Tag Archives: Choux Paste

A Friend and Vanilla Eclairs-Christophe Adam

25 Nov

This week has been a blur. I have been busy doing absolutely nothing :). Actually that is not true. Yesterday, I had went to a church group to record festive songs. It was fun. While there was laughter there is also sadness.

A member of our church community/friend will be heading back to her hometown to follow up on some preliminary results of a recent MRI scan. It’s tragic that within the few months I have known her, she has been through many trails and tribulations. All of which met with laughter and bravery. Despite the adversities she has faced, she always bounced back up to face the world again with renewed courage, tenacity and vivacity. This friend always looked toward the Lord for grace and support and as always the Lord never ceased to provide for her and to be her rock. It was very encouraging to witness it. She radiated energy and joie de vivre on our gatherings and won the hearts of many in our church community. You will be missed by many, SMJ Choi.

My friend had a knack for sweets and good company, not saying that I am good company ha ha. I hope to make some pastries (Christophe Adam) for her on our next meeting.

Christophe Adam’s Vanilla Eclair is comprised of a choux paste, Vanilla Cream, Caramelized Pecans and a Vanilla Glaze. I opted out the vanilla glaze and decided to do a white chocolate coating instead.

Vanilla Glaze
1 3/4 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
2 tbsp cold water
2 vanilla beans
1/2 cup whipping cream
3 1/2 tbsp glucose syrup (I will use honey)
300 g white chochocolate
1 1/2 tsp rice starch

Vanilla Cream
2 vanilla beans
1 1/4 cups milk
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
7 tbsp butter

Choux Pastry
150 ml water
150 ml whole milk
8 ml pure vanilla extract
7 ml sugar
175 ml unsalted butter
3 ml salt
295 ml all purpose flour
5 large eggs

Caramelized Pecans
175 ml chopped pecans
90 ml icing sugar

Results: Christophe Adam is known for his eclairs. In fact this recipe was one of his top ten recipes. It so goes to say, the eclairs did not disappoint. Light, crispy, velvety, fragrant and rich in vanilla, it is a symphony on the taste buds. Another winner of a recipe.

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Holiday Cake Project II: Gateau St. Honore

4 Jan

Nothing says winter quite like being snowed in and resting up wih a nice cup of milk tea while watching the snow come down. Yes it is New Years Eve. Ha ha you might wonder why it took longer to write this. I’ve got no answer except been busy baking. As the holidays are coming to an end, I decided to add in a couple of baking projects with the first being a Gateau St. Honore. With a batch of freshly made puff pastry dough in the fridge, I decided to revisit this classic.

To make the base I used inverted puff pastry. The dough was rolled out, circle and placed in the fridge to rest. By resting, the dough relaxes. While the dough is resting I made the choux paste. When that was done I piped it over the puff pastry. I also made smaller choux puffs to decorate the gateau with.

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I baked it at 385 for 30-35 minutes.

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Once the puff pastry/choux paste base had baked, I proceeded to make the pastry cream. When done, I cooled the pastry cream and spread it one the gateau. I made a dry caramel. The caramel was ready when it reached a golden amber colour. The little choux were then dipped into the hot caramel. Once the caramel has hardened, pastry cream was piped into the choux and then dipped into the caramel again to stick on the gateau. Lastly, I whipped up some whipped cream and pipped in on pastry cream.

Voila

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Recipes:
Pate a Choux

All purpose flour ( I used bread flour) 175 g
Granuated Sugar 33 g
Water 240 g
Unsalted Butter 120 g
Salt 2.5 g
Egg 250 g

Inverted Puff Pastry

340 g bread flour
220 ml Water
10 g butter

6 g Salt
450 g Butter
150 Bread Flour

Pastry Creme: Vanilla
500 ml Milk
100 g Sugar
40 g Corn Starch
2 piece Egg Yolks
.5 piece Vanilla.

Result: Stunning. This cake has the flakiness from the puff pastry as well as the softness from the cream puff. It is creamy and fragrant. While it is time consuming to make the results are well worth it.

