I've never thought I'd be a hostess for an event - no reason why... maybe I thought no one will participate in the event I host? Haha what a weird me I know. But being a hostess for this Choux Party has really motivated me to plan ahead what I want to bake for the party and I'm really excited to see what you guys have to contribute to the party!
So let me kick start the Choux Party with some chocolatey cream puffs! These cream puffs follow the basic choux recipe with a bit of flour swapped with cocoa powder. The puff is not very chocolatey on its own, so I filled them with a milk chocolate pastry cream. If I had topped it off with a layer of chocolate ganache on top, they would have became triple chocolate cream puffs!
But... I stopped at double - purely because I was too lazy to whip up the ganache, haha! They are a decadent and chocolatey treat and I extra love them when they are eaten straight from the refrigerator - cold and chocolatey!
|Chocolate choux ready to be baked!||Chocolate pastry cream ready!|
I'm submitting this recipe to Aspiring Bakers #34: Choux Party - hosted by me! The roundup for this event will be held on 1 September 2013!
In addition, I'm also submitting this to Little Thumbs Up, organised by Doreen from my little favourite DIY and Zoe from Bake for Happy Kids. This month's theme is Egg and is hosted by Yen from Eat Your Heart Out. Do check out HERE for the submissions for this event!
- 50 grams sugar
- 50 grams egg yolks (3 to 4 egg yolks)
- 20 grams all-purpose flour
- 250 grams fresh milk
- 15 grams butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste / extract
- 75 grams good-quality milk/dark/semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
- 60 grams all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 100 grams fresh milk
- 40 grams butter, softened and chopped
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 100 grams eggs (2 - 3 eggs), at room temperature, whisked together
- Prepare a large bowl of ice water (enough to put a pot in). Set aside.
- Combine 40 grams of sugar with the egg yolks in a large bowl. Whisk immediately with a wire whisk until the mixture is pale and smooth. Sift in the flour and whisk till smooth. Set aside.
- Combine the milk, butter and the remaining 10 grams of sugar in a medium pot and warm over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Remove from heat.
- Pour the hot milk, little by little, bit by bit, into the egg yolks, whisking constantly until ¼ of the hot milk has been added. (Don't add the hot milk too fast, otherwise it'll scramble the eggs and you'll have to start over.)
- After ¼ of the hot milk has been added, add the hot milk in a slow and steady stream, whisking constantly - until ¼ of hot milk is left. This whole process is called tempering.
- Once the egg yolks have been tempered, pour the egg yolk mixture back into the pot and whisk to mix them altogether. Place the pot back on medium heat and with a wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly until the mixture has thickened and has started to boil - you'll see huge air bubbles popping out of the custard - that's a sign that the pastry cream is ready.
- Remove the pot from heat and place it in the bowl of ice water. Stir the pastry cream constantly until it has cooled down. Stir in the vanilla paste / extract and whisk in the cooled melted chocolate.
- If using immediately, spoon the pastry cream into a piping bag and keep it refrigerated until needed. If not, transfer the pastry cream into a container, place a plastic wrap (cling film) directly onto the surface of the pastry cream (to prevent a skin from forming) and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Line baking sheets with baking parchment.
- Sift flour and cocoa powder onto a large parchment paper.
- Combine milk, butter, sugar and salt in a pot. The butter is softened and chopped to little pieces so that it melts fast during heating. Heat the mixture over high heat, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, and bring it to a rolling boil - the mixture should be boiling and bubbling vigorously until the layer of butter is no longer floating on top.
- Working quickly, add in all the flour-cocoa at once, turn off the heat and stir quickly with the wooden spoon to mix in all the flour.
- Once the flour has been mixed in, turn on the heat to medium-low and continue mixing with the wooden spoon (do not stop!) until the mixture forms a soft dough and that you can see a layer of dough at the bottom of the pot. Remove from heat and transfer the dough into a mixing bowl.
- Using an electric mixer, mix the dough on low speed for 5 seconds, then add in the beaten eggs, a little at a time (I estimated one tablespoon each time). Make sure the dough has fully absorbed the eggs before adding more. The dough will first seemed to separate but will come together eventually into a thick, smooth and piping consistency - and that's choux pastry!
- Transfer the choux into a piping bag fitted with a plain tip.
- Pipe small mounds of equal-sized choux onto the baking sheets, about 1 inch in diameter, leaving 2 inches of spacing between each choux.
- If you get little tips after piping, dampen your finger in a little water and flatten the tip of the choux to prevent it from getting burnt during baking. If desired, spray the surface of the choux with a little water immediately before baking - according to the chef, this helps the puff to expand even bigger during baking. (I've yet to try this, so not sure how true it is!)
- Bake the puffs for 20 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius. Reduce the heat to 175 degrees Celsius and bake for another 20 - 25 minutes until the puff is golden brown and well-risen. During baking, no matter how excited you are, do not open the oven to check them as it will cause them to deflate and it'll be the worse thing to happen ever.
- Turn off the oven, leave the oven door ajar and let the puffs cool in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let them cool completely on a wire rack. (I usually place an oven mitten between the door and the oven to keep it ajar.)
- Once the puffs have cooled and ready to serve, pipe some pastry cream into the puffs and serve chilled, dusted with icing sugar. Store remaining filled puffs in the refrigerator for no more than 2 days as the skin will become soggy and soft.
Super Naggy - Choux:
- You can substitute milk with water, but milk aids in the browning of the puffs - makes the puffs darker and more golden brown in colour.
- The milk mixture must be boiling vigorously such that the melted butter is no longer floating on top so that when the flour is added in, it'll absorb the milk and not the oil. Sifting the flour onto the parchment paper makes it easier to add the flour in one go - you cannot add more flour after the first addition as it'll become lumpy and the dough would be unusable.
- You can mix in the eggs by hand instead of using an electric mixer, but it'll take a slightly longer time to be incorporated. You may not need to use all of the eggs, so it's important to know the consistency of the dough and know when to stop adding eggs.
- The first bake at 200 degrees Celsius is to help the puffs rise rapidly to form an outer shell with a hollow interior. Once the outer shell has dried, it will rise no more, hence if you want even bigger puffs, spray the surface with a little water to give the puffs more rise. The second bake at 175 degrees Celsius is to allow the exterior to turn crisp and the interior to dry out.
- For a more classy finish, coat the top of the cream puffs with a little chocolate ganache, caramel or maybe some home-made butterscotch sauce!
- Do head over here for the YouTube video filmed by the author herself!
Super Naggy - Pastry Cream:
- You can use vanilla bean instead of vanilla extract / paste. Simply split ½ of a vanilla pod in half, scrape the seeds off the vanilla pod. Add the seeds and the pod into the milk mixture and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let the vanilla pod steep for 15 minutes to infuse the milk with flavour. Remove the vanilla pod and proceed as per normal. Rinse and dry the vanilla pod - place it in a jar of sugar and let steep to get vanilla sugar!
- You don't have to cool the pastry cream in an ice water bath - you can let it cool in a large shallow pan, but do cover the top with clingfilm to prevent a layer of skin forming on top.
- If you're making a large batch of pastry cream, when the pastry cream is cooking in the pot, you must stir it constantly and pretty vigorously, scrapping the bottom of the pot all the time so that it doesn't burn at the bottom.