Monday, 30 December 2019

Rat Choux Pastries with Mandarin Orange Pastry Cream

As the year of the Rat is approaching soon, why not make these 😊

Rat choux au craquelin filled with lightened mandarin orange pastry cream! 

This also marks the 7th consecutive year I am making mandarin orange chiffon "oranges"! They have a special place in my heart as they were my first experiment to bake chiffon in glass bowls and one of the earliest deco chiffon creations ever, which was made for my mother-in-law. Details of how to make the mandarin orange chiffons can be found here.

I will share in detail how to make the rat choux and the pastry cream. You may refer to this post on how to make the craquelin and choux batter, but adapt it as follows. Use 1/8tsp charcoal and 1/8 tsp white gel colouring for the craquelin instead of orange gel colouring . Use 1/8 tsp charcoal powder and 1/4 tsp white gel colouring instead of orange gel colouring in the batter. Feel free to adjust the shade of grey to your liking. I piped the body of the rats using a wilton #12 tip. I piped 2.5cm and 2cm circles of batter and used 3cm and 2.5cm diameter of grey coloured craquelin respectively for the piped circles. You may choose to do just one size of rats although I did two different sizes. Preheat oven to 210°C before making the batter.

I highly recommend using perforated mats to bake if possible 

Once tray is in oven, immediately reduce temperature to 190°C and bake for 10 min. Reduce heat to 180°C and bake for another 10 min. Reduce heat to 160°C and bake for another 10 min. Reduce the heat once again to 140°C and bake for another 10 min. Do note that suggested baking temperature and time is a guideline and varies with different ovens. You need to experiment to see what temperature and time profile works best to give your pastry cases a good rise in the oven while not browning it too much. If you want the pastry cases to be baked until thoroughly dry, cut a hole at the bottom of the cases and bake for another 10 min at 130°C to dry out the insides.

For the ears, tail and (if you wish) feet, change the piping tip to wilton #5. Pipe the parts as shown below. I decided not to include the feet for this version of rat choux, but included for the ones sitting in my macaron teacups (will post that soon!). You may experiment with round or oblong shape for the feet. Bake these at 170°C for 12-15 min.

Piped ears, tails and feet

For the assembly, use a toothpick to pierce the pastry cases where the ears and tail are to be inserted. Then gently insert the ears and tail. You may use melted chocolate or royal icing to add in the details. I used royal icing for the ears and other facial features, except the rounded eyes where I used rolled black candy melts and cut out little circles using small round cutters. Feel free to be creative and decorate it the way you want to!

Mandarin orange pastry cream
2 egg yolks
15g Castor sugar (you may replace with stevia for diabetic-friendly version)
A pinch of salt
20g cornflour
150g freshly squeezed mandarin orange juice
50g fresh milk
1/2 tsp orange emulco (optional)
Zest of 2 mandarin oranges
20g unsalted butter
60g whip topping (or double cream/heavy cream)
Some chopped dark chocolate (optional, I didn't add but you could to add another flavour dimension to break the monotony)

1. Sift cornflour into a heavy mixing bowl. Add sugar and whisk together. Add egg yolks and whisk together until a smooth paste forms. Set aside.

2. Place juice, milk, orange emulco and salt in a small saucepan and heat until it just starts to bubble at the edges. Remove from heat.

3. Slowly pour the hot liquid mix into the egg yolk mixture while whisking continuously. Pour mixture back into saucepan.

4. Heat the mixture over low heat while whisking continuously until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth. Return to heat and continue cooking and whisking until your desired consistency. Remove from heat.

5. Add butter and whisk until smooth. Add orange zest and whisk it in. Transfer pastry cream into a bowl and press cling wrap on surface. Chill in fridge for at least an hour or until cool. You may prepare this a day in advance too.

6. Whip the whip topping until stiff peak. If using dairy cream, be careful not to over whip. Fold into chilled pastry cream. You may fold in chopped chocolate if you wish. Transfer into piping bag and keep it refrigerated.

Lightening up pastry cream with whip topping

I recommend filling the pastry cases just before serving so that you can enjoy the pastry while it is crisp on the outside but cold, smooth and creamy on the inside!

With love,
Phay Shing


  1. Wow!! I love every food that includes orange in it. I cooked this yesterday and that essence of an orange made it even more delicious. Thanks Phay.

  2. When you refer to corn flour... is that the US equivalent to all purpose flour?

    1. No it isn't. You have cornstarch there? You may use that instead. I know some people make pastry cream using plain flour but I prefer the taste and texture of pastry cream made using cornflour.