Hazelnut Praline Eclairs

24 Mar

Hello!!!! Another overcast day in Vancouver hopefully this Easter long weekend is good. Since it is a rainy day, I decided to make another eclair recipe again. I have always been intrigued about praline eclairs as it seems to be in about every pastry book I have. I have always loved hedgehogs as they have the praline paste in them but not in eclairs. Being adventurous that I am I decided to try.

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I fist made the choux paste then proceeded to make the pastry cream. In most recipes the pastry cream is similar except for the flavoring. In this case it was the gianduja. Once I made the pastry cream, I incorporated some gianduja I had freshly made. When the pastry cream had cooled I pipped it into the eclairs.

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Hazelnut Praline Cream

500 ml milk
100 g sugar
40 g corn starch
2 eggs
1/2 piece vanilla
150 g hazelnut paste

Result: OMG eclair was delicious. It was bitting into a little piece of heaven. The soft eclair casing complimented the smooth hazelnut filling superbly. This recipe is certainly a keeper. For all the hazelnut praline lovers a praline eclair will hit the spot everytime.

J’adore Eclairs

27 Feb

Booo another overcast weekend in Vancouver and no doubt with rain coming. I have been baking lots lately on an certain pastry. Continuously trying and retrying, researching and researching some more, I finally have some luck with this elusive pastry. Sssssshhhhhh what is this pastry? A pastry that is a welcomed addition to most pastry shops in Vancouver. When done properly they are wonderfully light as air on the outside and usually encased with a perfect creamy middle. What is this pastry? The eclair of course. That is right I love making and eating cream puffs.

Comprehensive Research and Tips:
Tips can be found here as well.
-bread flour is considered the better choice when making eclairs because it has more proteins in it allowing it to hold its from when baking.
-on a simmer at medium heat mix milk/water and butter until combined and melted. Remove from heat and then add the flour. To avoid lumps sift the flour, sugar and salt.
-cook the dough until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pot and forms a ball
-you want to get as much moisture out of the flour dough so cook the dough and stir until you see a film at the bottom of the pot
Keller mentioned to further mix the dough for another 30 seconds to evaporate as much moisture once off the heat
-add eggs to the choux only when the dough has cooled as the heat will cook the eggs. When adding the eggs, in the beginning, it will look like scrambled eggs but the dough will come together
pastry school instructor instructed to fold the eggs into the mixture to create pockets of air
-the dough should be soft and paste like and not runny. If it is too wet, when baking, the eclair will not rise properly, spread out and remain flat thus at your discretion add the eggs one at a time and check the consistency of the dough. It may need more eggs or less eggs.
-the dough is ready when you wet a finger and run it through the dough and it forms a soft through that peaks but holds its shape

Pipping
-pipe at 45 degree angle and maintain pressure through out the pipping

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-Once pipped spray water on the choux pastry to create steam. Steam helps the choux to rise
Aoki suggested instead of putting egg wash on the choux paste, sift icing sugar on the eclair for an extra crunch
Baking
-depending on the caliber of your oven bake at a high temperature to puff them up and gradually lower the temperature to dry them out. Both Herme and Keller suggested around the 375 to 390 degree ranges.
-the choux must be thoroughly baked, if the sides of the walls are moist, when removed from oven, the steam will condense back into water and the still-wet walls will recoil. This will cause the choux pastry to collapse/ and flattened itself. To avoid this mishap use a toothpick or knife and make a incision in the eclairs so they can dry out properly.

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Filling
The eclair is quite versatile as it can take on all sorts of fillings but for me I was always fascinated by Sadaharu Aoki’s creations especially his matcha eclair. Matcha eclair it is.

