Recipes: VICKI RAVLICH-HORAN | Images: BRYDIE THOMPSON
Choux pastry is quite simply miraculous. Everyday ingredients (butter, flour and eggs) are transformed into delicate desserts, divine doughnuts and even savoury nibbles. And while the pastry can be made into many different forms, the real beauty is the flavour combinations that are only limited by your imagination.
My go-to recipe is based on one by Allyson Gofton (from The Baker’s Companion).
1 cup water (you can use half water, half milk if you like)
1¼ cups flour
5 eggs (size 7)
Preheat oven to 230°C (210°C fan bake).
Melt the butter in the water (and milk if you are using) in a small pot. When the butter has melted, bring to a boil. Add the flour and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together in a ball.
At this stage you can transfer the dough to a stand mixer, or I prefer using a hand mixer (or a little elbow grease to save on dishes). Lightly beat the eggs in a small bowl or jug and slowly beat these into the dough bit by bit, saving 2–3 tbsps to glaze the pastry.
The dough should be smooth and glossy and should just fall from the beater or a spoon but not be runny.
Once formed into your preferred shapes, brush completely with the remaining beaten egg. Bake for 15 minutes then lower the oven temp to 180°C (160°C fan bake) and continue to bake for 30–35 minutes. They should be golden brown and completely dried out inside. If you can, turn the oven off and leave them in there, with the door cracked open, until they have cooled completely.
Once baked and cooled they can be stored in an airtight container for 2–3 days.
Fill a piping bag with a large nozzle and pipe 2cm x 5cm lengths on lined baking trays ensuring you leave plenty of space between each.
The tip to perfect eclairs is to pipe continuously and consistently; bumps or bulges will multiply once baked.
Pipe or place teaspoonfuls on the baking tray for classic profiteroles. Ice with ganache and fill them with whipped cream or crème patisserie. Or get carried away and glue them together with caramel to make a croquembouche.
ICE CREAM BOMBS
Place ice cream scoops full of dough on your baking tray and bake giant puffs. Fill these with a scoop of ice cream and pour over my easy chocolate sauce.
Easy Chocolate Sauce
¾ cup water
¼ cup golden syrup
¼ cup cocoa
¼ cup sugar
Mix all the ingredients into a small pot and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes.
Pipe rings of dough on the baking tray for individual desserts or for one large one pipe three rings (22cm diameter) of dough side by side. Pipe two rings on top of your base three, then another on top of these two.
Once cooled, split in half and fill with whipped cream and fresh strawberries. Dust with icing sugar and serve.
Refrigerate the dough for a few hours or overnight then deep fry. For best results your oil should be around 180°C. You can pipe the dough in to form churros like doughnuts or you can simply place large teaspoonfuls. Once golden and cooked through drain and roll in cinnamon sugar.
Serve with caramel dipping sauce.
¾ cup sugar
½ cup cream
Melt the sugar in a small pot over a medium heat. At first the sugar will clump together, but after 6–7 minutes it will melt completely into a thick amber liquid. Be careful not to let it burn.
Once the sugar has melted, carefully add the butter. Stir until the butter is melted and then slowly pour in the cream. Allow the sauce to come to the boil, then remove from the heat.
You can store the sauce in the fridge and just reheat before you want to serve it.
These are a perfect snack with a cold beer. Make the dough ahead of time and cook just before your beer drinking buddies arrive.
Follow the basic choux recipe and just add 110–125g of finely chopped Meyer’s Garlic and Chive gouda in before the eggs.
Deep fry teaspoonfuls in batches in 180°C oil until golden and brown. Drain on a paper towel and season with sea salt.