I am the choux pastry queen! How dare I say that? Well, even Stephanie Alexander used my recipe in her legendary Cook’s Companion. Choux pastry (or pâte à choux as the French call it) is so versatile for simple sweet and savoury treats from cream puffs, eclairs & gougère to more elaborate creations such as the croquembouche, religieuse or a St. Honoré cake. For my showstopping choux pastry on this episode of Summer Baking Secrets, I’ve created a Paris Brest with Triple Berry Cream, Rosewater Cream and spun sugar for the most elegant dessert ever!
My tips for perfect choux pastry begins, as so often is the case with baking, with the base. Here I diced up Devondale unsalted butter to bring to the boil with salt and water so that it would melt evenly and quickly and not allow any evaporation, keeping the proportions correct before adding the flour. Using unsalted butter then adding salt ensured I could control the sodium content in the recipe, maintaining that all important balance. I create what is called a panade by adding flour, then add in eggs one at a time until I achieve a shiny dough that falls from the spoon easily. By adding the beaten egg gradually, I ensure that I get a perfect dough that isn’t too wet. I then pipe small round balls of dough in a circles to form my Paris Brest. I drew circles on the underside of baking paper to use as a guide. Then I bake until firm and golden brown, remembering that choux pastry often looks cooked when it isn’t quite. To make sure your pastry isn’t soggy – pierce with a small knife and return to the oven to completely dry out. This will ensure the choux stays firm and won’t deflate!
For the final touches, fill with rose scented whipped cream, triple berry jam and top with spun sugar and to make it extra pretty, decorate with rose petals or edible flowers for an unforgettable dessert.
If you make this dessert, don’t forget to send me pics on Twitter or Facebook so we can share it!!
Serves 4 or 30 profiteroles
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking: 20 minutes
75g unsalted Devondale butter, diced
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (180ml) water
¾ cup (110g) plain flour
300ml Devondale cream
2 teaspoons (10ml) rosewater
1 cup triple berry jam
½ cup sugar
¼ cup (60ml) water
Edible flowers or rose petals
- Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Mark four 8cm rounds on baking paper. Place it drawn side down on a 33x 24cm baking biscuit tray sticking it to the tray with some butter so the paper adheres to the tray. Sprinkle the tray with a little cold water.
- Place diced butter, salt and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring gently to the boil so butter melts, then remove immediately from heat.
- Add flour, all at once, and beat vigorously with a wooden spoon until mixture is smooth and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan to form a ball (called a panade). Continue to beat for 30 – 60 seconds over low heat to allow the mixture to dry.
- Beat three eggs into the dough, one at a time with a wooden spoon, beating thoroughly after each addition. Break remaining egg into a small bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add enough of this egg to the dough to make a mixture that is very shiny and just falls from the spoon. (All the reserved egg may not be needed. If too much is added, the dough cannot be shaped. If too little is added, the dough will not rise well.)
- Fit a piping bag with a plain 1.5cm nozzle. Fill the bag with the choux paste and using the marked paper as a guide pipe out six or seven profiterole shapes approx 3cm in size, nestling up next to each other to join and form a circle. Make some individual profiteroles if there is any paste left. Give the tray another little spray with water.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until puffs are firm and brown. Remove from oven and pierce each circle in a few places to release any steam. You may wish to return briefly to the oven to ensure they are dry. Cool on a wire rack.
- For the spun sugar: Place sugar and water in small pan, stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Increase the heat to high and cook until mixture turns a light golden brown. Remove pan from heat, let it cool for a few minutes.
- Set up two or three wooden spoons over a large plastic container (to acts as a catcher). Or weight them down at the end of the kitchen bench and put something down to protect the floor.
- Tip two forks (or a wire whisk which has had the ends cut off) into the toffee, lift and when drizzling slowly, flick backwards and forwards over the wooden spoon handles. Working quickly, repeat to build up the strands. Carefully loosen the strands and gather into a nest/ball/crown.
- To assemble: Whisk cream until soft peaks form and then fold in rosewater. Cut each pastry ring in half. Place bottom half onto a plate, spoon a little jam into each, and then fill with cream. Place top on top of cream. Repeat for each one. Top with spun toffee strands. Sprinkle with edible flowers or rose petals.
Lyndey’s Note: Higher gluten content, like bread flour gives crisper results than ordinary soft, plain flour, so if you have some on hand, it’s a good choice. Profiteroles look cooked before they are so ensure the insides are dry. Use the spun sugar as soon as possible after making it. The moisture in the air will cause the toffee strands to break down after an hour or so or more quickly on a humid day.
Lyndey’s Bake Range is now available to purchase in store from Blueprint Retail in Potts Point! They are located at 46A Macleay St, Potts Point NSW 2011 and are open every day from 10:00-6:00pm (except Sundays – close at 5:00pm).