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Voila

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Kellers Pate a Choux
All purpose flour ( I used bread flour) 175 g
Granulated sugar 33 g
Water 240 g ( I used combination of milk and water at 1/2 each)
Unsalted Butter 120 g
Salt 2.5 g
Eggs 250 g ( I used 6 eggs and half recipe at 3 eggs)

Matcha Pastry Cream
500 ml Milk
100 g sugar (increase sugar to your taste as the matcha is bitter)
40 g corn starch
3 g matcha
2 piece egg yolks
.5 piece vanilla bean

Result: The choux pastry was light and airy. They had risen quite nicely and made it able to pipe the pastry cream into it. My research and findings finally paid off. The Matcha had a strong taste and complimented the whipped cream. Thank You for all the tips from fellow bakers!!!!

Hazelnut Mousse Paris Brest-Conticini

24 Jan

Another drizzly day today sob*. Instead of the vitamins Vancouverites should be in taking every day, we have been getting daily douses of rain ha ha…pretty soon we will be strong and healthy with drenched in rain 🙂 Not to fear the pastry whisk is here as I have finally found in a drawer.

To stave off absolute boredom while looking out at the grim grey wet sky, I decided to bake again. I recently obtained a copy of La Patisserie des Reves by Conticini. Another beautiful book with the Paris Brest and Gateau St. Honore as show stoppers. His pastries has always grabbed my attention, thus as the first project from this cookbook was the Paris Brest. Conticini’s choux paste pasteries were quite unique; he pipped out individual cream puffs to form a circle for the Brest.

To make the Paris Brest, I first made the choux paste.

Keys for Choux Paste
-Bring the butter/water mixture to a boil first prior to adding in the flour
-Cook the flour/butter/water mixture on the heat until it forms a ball and as a tip watch for the browning on the bottom of the pan. Reasoning one wants to get the water to boil off as much as possible to add in the optimal amount of eggs for leavening
-Don’t stir the flour/butter/water mixture constantly or the batter will becoming oily
-Once the flour/butter/water mixture forms a ball, take off heat and cool
-Add in eggs one at a time.
-place in fridge prior to baking and spray with water for steam. The steam helps the choux rise in the oven.
-Bake at a higher temperature first and then gradually decrease it to dry out the pastries

Next I made the streusel crust, rolled it out and cut into discs.

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Once out of the oven, I cooled the paris brest.

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The Hazelnut Mousse was the last step. To make the mousse, I first melted some homemade Gianduja. Next I whipped out some cream and folded in the Gianduja. When the mousse was ready, it was pipped into the choux. Icing sugar was lightly dusted ontop and voila!!!

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Streusel Pastry Crust (Conticini)

40 g butter
50 g flour
50 g brown sugar
pinch of salt

Choux Paste (Keller)

175 g flour
33 g sugar
water 240 g
unsalted butter 120 g
salt 2.5 g
Eggs 6-7

The result was fantastic. It naturally places a different spin on a classic. The hazelnut mousse complimented the choux paste quite nice. The idea of a separate choux Paris Brest was a good idea as it could be eaten wholely or separated. It is definitely a keeper. Bon Appetit!!!

Summer Weekend: Gougeres and Mango Cream Puffs

23 Jul

I Love Summer!!!! There is so much to do and as always Vancouver seems to come to life in the hot fun-filled days of summer. This past weekend, I went to the Steveston Farmers Market, Emma Lea Farms and Folk Festival at Jericho. Mind you, I did this in a days worth of car dodging and scurrying around the farm grounds madly picking berries :). Whenever I thought of Steveston and its Farmers Market, warm memories filled my mind. I enjoy walking around the market, breathing in the aromas of fresh baked products and admiring the mouth watering array of fresh vegetables and fruits. The market really was a showcase of what the farmers and artisans had to offer.

Emma Lea Farms was my next destination. Another favorite hideaway of mine and my new found hobby, berry picking :). Pleasantries always came to mind as I berry picked and sipped away at an ice cold refreshing strawberry milk shake. MMMMM….Course my hands and feet loved me as they were pricked and poked at by the long thin strands of grass which stood in the way between the little blue berries and me. Nothing was more satisfying when I saw the freshly picked plump berries in my bucket. Venturing out to Emma Lea Farms was like a little piece of heaven. Life slows down and you could really rest, relax and bask in the tranquility of the farm while the sparrows and dragonflies fly about. It was all about re-energizing as evident by the number of berry pickers, their toothy grins and jokes. One lasting memory were the jokes arising from fellow berry pickers, pick one eat two.

