g heavy cream or double cream, cold
150g blueberry jam

Note: you may use non dairy whipping cream alone, dairy cream alone or both but in different ratio from what I suggest. As Singapore is really warm, I use a mix of both to get the best of milky fresh cream taste and stability. You may add icing sugar if you wish to sweeten the cream even more. I omitted because the non dairy cream already contains some sugar.

Steps :
1. Place both types of dairy creams in mixing bowl and beat on low speed using electric mixer until stiff peaks form. If using purely dairy cream, be careful not to overbeat or the cream will separate.

Whipped cream

2. Fold in blueberry jam in a few batches until well mixed.

Store filling in fridge in airtight condition (I keep in piping bags) until ready to fill pastry cases. You may prepare this up to a few days in advance.

With love,
Phay Shing

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