Monday, 24 August 2020

Chihuahua Chocolate Choux Pastry (updated vanilla pastry cream recipe)

I usually don't take last minute requests but since this one requires only 3 pastries and it was riding on another bake I was working on, I thought why not. Presenting my attempt at making Chihuahua choux pastries! 




I have written a detailed recipe for making the choux au craquelin (creampuffs topped with crispy cookie dough layer on top) that the chihuahuas sit in in this post. These choux buns are just plain uncoloured batter, piped into 2.5cm rounds and topped with 3cm diameter cookie dough before baking. 

I made the chihuahuas out of pastry cream. Most of it is chocolate pastry cream except for the light parts of the chihuahua's face. I made vanilla pastry cream and portioned it for colouring various colours, most of which is chocolate flavoured. 

Updated vanilla pastry cream recipe

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks

20g cornflour

30g caster sugar (use up to 40g if you have a sweet tooth!) 

A pinch of salt

200g milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

15g unsalted butter 

30g dark chocolate couverture + 1tsp milk (optional, couverture and extra milk are for colouring and flavouring dark parts of the pastry cream) 


Steps:

1. Place milk and vanilla extract in a saucepan and heat until steaming but not boiling. 

2. In the mean time, whisk together cornflour, sugar, salt and egg yolks until a smooth paste is formed. It is helpful to put all these in a heavy glass measuring jug so that it is easy to pour and it is heavy enough so it won't spin when you whisk the contents with one hand. If you don't have a heavy glass jug, just use any heavy mixing bowl or put a damp towel under the bowl. 

3. While whisking the egg yolk mixture continuously, carefully pour the heated milk into the jug in a thin stream. This is to temper the egg yolks. Pour everything back into the saucepan 

4. Heat the mixture in saucepan over medium low heat while whisking continuously until the pastry cream thickens. The thickening will happen suddenly so be ready to take the pan off the heat to continue whisking for a while until smooth. Put the pan back onto medium low heat and continue cooking until the pastry cream is thick enough to form a firm peak. We are piping characters in pastry cases with this so it has to be cooked until firm enough. But if you are just filling it the regular way without fancy piping , then just cook the pastry cream until your preferred consistency. Some people prefer it softer, some prefer it firmer. It is important to cook it slowly and keep whisking to ensure the pastry cream remains silkily smooth. You don't want to end up with scrambled eggs

5. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in the butter until smooth. 

6. If you aren't making the chihuahuas, just transfer the pastry cream into a bowl and press cling film on the surface of the cream. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour before whipping it briefly with a spatula to lighten the texture and using it to fill. If you are making the chihuahuas or colouring the pastry cream, quickly portion out into the various bowls and add whatever colouring you need to colour and press a cling film on the surface before chilling. For the brown and black parts of the chihuahua, I added 30g of dark chocolate with a little milk to the portioned out pastry cream while it is still hot enough to melt the chocolate. For black colour, I added some charcoal powder. For pink part of the ears, I added freeze-dried raspberry powder. I try to use natural food colouring whenever possible. 

I omitted adding whipping cream to lighten the pastry cream as I wanted the cream to remain firm and glossy enough for piping. If you prefer a lighter, less rich cream, you may add about 80-100g of whipped whipping cream to the chilled pastry cream.  Filled pastries need to be kept refrigerated and best eaten within 2 to 3 days. 

Choux pastries of this style where the decorative parts are made out of filling will have soft pastry cases instead of my usual crisp cases as the moisture from the filling will soften the pastry cases quickly. Even then, it is still delightful to eat. Thank God the birthday girl loved these! 


With love, 

Phay Shing

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