Folk Festival was the next stop. Nothing beats the festival with beautiful Locarno Beach and Downtown Vancouver in the back drop. I simply strolled around savoring what music had to offer. I saw a tuba too 😉 The main attraction of Natalie Main. (Pictures to come)

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After a fun loving whirlwind weekend, its back to baking again. Yippee!!! First of the list was the Gougeres. I found a recipe from Alain Ducasse and really like the cheese addition to the choux puffs. Once done you get a light airy pastry with a hint of caramelized cheese.

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Alain Ducasse’s Gougères (recipe found here)

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
Large pinch of coarse salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
3 1/2 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (1 cup), plus more for sprinkling
Freshly ground pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg

With the extra dough, I made Mango Cream Puffs also!! Being a cookbook bookworm that I am, I could be easily caught at Chapters with my nose buried in recipe books. Captivated by a newly shelved pastry cook, Paris Pastiserrie, I happily hunkered down and flipped through the book. A cream puff photo really caught my eye and it was by Carl Marletti. It had a modern twist. Quite similar to the choux puffs in the Gateau St. Honore which were dipped in sugar. Marletti created cream puffs with the same idea which served as a inspiration for me to make it.

I first made the dough, and baked it. Once the choux paste dough was thoroughly baked, I then made the caramel to dip the choux paste in. The silicone mat was the best surface for the dipped sugar choux puffs. Making of the creme patisserie came next. Last came the whipped cream and the assembling. The texture was a marriage of crunchy, creamy, fruity and sweet.

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Bouchon Bakery Pate A Choux (I used the Eclair Recipe)

175 g All Purpose Flour
Granulated sugar 33 g
Water 240 g
Unsalted Butter 120 g
Kosher Salt-I opted out
Eggs 250 g (adjust based on the stiffness of the dough)

Enjoy!!!

Bouchon Bakery Cream Puffs

20 Feb

In light of the recent special days Chinese New Year and Valentine Day, I decided to try out another Bouchon Bakery recipe. I had always been a fan of light dreamy cream puffs even more so when I got to eat cream puffs with a cookie crunch. Beard Papa’s in Aberdeen Richmond had always hit the spot with their custard filled choux paste and a cookie crunch.   When it first opened, it captured the hearts of Vancouverites including moi.  A delicate combination of smoothness matched with texture was always welcomed in my tummy.  It seems as though other restaurants were cashing in with the trend such as Bell Cafe and Thierry Patisserie, so imagine my excitement when I found a book that contained the recipe and instructions on how to make them 🙂

For some reason, I thought the recipe was quite challenging but upon reading the instructions carefully, it was doable.   The recipe basically contained a cookie base, choux paste and custard cream; three recipes combined in one.  I first completed the cookie base.  Mind you  the dough was crumbly, almost like a shortbread,  thus I used a food processor to mix the dough.  Next I rolled out the dough and cut out the circular cookies to be placed on top.  I then prepared the choux paste and pipped it out.  Then placed the circular cookie dough on top of the pipped choux paste.

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I baked them at 380 for approx 20 mins and then reduced the temperature for drying out.  This was how they looked once done.  The cracking of the cookie dough as the choux paste puffed up.

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I next made the custard cream and pipped them into cream puffs.  Dusted them off with icing sugar.

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DSC_0212The outcome was better than I thought.  The cookie dough and cream puff was better than I thought.  I really liked the crisp texture outside, to me the recipe Keller gave was alot better than Beard Papa’s….Yum.  I am not going to bother with a recipe as to me it is a simple shortbread cookie recipe, with a choux paste and pastry cream.   Making the treat may have been a bit time consuming as it had 3 recipes combined but in the end worth it.  As a tip, for those of you who liked uniform shapes and sizes, Keller did recommend using silicone mats or molds for you to pipe into.  Once frozen or firm, pop them out and place the cookie round on and bake them.

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